A GROUP OF Irish priests have attacked a cardinal’s report on the Pontifical Irish College for seminarians in Rome, calling it “prurient” and “incompetent”.
The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), a reformist group within the Irish church, issued an angry statement after details of Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s investigation emerged yesterday. The report found the college had a reputation for being ‘gay-friendly’.
The ACP called for the report – the result of an official Apostolic Visitation – to be repudiated by Ireland’s archbishops, and suggested it was homophobic and could be libellous.
Cardinal Dolan’s team had made “clear efforts” in a “prurient” way to find evidence to support their conceptions of “the college’s ‘gay-friendly’ reputation,” the statement said.
According to the Irish Times, Dolan’s report found that the college has an “unfortunate” reputation for being gay-friendly. It discussed specific allegations against four seminarians, all of whom were named in the report.
The Association of Catholic Priests’ statement continued:
The report’s conclusion that ‘the overwhelming majority of the seminarians are committed to a faithful, chaste lifestyle’ does not justify the detailed, even prurient reporting and naming of individuals [...] Is this just incompetence or perhaps homophobia? A charge of the latter could easily be justified.
It said that the four priests involved had not been given a right of reply, and that their reputations had been “effectively destroyed” by the allegations.
It is unacceptable that a report to the Pope, on a sensitive issue, should be conducted in such an incompetent fashion. No court of law would treat people in such a way.
In a response given to the Irish Times, the four Irish archbishops who are trustees of the college said that an initial report seen by them had contained “serious errors of fact”.