Rome will supervise Maynooth reforms

Rome will supervise Maynooth reforms St Patrick's College, Maynooth
Staff Reporter

Vatican officials will closely monitor reforms at Maynooth aimed at ensuring the national seminary can move on from recent controversies, The Irish Catholic understands.

The hierarchy announced after its recent general meeting that Fr Michael Mullaney will take over as college president on September 1 for a period of three years.

Crucially, the Vatican is pushing for a more distinct separation between the structures of the seminary and the wider pontifical university.

This will lead to an appointment of a pro-rector with dedicated responsibility for seminary formation at Maynooth.


The bishops have agreed to proposals from the Vatican that Maynooth’s governance structures change to reflect the fact that the university and seminary are two inter-related but distinct entities.

It is understood the Vatican remains concerned that Maynooth’s reputation remains damaged because of allegations aired last summer that some seminarians had been using gay dating apps.

The seminary authorities strenuously denied that there was any evidence for the allegations.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin also announced that he was withdrawing seminarians saying “there seems to be an atmosphere of strange goings-on there, it seems like a quarrelsome place with anonymous letters being sent around”.


Reform of Maynooth is complicated by the fact that 17 members of the hierarchy act as the trustees and there are contrasting visions of what priestly formation should entail. In contrast many seminaries in other countries are diocesan or regional meaning only a few or even one bishop is responsible.

Rome is concerned that the publicity generated by the allegations concerning events at Maynooth might also deter other men considering a priestly vocation to come forward and present themselves for consideration, The Irish Catholic understands that Rome will draw on the vast experience of seminaries in other countries that have been successfully reformed and seen a new upsurge in vocations.