Ireland’s Priests Challenge Cardinal Dolan’s Report on ‘Gay-Friendly’ Seminary in Rome

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan has come under fire from a major association of priests in Ireland for the way he handled an investigation of the Irish College in Rome, a seminary, which he said had a reputation for being “gay-friendly.”

Dublin’s Independent newspaper reports that Ireland’s Association of Catholic Priests(ACP) has charged:

” ‘It is unacceptable that a report to the Pope, on a sensitive issue, should be conducted in such an incompetent fashion,’ the group said. ‘No court of law would treat people in such a way.’

“The report was carried out by Cardinal Dolan as part of the apostolic visitation into some dioceses, seminaries and religious institutions last year.

“It criticised the four archbishops — Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop Michael Neary and Archbishop Dermot Clifford.

“It is alleged that they were disengaged from college governance, with irregular meetings, minutes and agenda. . . .

” ‘Cardinal Dolan’s report not only undermines the reputation of priests who have not been given a right of reply, it also undermines the credibility of the whole visitation process,’ the ACP said.

” ‘It would appear that, in undertaking this particular visitation, conclusions were effectively drawn beforehand and then evidence to support them was actively sought,’ [the ACP said].”

The Irish Times’ account of the story states:

“What [the ACP] found ‘disturbing, indeed frightening’, was ‘what a draft response from the four Irish archbishops called “a deep prejudice” appears to have “coloured the visitation’ from the outset and ‘led to the hostile tone and content of the report”.’

“The judgment of the four archbishops seemed “vindicated in the clear efforts made by Cardinal Dolan’s team to find evidence to support the college’s ‘gay-friendly’ reputation.

“While the report failed to find such evidence, it still persisted in giving a detailed account of specific allegations and then went on to state that it did not find any evidence to support same.

“It begged ‘the question as to why such detail is included in the report’.

“Cardinal Dolan’s conclusion that ‘the overwhelming majority of the seminarians are committed to a faithful, chaste lifestyle’ did ‘not justify the detailed, even prurient reporting and naming of individuals and accusations.’ ”

“If the accusations were not substantiated, ‘why not just say so? Is this just incompetence or perhaps homophobia?

“ ‘A charge of the latter could easily be justified as a result of the “coloured: thinking that produced this report.’

It was ‘very disappointing, on a number of levels, to have to conclude (as the evidence of this report suggests) that the Apostolic Visitation had very little to do with child protection but was effectively part of an ongoing process of remaking the church in accordance with current Vatican thinking.’ “

Cardinal Dolan has not commented on the ACP’s acccusations, the Independent report stated.

An editorial in The Irish Times makes the important connection between this investigation and another recent important investigation which touched on gay issues.  The editors state:

“Whether or not the Irish College was indeed a hotbed of liberal subversive methods – a notion difficult to reconcile with its distinctly unradical patrons’, the four Irish archbishops – it has become an unfortunate pawn in the church’s internal war for orthodoxy. Other examples include those Irish priests recently muzzled and the US Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents most of America’s 57,000 nuns, now placed under theological receivership.”

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry