Saturday 10 December 2016

We could all learn lessons from Maynooth scandal

We can snigger at clueless clerics, but this scandal says more about us as a society than the state of the church, writes Donal Lynch

Donal Lynch

Published 07/08/2016 | 02:30

QUESTION: Why does an organisation that disapproves of gay people still attract gay people? Stock Image
QUESTION: Why does an organisation that disapproves of gay people still attract gay people? Stock Image

'So I suppose this makes me like Annie Murphy", I said to the recently ex-seminarian sitting on the edge of my bed. He smiled wryly at me. This was the early 2000s, we were still very young, and post-coital banter felt like a strange kind of progress - gay sex in Ireland still had a furtive air to it. And every extra taboo we could violate - including a religious vow - made the whole thing even more exciting.

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A relationship would not have been possible, even if we had wanted it. The years of pent-up sexual energy this man had accumulated had by now given way to even more years of reckless promiscuity. That began in the seminary itself - at least five of his classmates had been gay - but it quickly became untenable to stay there. Even then there was a tipping point for rumours.

After he left Maynooth, even by libertine gay male standards, his single-minded pursuit of new encounters was legendary. In the years after we first met there were tales of his life that seemed alternately swashbuckling and tragic.

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