Archbishop Dolan is expected to recommend that Pope Benedict move all Irish seminarians to a reformed and restructured Pontifical Irish College in Rome, the Irish Catholic reports.
The historic shift would bring an end to concerns about falling academic standards at Maynooth and claims by some that the college in no longer ‘fit for mission’. One senior academic told The Irish Catholic that the Apostolic Visitors were ”appalled” by some of the standards in Maynooth.
It is understood the plan would include the Irish College in Rome dramatically reducing the number of non-Irish students enrolled in the seminary to make way for the seminarians from Maynooth.
A wholesale move to Rome would address concerns that some of the theology taught at Maynooth is not sufficiently orthodox for future priests, the Irish Catholic says.
However, Monsignor Hugh Connolly, President of Saint Patrickâ€™s College, Maynooth, said in a statement that speculative media reports suggesting that the national seminary may close â€œare without foundationâ€.
Monsignor Connolly said, â€œThere are 72 men studying for the priesthood in Maynooth, making us the largest seminary on these islands and one of the largest in Europe. Media reports today about the possible closure of the seminary are without foundation. The media outlet leading with this incorrect story was sent a reply from us yesterday and its absence from the published copy is disappointing and damaging.
â€œSaint Patrickâ€™s College, Maynooth, is a vibrant centre of seminary formation and theological research. In addition to our 72 student priests, we provide academic formation for an increasing number of non-resident seminarians from religious orders, and for 366 lay students.â€
Monsignor Connolly concluded, â€œMaynooth is confident of its contribution to the future of the Church in Ireland. The Apostolic Visitation to the seminary was a positive and affirming experience for the whole College community. It generated a spirit of hope and enthusiasm which will no doubt play a significant part in the renewal of the Church in our country.â€
Radical shake-up for Maynooth (Irish Catholic)
President responds to Incorrect Media Reports (St Patrick’s College, Maynooth)
ipernity (CC 3.0)