Tuesday 20 March 2018

Secrecy that hovers over Maynooth reflects lack of transparency in clerical abuse scandal

St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Photo: Steve Humphreys
St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Gina Menzies

The Maynooth story is symptomatic of the challenges facing the Catholic Church and its future direction. Both Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Father Brendan Hoban of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) have used the same phrase - a "closed, strange world" - to describe Maynooth Seminary. And the fallout is much wider than rumours circulating about inappropriate sexual activities in the Seminary.

The secrecy that hovers over Maynooth reflects the lack of transparency in the handling of clerical child abuse. Are the people of God not entitled to know how their future priests are being trained to minister? Those who struggle to remain in the Church are ill served by the current confusion and lack of leadership.

The issues of clerical formation and theological orthodoxy in Maynooth form the current battleground between two visions for the future of the Catholic Church in Ireland. The ongoing battle is between those who seek a reform of the institutional Church in accordance with the documents of Vatican II, and those who believe that the way forward is a return to and restoration of the pre-Vatican II model of the Church.

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