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priest training

'Maynooth seminary has to change, we are living in a different world'

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said “radical change” is needed within the Catholic Church.

8/4/2016. Catholic Church Papal Publications Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Sam Boal Sam Boal

HOW PRIESTS ARE trained has to change, according to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

The Archbishop told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that Irish society has changed and the Church has to move with the times.

The change that has been taking place in Irish culture and in Irish religious culture is radical change, and the response to radical change has to be more than just tweaking.

Martin admitted there are problems in Maynooth seminary, something he said is recognised by others in the Church.

Earlier this month, Maynooth training college made headlines after it was reported that a gay culture is prevalent on the campus, with some trainees using gay dating apps such as Grindr.

At the time, the college said there was “no concrete or credible evidence” that such a culture exists.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said he would send trainee priests from his own diocese to Rome rather than Maynooth, citing “an atmosphere of strange goings-on”.

Yesterday, it was announced that social media use at the priest training college will be reviewed, as will the whistleblower procedures.

Living in a different world 

“Maynooth has to change, not just because of current allegations, but because of the fact we are living in a different world.”

However, Martin said he has never been critical of the teachings in Maynooth, stating the faculty in Maynooth is a “good faculty”.

“Maynooth is not be condemned but it is not to be canonised either.”

He said the Church has gone through many changes and eras in the past, and this is just another one.

New ways of identifying, screening and training priests is needed, he said, adding that the seminary should only be part of priesthood training.

I believe candidates for the priesthood will rise from lively faith communities but their training has to be close to those communities.
I do believe one way or another, whether seminaries remain, they will remain, but in a different way, and much of the preparation for priesthood will take place outside the walls of the seminary within the realities in the life in which people live.

New training centres 

While Martin said the Mater Dei and Saint Patrick’s College will soon cease to exist in their current form, new initiatives and training are coming online, with the new Faculty of Education in DCU training members of the Catholic Church, Church of Ireland and lay people together.

The DCU Faculty will include Institutes of Catholic and Church of Ireland education.
For the first time candidates who aspire to teach in the various traditions of denominational education will be trained together and alongside those who aspire to a more secular vision.

Newman’s University Church in Saint Stephen’s Green – a new Centre for Faith and Dialogue in society led by Notre Dame University – which will open in September.

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