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Social media use at priest training college to be reviewed after 'gay culture' allegations

The procedures for handing whistleblowers will also be looked at.

Image: Shutterstock/VGstockstudio

THE TRUSTEES OF St Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland’s national seminary, have said procedures for handling whistleblowers will be reviewed, following allegations of trainee priests using gay dating apps.

Earlier this month, the 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”.

The governing body of the college has today said it will also ask seminary authorities to “evaluate and review the policy regarding the appropriate use of the internet and social media”.

Independent audit

Following a meeting yesterday, the trustees also decided to ask the Bishops’ Conference to “commission an independent audit and report of governance and statutes in Irish seminaries” and “progress urgently a uniform national policy for admissions to Irish seminaries”.

In a statement released today, the governing body of the college said:

Acknowledging the recent and extensive media coverage regarding the college, and the disquiet that it has caused amongst the faithful, the trustees emphasise that the Church has clear instructions on the formation of seminarians. It is essential that these are observed in order to form priests “after the heart of the Good Shepherd” (cf. Jer 3.15). There is no place in a seminary community for any sort of behaviour or attitude which contradicts the teaching and example of Jesus Christ.

This week, 14 new seminarians started their training for the priesthood at the seminary.

In recent years the number of new seminarians beginning their studies in Maynooth has been: 17 in 2015; 14 in 2014; 20 in 2013; and 12 in 2012.

Read: Trainee priests going on a dating site, there’s something wrong there’

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

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Órla Ryan

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