Archbishops vow to send their trainee priests to Maynooth
Archbishop Eamon Martin and Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly insisted they would continue to send their seminarians to Maynooth.
The two senior clerics spoke out following the decision by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin not to send trainee priests to St Patrick's College.
When contacted by the Irish Independent, a spokesman for Archbishop Eamon Martin of the Archdiocese of Armagh said the support for their current seminarians at Maynooth would continue.
He said: "The Archdiocese of Armagh shall continue to support its current seminarians in Maynooth and Rome on their journey of discernment.
"This year, although a number of young men have expressed an interest in the priesthood, none are yet ready to begin formal formation.
"One priest was ordained this summer for service in the Archdiocese. We are extremely grateful to St Patrick's College, Maynooth, for the spiritual, human, pastoral and academic formation that he received there. We ask for prayers for all our seminarians and for those entrusted with the task of their formation,"
Archbishop O'Reilly of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly said: "The Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly will continue to send seminarians to St Patrick's College, Maynooth, to pursue studies for the priesthood."
Meanwhile, contrary to earlier reports that Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Alphonsus Cullinan was planning to send seminarians to Rome, he confirmed to the Irish Independent that he was not withdrawing his seminarians from Maynooth.
Bishop Seamus Freeman of Ossory also said he still had confidence in Maynooth as a place to shape and educate future priests.
He said: "The Diocese of Ossory continues to have confidence in Maynooth, as a place of formation for candidates for the priesthood, and in those charged with guiding it so that it can best serve the future of the church in Ireland.
"No doubt Archbishop Martin and the other trustees will continue to work to ensure that it models the best possible formation for the priests of tomorrow.
"We are hopeful to have a candidate for the priesthood for the coming academic year. As always we chose the location of formation according to the needs of the particular student and in this instance we intend to send him to Maynooth for his education and formation."
Other clerics indicated they would continue to send seminarians to St Patrick's College. Bishop William Crean of Cloyne, Bishop Francis Duffy of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, and Bishop Liam McDaid of Clogher all said there was no change in their plans, while Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin and Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor made similar pledges.
Bishop Leo O'Reilly of Kilmore said one student was studying at the college and he did not know yet if there were plans to change that.