Wednesday 18 October 2017

Church must view decline of outdated seminaries as a chance for renewal

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Michael Kelly

The trustees of Maynooth - the 17 most-senior Catholic bishops - agreed this week to work on a new policy to protect whistle-blowers at the national seminary. It comes after a wave of allegations, many of them anonymous, of homosexual relationships between seminarians.

Further allegations were made that the college authorities did not treat such allegations with sufficient gravity. Critics of the college quickly seized on the controversy as evidence of a corrupt underbelly, while defenders of Maynooth rounded on the detractors and insisted that anonymous allegations should be treated with contempt.

Now, there are broadly two reasons why people make anonymous allegations: either they are bitterly spiteful, or they are petrified about the consequences of raising their concerns. A coherent policy that protects people who raise legitimate concerns is a must for every institution.

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