Saturday, January 28, 2012

Maynooth Closing a Few Doors

There has been grumbling in Ireland and even in NCR because the trustees of Ireland's only seminary outside Rome, Maynooth is trying to seperate living accomodation of those studying for the priesthood from the students of the secular university that now occupy buildings that were formerly entirely given over to priestly formation.
Shane sent me a link to an article of 1978 talking about the folly of a seminary that in so many respects had become a secular college.
If one wants social workers then students to a secular institution, if you want men totally dedicated to Christ, to prayer, to the spritual life, to asceticism, to the the study of the person and ways of Jesus Christ then they have to spend time with him, to come away and live apart.
The NCR article by Eugene Cullen Kennedy seems to demonstrate the secularism that many would want their clergy to take on.
Whether a few doors and a seperate dining hall are enough to save Maynooth we will learn later this year when the Holy Sees report on the Irish Church is made public.


Lynda said...

Many of the faithful in Ireland have been praying ardently that Maynooth closes all its doors, and all the staff let go. It has wreaked untold (pun intended) havoc on the Church in Ireland since the 1960s: an orthodox seminarian who survived it to ordination and beyond is a rare thing. It mostly manages to get rid of those with a strong faith and fidelity to the Church and her Wisdom. It needs to close down and the seminarians trained elsewhere, at least until such time as a new faithful (might I say "Catholic") administration and faculty can be found to properly carry out the task of training holy priests. While the incumbents remain, it will continue to be a highly unsuitable place to prepare men for the priesthood. If men have to be trained outside of Ireland for a time, so be it - at least they will be trained for the Catholic priesthood, and their souls nourished, unlike the materialistic dissension that is forced on them to this day. Of course, there have been notable exceptions among the faculty but sadly they have been the exception to the prevailing foreign "ethos" or "religion" of that once-good institution.

New Start Needed said...

This is exactly what happened at Ushaw College in Co. Durham from which similar havoc has been wreaked in the north of England. Anyone who was seen as traditional or orthodox had no chance of being accepted as a student. Those who slipped through the net had a very difficult time. Those who actually struggled through to priestly ordination will tell you many tales about the poor quality of formation (to put it mildly) and the sufferings they endured. Although it was a tragedy, perhaps it was necessary to close it down so that the prevailing heterodox culture could be disbanded. Hopefully, it can be re-opened at some point and refreshed with new staff who are orthodox and obedient to the Magisterium.

GOR said...

gsaviEugene Cullen Kennedy would be the former Maryknoll priest Fr. Eugene Kennedy who is a well-known dissenter here in the US - beloved of Call To Action, We Are Church and the National Catholic Reporter. The sentiments he expresses are what one would expect from him and the NCR.

As to Maynooth, Mgr. Cremin’s articles from 1978 which Shane reproduced in part, spell out very clearly what was going wrong there and with the Church in Ireland generally. The unwillingness or inability of the bishops to address the issues he raised have more to do with the current state of the Faith in Ireland than the abuse scandal.

However, speaking of abuse, it was in 1977 that Fr. Michael Ledwith began lecturing at Maynooth. Eight years later he would be appointed President of the seminary. Allegations of sexual abuse and harassment had surfaced in 1985 and the Senior Dean of Maynooth, Fr. Gerard McGinnity, followed up the allegations by nine seminarians with the Bishops’ Conference and individual bishops. The result: Fr. McGinnity was dismissed from Maynooth and Mgr. Ledwith was promoted. Nine years later Ledwith would abruptly resign. Subsequently laicized, Ledwith went on to lecture for a New Age cult in the US according to a 2002 article in The Irish Times.

It is sad that the reputation of Maynooth, so high in the past, has been dragged down so low. It is indicative that it took a Canonical Visitation by outsiders to initiate the process that Mgr. Cremin advocated over 30 years ago.

Supertradmum said...

I wrote about this several weeks ago on my blog, and one seminarian responded privately that he could not understand what the problem was! I tried to explain that seminary life should be qualitatively and spiritually radically different than college life. He felt that sems should not be so isolated, but that is one of the points of formation. One must be willing to be put under a regime of prayer, penance, study and celibacy. The liberalism at Maynooth has been there for a long time, as I had two close seminarian friends who were there in the early eighties and life was not any different than the guys and gals on the other side of the door. These young men were "party animals". As to Canonical Visitations, I do not have much faith in them, as I know that the tell-tale signs of either homosexuality or heterosexual sex can easily be covered up. As to heresy in the classrooms, that is entirely another, huge problem. But Maynooth is only symptomatic of many places like this and I am glad there are some changes, but I hope these are not "cosmetic" when surgery is needed.

Fr from Donegal said...

Diocesean clergy are not monastics hence I find your call to asceticism wrong headed. They are called from the people to serve the people therefore should they not be trained among them. This setting apart of the priesthood is, in my opinion, a main cause of clericalism. The sexual abuse of children in Ireland pre-dates Vatican II. Indeed it appears to have been endemic in Irish society. A return to pre-V2 ways is not the answer.

Fr Ray Blake said...

"Fr from Donegal",
For many of us, your comment epitomises the problems of the Irish Church.
More of the same is hardly going to save the Church in Ireland, only make it worse.
You speak of "training", the Church speaks of "formation".

shane said...

Fr from Donegal, I for one am sick of hearing about child abuse, whether in the Church or wider society. Clearly the modern world has become obsessed with the issue.

Amfortas said...

The thing seminaries don't do is encourage holiness and asceticism. They don't prepare men for a difficult life by helping to find inner strength or divine intimacy. I'm not calling for a return to some impossible ideal. But we need holy priests with lives grounded in prayer who can bring people to Christ.

Supertradmum said...

Father from Donegal,
The problem of child abuse is not merely pre-Vat II. I know this, as my diocese had the second largest settlement and some of the priests were post-Vat II. To blame child abuse, which is a horrific sin and irremediable way of life, on early formation is ridiculous. Four members of my family were abused by a priest in the Confessional for years. As children, they were not believed by the nuns to whom they told of the incidents. I am appalled at the lack of thought which would claim that somehow, stricter rules bring on child abuse. I am sure that the abuses which I have seen in seminaries, including one where I worked, all post-Vat II, and one where seven of my best friends were preyed upon by homosexuals, post-Vat II, are not cleaned up yet. That is the problem. Seminary officials have fallen into the falsities of modern psychology, instead of good, old-fashioned formation. Good grief, we need holy priests, not ones who act like school boys on holiday. You should apologize to people like me who witnessed the pain of child abuse in those near and dear to me.

amator Dei said...

If the modern world is obsessed with child abuse in the Church it is because it has been shown to be endemic in the Church over decades, perhaps centuries. It is shameful of Shane to say he is sick of hearing about it. Would he prefer that it were simply allowed to go on but just not talked about, which was the situation when it was left to the Church? It is only secular society, which Catholics think they can pontificate to about what is right, which forced the Church to do anything about the scandal of abuse. Whether you like it or not, Shane, you certainly will hear more about it because it is now starting to emerge from Poland and Belgium and no doubt will from other countries we have not yet heard from. As they say, this is an issue that is going to run and run and the Church has only itself to blame for that.