US seminarians to move to the Irish College in Rome
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has welcomed the transfer of 15 seminarians from the United States to the Pontifical Irish College in Rome, saying their presence "will enrich and consolidate the seminary community" located there.
The announcement comes amid the crisis in Maynooth and on the back of the Archbishop's decision to transfer three Dublin seminarians to Rome.
The senior cleric said he took the decision due to "strange goings-on" at Maynooth, which has dealt with allegations of a gay sub-culture.
But another bishop yesterday distanced himself from Archbishop Martin's stance on Maynooth.
Bishop of Meath Michael Smith stated that the Diocese of Meath will continue to send seminarians to Maynooth as it has always done.
Meanwhile, it's understood the decision by the authorities at Saint John Vianney College Seminary in Florida - to send 15 seminarians to Rome - was approved in June.
The Catholic Church said the seminarians will transfer their residency from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to pursue their academic formation in Rome.
In 2011, under orders from Pope Benedict, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, led a review of the Irish College in Rome and a subsequent report was highly critical of the college, expressing concern about "the atmosphere, structure, staffing and guiding philosophy".
Cardinal Dolan said the college suffered "from the reputation of being gay-friendly, however unjust such a reputation might be".
The four Irish archbishops who were were trustees of the Irish College at the time - Cardinal Sean Brady, Dr Diarmuid Martin, Dr Michael Neary, and Dr Dermot Clifford - were criticised in the report as seeming to be "disengaged from college governance".
However, the Irish Archbishops said the report contained "significant errors of fact".
Welcoming the decision to relocate the American trainee priests, Archbishop Martin said: "The presence of these United States' seminarians will enrich and consolidate the seminary community in the Pontifical Irish College."