Trainee priest at Maynooth describes atmosphere at college as "poisonous"

Another trainee has said that in his experience there is a culture of “keep your head down” at the training college.

7077678021_466e3bc5d3_k St Patrick's College, Maynooth William Murphy William Murphy

A TRAINEE PRIEST at St Patrick’s College in Maynooth has today described the atmosphere at the seminary as “poisonous”.

The training college has been a centre of controversy in the past week with suggestions that a gay culture is prevalent on campus, with some trainees making use of gay dating app Grindr.

The college itself has in recent days said there is “no concrete or credible evidence” that such a culture exists at the college.

The current trainee, who spoke to Brian O’Connell on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke under condition of anonymity, said quite specifically that “one of the elements which is destroying life in the seminary is the existence of a homosexual subculture”.

“The bishops have turned a blind eye to this problem,” he said.

RTÉ Radio 1 / SoundCloud

“To hear the Monsignor (Hugh Connelly) say a few days ago that there is a healthy and wholesome atmosphere in the seminary was extremely disappointing and far-removed from the experience of seminarians.”

“Neither I, nor I suspect the majority of seminarians, would describe the atmosphere in the seminary this past year as anything other than as anything other than poisonous,” he added.

The scandal surrounding the alleged culture at the college first came to light last weekend when it emerged that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin would not be sending trainee priests from his own diocese to Maynooth citing “an atmosphere of strange goings-on”.

A second, now former, trainee priest at Maynooth, 31-year-old Francis McLoughlin, also told the programme that, in his experience, “there is an attraction for men with a same-sex attraction to the seminary”.

McLoughlin said that he eventually left the seminary in May this year after a friend of his “witnessed two seminarians engaged in inappropriate behaviour”, after which he brought the matter to the college authorities.

He claims that there is a culture of “keep your head down” at Maynooth.

RTÉ Radio 1 / SoundCloud

The two trainee priests’ views were subsequently contradicted on the same programme by Connelly himself, who reiterated that he has “no reason to believe” that anyone at the seminary, either a trainee or a priest, is engaging in non-celibate activity.

“Clearly if anyone is not living celibately they shouldn’t be in the seminary,” he said.

As soon as it comes to our attention that someone is doing so we will challenge the individual in question.

“I’m not unrealistic,” he said. “These people are coming from the real world and not everyone is suited to a life of celibacy.”

Read: There’s always a ‘strange hot-house kind of atmosphere’ in training colleges, priest says

Read: Third man found guilty of murder of pensioner Thomas Dooley

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