Martin wants new clergy to train in community
Published 08/08/2016 | 02:30
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin's long-term ambition for the capital's trainee priests is to take them out of seminaries altogether and put them into communities.
Speaking over the weekend, the archbishop advocated "a very different form" of training for the priesthood.
It comes as the controversy over his decision not to send prospective priests to Maynooth, over an apparent gay subculture there, rumbles on.
"A seminarian going on a dating site, there's something wrong there," he said, in an interview with RTÉ's 'This Week'.
Archbishop Martin spoke about the church's teaching on human sexuality, calling it something that is "more difficult to get across to people." He suggested that this was one reason why it might be better to take priests out of seminaries.
"My long-term ambition would be to set up, at least for the Dublin seminarians, a very different form, a type of formation which would involve them living in different types of communities (in) close liaison with parishes.
"And that would, I think, first of all be much more realistic," he said.
"It would take them out of the sort of closed environment of a seminary where these things seem to foster."
The archbishop said his plan would not necessarily result in the exclusion of the Maynooth seminary.
He explained: "I'm not saying that they (trainee priests) may not go to Maynooth to study, to do their theology studies."
Archbishop Martin said: "Human sexuality is the one area where the church's teaching is more difficult to get across to people."
Any type of compromise on the church's teaching on human sexuality was "damaging".
"They may be learning it in their lectures, but if you have a climate where people are making allegations and if some of these allegations are true, then there's a problem for me."
Meanwhile, Archbishop Martin has insisted that he will not be sending priests back to Maynooth until he has "clarity" about the environment there.
"Until I have clarity about the climate in Maynooth, I'm sending them to Rome because it's the only other seminary we have."
He said that there was a "misunderstanding" on the part of other bishops regarding his decision to stop sending trainee priests to Maynooth.
"Most of them didn't agree, but I've gone ahead with it. I would say one thing. I made this decision in the month of June.
"What happened was that there was a subculture of blogs and so on, people were only waiting for the opportunity to bring this out.
"I didn't bring it out," he said.
The archbishop accepted that the other bishops may not share his concern, but he did what he thought was right.
Archbishop Martin added: "I have to deal with my conscience and I've no difficulty in doing that."