News Irish News

Friday 25 May 2018

'Church knew of gay culture for decades'

St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland’s National Seminary. Photo: Arthur Carron
St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland’s National Seminary. Photo: Arthur Carron

Sarah MacDonald

A former Maynooth seminarian claims senior figures in the Catholic Church have been aware of allegations of a gay culture in Maynooth for decades.

The man, who is now married with children, studied in Maynooth in the 1990s. He said the existence of a gay culture within the seminary has been well known within church circles for decades and the trustees of Maynooth have long been aware of it.

'Sean' did not want to be named publicly, but he is known to the Irish Independent.

He said even back in the 1990s there were gay cliques operating within Maynooth and heterosexual students tended to be isolated or pressured into keeping their heads down and saying nothing about what they witnessed. Many left the seminary and married.

The former trainee priest questioned why Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was acting now on Maynooth.

The former seminarian also highlighted how the Murphy Report, which investigated the mishandling of allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin, reported on the death of a Dublin priest in a gay sauna.

In 1994, Fr Liam Cosgrave (68), a curate from Baldoyle, died in a gay sauna.

Fr Cosgrave was given the last rites by two other Catholic priests who were in the club at the time and rushed out of their cubical on hearing his cries for help.

The owner of the Incognito sauna said at the time that up to 20 priests were regular patrons.

Separately, a survivor of clerical sexual abuse who met Pope Francis two years ago has hit out at the seminary training provided by the Church which connived at concealing the truth, notably on the issue of child abuse.

Referring to the apostolic visitation of Irish seminaries ordered by Pope Benedict in response to the Murphy Report, Mark Vincent Healy warned any review of seminary life had to look at how "proper formation of clergy could never have permitted or concealed such violent abuse of children".

Separately, another ex-seminarian who spoke out this week about the confidentiality agreement which he claimed seminarians were forced to sign said he was "shocked and dismayed" at official denials of the existence of such agreements.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News