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Priests attack cardinal's report on 'gay-friendly' college

A group of Irish priests have labelled the investigation “prurient” and “incompetent”, and said it may have been motivated by homophobia.

Report author Cardinal Timothy Dolan addressing reporters in New York earlier this year
Report author Cardinal Timothy Dolan addressing reporters in New York earlier this year
Image: Jason DeCrow/AP/Press Association Images

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”.

Read: Cardinal Brady expresses ‘deep shame’ over Church abuse>

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Michael Freeman

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