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Irish bishops recognize problems at Maynooth seminary, seek to end anonymous complaints

August 24, 2016

The bishops who oversee Ireland's national seminary have acknowledged serious concerns about St. Patrick's seminary in Maynooth, and announced a review of policies and an independent audit of seminary administration.

The trustees met at Maynooth on August 24, in a special session called to address rampant criticism of the seminary, arising from charges of an aggressive homosexual subculture. 

In a public statement released after their meeting, the bishops did not directly address the question of homosexuality, concentrating instead on the damage done by anonymous accusations. However, they did ask seminary officials to review their policies regarding internet use: an apparent response to reports that seminarians had used an online homosexual dating service.

The trustees recognized the existence of a crisis at Maynooth, suggesting that it was caused mainly by anonymous complaints:

The trustees share the concerns about the unhealthy atmosphere created by anonymous accusations together with some social media comments which can be speculative or even malicious.

The bishops urged any seminarian with complaints to "report them appropriately as soon as possible." They said that they would review the procedures for reporting complaints, to protect whistle-blowers. The trustees reported, however, that they found no evidence to support the charge that students at Maynooth had been required to sign an agreement not to report complaints. 

 
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  • Posted by: 1Jn416 - Aug. 25, 2016 7:18 PM ET USA

    Expecting people in subordinate positions to file formal complaints about their superiors is never a good idea. Retribution is often swift and harsh. A priest at least has some protection, but a seminarian has none at all. I know a priest whose ordination to the diaconate was delayed six months because he raised a fairly minor concern; he's never raised a concern since! It's also very telling, and sad, that they say it is the accusations causing problems rather than the behavior they refer to.