Archbishop Martin and Maynooth

Last week Archbishop Martin, a trustee at Maynooth College, the national seminary, said he had decided not to send Dublin seminarians to Maynooth any longer due to “an atmosphere of strange goings-on there”.  “It seems like a quarrelsome place with anonymous letters being sent around. I don’t think this is a good place for students,” Archbishop Martin said.  Dublin seminarians would go to the Irish College in Rome instead.  So what is the problem exactly?  Why does the Archbishop not want to send his three seminarians to Maynooth?

The truth is that Maynooth has been a problem for years but this in itself is only a reflection of and a concomitant result of wide spread apostasy in the Church.  That is really the nub of the problem.  What Archbishop Martin seems to screen out of his media forays is the fact that he and his Episcopal colleagues are the ones largely responsible for the mess the Church finds itself in.  I find Archbishop Martin’s attitude to homosexuality particularly intriguing.  For instance in 2005 Martin said that being homosexual should not prevent a man becoming a Catholic priest. He said: “You don’t write off a candidate for the priesthood simply because he is a gay man”. Notably he uses the language of the homosexual lobby.  He discussed the admission of homosexuals to the priesthood in the context of the sexual abuse of minors by priests: “You have to say that horrendous damage was done to people. Then you need to take steps to ensure this will never happen again.” He noted that “you cannot identify homosexuality with paedophilia” and that paedophilia is “not the result of homosexuality, nor is it a result of celibacy”.  Words fail when affronted with such stupidity.  Statistics show that the great mass of those abused by Catholic Priests were young men.  The denial of the clear link between pederasty and the sexual abuse crisis is perplexing.

When the Irish Civil Partnership Bill was being debated in 2008 Martin came up with this gem.  In response to comments by Cardinal Seán Brady on the Civil Partnership Bill, Martin said: “We haven’t expressed an opinion as an Episcopal Conference [on the bill]. I don’t think anyone in the conference is against what Cardinal Brady said, but they may have said it in different ways.” He also said that while the Catholic Church favoured marriage, “it is not against other forms of intimacy”.  Martin told the Irish Independent in 2004 that “I recognise that there are many different kinds of caring relationships and these often create dependencies for those involved. The State may feel in justice that the rights of people in these relationships need to be protected.” He emphasised he was not thinking mainly of homosexual relationships, but rather of caring, dependent relationships in general. At the same time, he said, he did not exclude homosexual relationships. Martin said: “I have a wide range of relationships in mind. I do not exclude gay relationships but my main concern is with all caring relationships where dependencies have come into being”.  So Archbishop Martin discussed the State’s obligation to its citizens but said nothing about the Church’s teaching regarding the sinfulness of homosexual acts.  Indeed the cryptic comment that the Church is “not against other forms of intimacy” encourages the erroneous belief that the Church views Homosexuality with disinterest.

Archbishop Martin is very popular with the media in Ireland and their reporting of Martin’s withdrawal of his three seminarians from Maynooth was the first time I have seen him criticised by these particular enemies of the Church.  I think they are beginning to see him for what he is, a hypocrite.  He can usually be depended on to apologise for the Church’s beliefs but on this occasion his obvious hypocrisy would appear to be too much even for the Dublin 4 brigade.

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