Trainee priests at an Irish Catholic priesthood college face increased supervision and a crackdown on their Internet usage after the 221-year-old institution was rocked by a Grindr gay hookup scandal.
Earlier this month, it was announced three trainee priests at the St Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland were being transferred to Rome after allegations surfaced of widespread use of app Grindr by the students for gay hookups.
Now, the seminary, the largest of its kind the world, has advised that a stricter regime and new supervisory measures will be imposed on the more than fifty remaining trainee priests in light of the scandal.
Tighter controls on internet usage are part of a number of measures which the College this week said they will implement, together with a review into “appropriate use of social media.”
As part of the new rules, all trainee priests will be required to eat their evening meal in the College, and will be supervised by senior staff of the seminary council, Pink News reported.
They will also be required to attend evening rosary and encouraged to have more contact with women, families and lay people.
Earlier this month, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin said the St Patrick’s seminary had been plagued by anonymous accusations about “strange goings-on” and an “unhealthy” culture of “promiscuous sexuality”.
“[One allegation is that] there’s a gay culture and people are sexually active in the seminary,” he said.
“People have been active on an app called Grindr. That’s totally inappropriate for seminarians and not just because they are going to be celibate priests, but Grindr is open towards promiscuous sexuality, contrary to the mature vision of sexuality one would expect a priest to understand,” he said.
“If this is going on a large scale in the seminary and it hasn’t been noticed, then there’s something wrong.”
But trustees of the college said some of the allegations spread on social media could be “speculative or even malicious” about the College’s student priests.