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All roads lead to Rome as Irish seminary gripped by Grindr scandal

'Strange goings on' prompt Dublin bish to send trainees abroad

By Joe Fay, 1 Aug 2016

A group of Irish trainee priests are being packed off to Roma, after claims some fathers-in-training at their existing berth in the Emerald Isle had developed a predilection for gay hookup site Grindr.

Catholic archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, has reportedly pulled the diocese’s three trainees from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, citing “strange goings on” and a worrying “atmosphere” at the venerable seminary, The Irish Times reports.

“There seems to an atmosphere of strange goings-on there, it seems like a quarrelsome place with anonymous letters being sent around,” the archbish said obliquely. The three will instead continue their training at the Irish College in Rome.

The Irish Independent went into more detail, reporting that there had been accusations of “inappropriate” behaviour at Maynooth, with some seminarians apparently using Grindr.

The Irish Independent added that at least one other bishop is considering withdrawing his trainees from the Kildare college, which has 60 seminarians in all.

Catholic priests are required to take vows of chastity, and the whole process of training for the priesthood involves an awful lot of “discernment” and “formation” to establish whether the candidate has indeed had a call from God to the priesthood.

Without getting too deep into theology, it’s perhaps understandable why some Bishops might take the view logging onto Grindr might lead to some confusion on seminarians’ part.

It’s not like their head office hasn’t embraced social media itself, with the Vatican launching a number of apps to help guide Christians, as well as the pontiff’s own tweets.

Then again, it’s not like the Vatican is entirely free of strange goings on. Over the last few years there’s been the whole Vatican leaks scandal, and indeed claims that the horned one himself is stalking the corridors. In 2013, Pope Benedict announced his shock resignation just months after announcing a social media effort.

And of course, would-be priests have always faced challenges when it comes to denying the pleasures of the flesh. Reaching way back when, we know of at least one seminarian who became so enamoured of their female instructor in liturgical latin that they packed in the whole thing, and decided to become a computer engineer instead. ®

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