IRELAND: Conservative seminarians ejected from Maynooth, bishops intervene

Once in a while it is good to be reminded that the oppression is still going on.

Did you see the story about the “conservative” seminarians who were given the heave ho from Maynooth Seminary in Ireland?

From Irish Catholic:

A number of Maynooth student priests [i.e. seminarians] who were reportedly asked to take time out [euphemis alert!  “thrown out”] of seminary because they were ‘too conservative[i.e, they believe in God, they don’t think women should be ordained, they don’t think men should sleep together, etc.] are to return to the college in the autumn after interventions by a number of bishops, it has been claimed.  [Because, these days, there are so many seminarians in Ireland they can afford to lose some, right?]

The Irish Catholic understands that of 10 diocesan seminarians who were due to return to Maynooth in the autumn [they have TEN?] after completing their pastoral year, six were recommended to take time out to reconsider their vocation.  [This reminds me of the diocese in California which had no seminarians at all for a couple years.  They said that their admissions process worked.  It was so excellent and sophisticated that no one got through!]

Sources have indicated to The Irish Catholic that the clear impression was given to the students that they were so advised because their theological views were considered at the conservative end of the spectrum.  [I’m shocked!  Shocked!]

However, Msgr Hugh Connolly, President of Maynooth, rejected the claim, insisting that there has been “nothing out of the ordinary in terms of usual action between students, dioceses and the seminary in making a decision on what is the best next step for a particular student”. [Uh huh.]

Msgr Connolly said it was “not a question of conservativism” but rather a question of “getting the right experience”.  [Uh huh.]

However, the issue will put fresh focus on concerns that the Vatican’s investigation of Maynooth, ordered by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, has had little practical effect. In previous years some Maynooth students claimed the college operated an informal ‘litmus test’ to sift out seminarians considered excessively conservative. [What does “excessively” conservative mean in the modern Irish context?  Translation: the rector didn’t like them.]


The Irish Catholic now understands that after interventions by a number of bishops, three of the six seminarians will in fact be returning to the college this autumn. It is understood that the bishops involved rejected the assessment of their seminarians by those involved in co-ordinating the pastoral year, [of course] and that the apprehensions shared were at odds with favourable reports from pastoral placements. The concerns aired were reportedly not shared by the college’s seminary council.  [It’s dejà vu all over again.  This is sounding really familiar.]

Maynooth President Msgr Connolly, who chairs the council, poured cold water on the claim that a bishop had to bring any student “back on board,” insisting that no student was ever “off board”. [Uh huh.]



This is not the first time the issue has provoked controversy. Some years ago, seminarians were reportedly suspended for wanting to kneel during the consecration at Mass.

[NB!] In 2012, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said “it is not just that the number of candidates is low; it is also that many of those who present are fragile and some are much more traditional than those who went before them”.  [That’s the old technique from the 80’s isn’t it?  Suggest that anyone who is conservative is psychologically damaged.  Then either force them out the door or into a shrink’s office so that he tell them that they are really gay.  It’s what we, back in the day, referred to as Lubyanka.]


While rejecting “priests or candidates who simply go with the trends of the day”, the archbishop warned there is “a danger that superficial attachment to the externals of tradition may well be a sign of fearfulness and flight from changed realities: and that is not exactly what we need”.


Changed realities…


Read the rest there.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Pò sì jiù, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, The future and our choices and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. benedetta says:

    Ah yes, the “getting the right experience” routine. Wherein there is a right way and a wrong way, and the right experience has much more to do with who is in power than veritas. Might makes right, apparently. Prayers for those six seminarians from me.

  2. I’ve known (though not recently) seminarians who were dismissed from seminary for no apparent reason other than because they were insufficiently shy about saying the rosary, genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament, receiving on the tongue, and such like.

    But I’ve never heard of, nor do I know anyone who’s ever heard of a seminarian who was ejected for being too liberal. Has anyone ever heard of such a case? What would it take?

  3. Tradster says:

    Well, I suppose the silver lining is that there are a few bishops in Ireland willing to overrule such blatantly liberal actions. I admit to more than a little surprise at that. You can bet that the seminary libs are working behind the scenes to somehow ensure those bishops can not/will not interfere again.

  4. yatzer says:

    All of that sheds considerable light on the situation of the Church in Ireland. I admire those seminarians and will pray for them, and I suppose I must also pray for the authorities promoting such dreadful attitudes.

  5. That photo just makes my eyes bleed.


  6. DisturbedMary says:

    Didn’t Card. Dolan go to Maynooth at Pope Benedict’s request and didn’t he give a confidential report to the Pope which last I heard may have suggested that Maynooth be closed and seminarians be distributed to Rome. Whatever the report said, can we assume that it went into the recycle bin for Vatican compost?

  7. gracie says:

    I saw in the article that seminarians used to be ordained deacons before they did their pastoral year. Maynooth changed that so that they do their pastoral year first. I wonder if that is so they can discern, through observing the students’ actions, if they are “conservative” and then go ahead and easily get rid of them – perhaps if they’re ordained first it gets trickier to do that? Does anyone know if this is the way it’s done in the U.S.?

    Btw – I would love to know who those bishops were. I hadn’t realized Ireland had such men (probably because the press doesn’t want to acknowledge their presence).

  8. DisturbedMary says:

    Following up on the Dolan report on Maynooth, this from the Catholic Herald saying Maynooth will remain open and from saying it will close

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  10. aegsemje says:

    I was studying to be a teacher at a catholic university in St. Paul, MN. I had many disagreements with the very liberal professors. In the end… official from the state interviewed each of us on our beliefs and I was told I would not be allowed to get s teaching license in MN because I was too conservative. Sounds like a similar thing.

  11. Clinton says:

    The collapse in the numbers of ordinations is not unwelcome to a certain cynical
    group within the Church. Unwilling to let this crisis go to waste, they point to the
    falling numbers and declare that if Rome would only scrap priestly celibacy and
    ‘ordain’ women, our priest shortage could be ended. That same crowd is also likely
    very pleased that many dioceses, short of priests, have given over parishes to lay
    administrators instead of pastors. The shortage of priests is also a likely reason given
    for ignoring Benedict XVI’s 2005 Instruction that men with deep-seated homosexual
    tendencies be refused admission to seminary.

    For some cynical people, the priest shortage is a crisis to be exploited. They have no
    interest in seeing the number of ordinations rise, and certainly not if those new
    priests would be lovers of Tradition.

  12. Athelstan says:

    “That same crowd is also likely very pleased that many dioceses, short of priests, have given over parishes to lay administrators instead of pastors.”

    Or, what some call “The Matthew Clark Effect.”

  13. Matt Robare says:

    And we wondered what happened to Ireland.

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  15. Pater Raphael says:

    I am afraid that this kind of behaviour is perfectly “normal” in most European countries. Apart from in the very few seminaries set up specifically for the extraodinary form or from the more conservative religious orders, pretty much every seminary in Europe still operates in this way.
    As for the crisis of too few seminarians being used by the liberal elites to get lay (read here female / female ordination supporters) control of parishes… I would say that the so-called “crisis” was even created by them in the first place precisely for this objective. There are enough potential seminarians out there for the practicing catholic population, – yes, even here in Europe – it is just that they are either denied entry to seminary, kicked out on invented grounds, if they actually make it in to start with, or wouldn’t be seen dead in those herectical institutions.
    I went to a “normal” seminary – not tradi – called Heiligenkreuz near Vienna, and it is booming. they have over 250 students and that is more than every other German speaking seminary put together! (By the word “normal” please read “Catholic”).
    My experience of Irish seminarians over the last few years is that they are definitely of better quality and more Catholic than those thousands who were ordained in the 70’s and 80’s before the collapse in Ireland. Because the Irish Church situation is a good 20 years behind what happened in the US, UK or Germany/Austria, they are going through what we did then. The only surprise here is that some Bishops are actually disagreeing with the seminary President. But please note that even now, they are not…. and the mainland European experience is the same, …. and never have actually had the courage to change the seminary staff out and demand a proper formation for their seminarians.
    Please pray for these Bishops. If we cannot improve the present and future Priesthood we will not be able to revive the faith here in the Catholic heartlands. Father Raphael

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