Irish bishops back seminarians deemed too conservative

Several Irish bishops have reportedly intervened after seminarians were allegedly asked to leave their studies because they were too conservative.

The Irish Catholic understands that out of 10 diocesan seminarians from Maynooth due to return at the end of their pastoral year, six were recommended to take “time out”.

But the newspaper pointed to claims of interventions by a number of bishops.

This meant three of the six seminarians would be returning to the seminary in a few months, it is understood.

The Irish Catholic also understands that one seminarian is to undertake a pastoral year in his diocese and another is to take time out, while one student remains in a state of limbo about his seminary future.

The newspaper believes the bishops rejected the assessment of their seminarians by those involved in co-ordinating the pastoral year.

The apprehensions shared were at odds with favourable reports from pastoral placements.

In previous years some Maynooth students claimed the college operated an informal ‘litmus test’ to sift out seminarians considered excessively conservative.

Some years ago, seminarians were reportedly suspended for wanting to kneel during the consecration at Mass.

Speaking about the students on pastoral placement, Maynooth president Msgr Hugh Connolly said 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”.

Msgr Connolly said it was “not a question of conservatism” but rather a question of “getting the right experience”.

He said “a different itinerary is not a judgement on the individual student”.

“Their life stories and experiences are all different. We are just tailoring it for his own development and to bring out his gifts.”

Msgr Connolly sald the formation of seminarians “has always been done in discussion with the bishop, who must be involved in the pastoral formation of students”.


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