The Trinity College Catholic society has been warned they must stop organising prayer meetings, amidst fears of suspension or funding cuts.
Correspondence seen by The Irish Catholic reveals that the Central Societies Committee has written to the Catholic Laurentian Society to inform them that they can no longer advertise or hold prayer meetings under the society’s banner, as the committee claims it is in breach of the society’s status as a “cultural” society.
A source told this newspaper that the society has held prayer meetings for years without issue, and that it is only now that a line has been drawn between worship and culture. The source – a TCD student said: “I think my first take on this is that it’s simply unjust.
“If it’s not equally applied, then this is discrimination. If it is evenly applied [to all religious societies], this is anti-religious discrimination. It’s either troubling anti-religious policy from a body that shouldn’t show discrimination to any group of students – their job is to promote college community. Or at best, it shows just a huge indifference and ignorance of what religious culture and Catholic culture specifically is,” the source said.
The CSC has argued that other capitated bodies, such as the chaplaincy, in the college provide for the students’ worship needs, and that they may continue to meet and pray as part of that community. They stipulate only that these worship-based events are in no way connected to the Laurentian Society, due to the society’s status as a “cultural society”.
The Laurentian Society has taken issue with what they see as an arbitrary divide between worship and culture, arguing that for practicing Catholics the two cannot be separated.
The source revealed the feeling among members of the society after the request to cease prayerful activity in the society’s name was made, saying: “We’re all very unhappy with it. It feels like an attack on our society. The committee is very upset, the members are upset, this is something that was a really helpful practice for a lot of students. It was a moment of peace, like the prayer meeting was the moment of peace in the week.
“It’s sort of a thing where if you’re a practicing Catholic or a practicing person of any religion, and you see this sort of thing, it’s good reason to reconsider you know, going to a place like Trinity, which is unfortunate but true.”