Irish church leaders have reportedly been holding “crisis talks” over allegations that trainee Catholic priests in Ireland are frequently using the gay dating app Grindr.
Responding to the allegations Church leaders have ordered an urgent review of the “appropriate use of the internet and social media” at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, the centuries-old Irish training centre for priests, and they have also called for a review of the way that whistle-blowers submit their complaints.
The talks come after the most senior Catholic in Ireland, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, said he was sending student priests to Rome, effectively boycotting Maynooth in County Kildare, which is located just 16 miles west of the capital.
Martin said the recent allegations that “a gay culture” exists at the school and that some students have allegedly been using Grindr, the gay dating app, could “be fostering promiscuous sexuality.”
Diarmaid continued that there were other unsettling allegations that whistleblowers were dismissed from the seminary after bringing the issue to the authorities.
To date no one has explained how or why heterosexual seminarians tracked the movement of gay seminarians via the gay dating app before alerting the authorities.
But the swift response to the allegations has some critics wondering what constitutes a “crisis” for the church? For years - in fact for decades - the abuse crisis in the church was often ignored or covered up so why have church leaders have moved so swiftly on this issue, some ask?
Others have laughingly questioned how sending new seminarians to Rome can be seen as a move to protect them from gay culture?
Some have suggested that the church’s rigidly enforced celibacy rule is what really fosters the secretive and “promiscuous sexuality” they complain of, and that their refusal to acknowledge the value of same sex marriage or relationships damages the opportunity for gay people to foster monogamous relationships.
Meanwhile four Archbishops and thirteen senior Bishops have called on the church to set up an independent audit into the running of both Irish seminaries at Maynooth and at St Malachy's in Belfast.