College says anonymous allegations have created 'unhealthy atmosphere'
St Patrick’s College in Maynooth is to review its procedures for dealing with whistleblowers following allegations about the use of dating apps by student priests.
The seminary’s trustees said internet and social media policies will also be evaluated, citing concerns over anonymous accusations.
The announcement comes in the wake of claims in letters and online blogs about a "gay subculture" on campus. The college has previously denied that there is any "concrete or credible evidence" for the existence of such a culture.
A number of former seminarians subsequently alleged that they were required to sign confidentiality agreements before beginning their studies.
The archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, criticised "strange goings-on" at St Patrick’s earlier this month after deciding to stop sending student priests to be trained there.
The college’s board of trustees said following a meeting in Maynooth yesterday that it shared concerns about the "unhealthy atmosphere" created by anonymous claims and "speculative" social media comments.
"Persons with specific concerns are encouraged to report them appropriately as soon as possible," it said.
In a statement, the board also referred to "disquiet ... amongst the faithful" due to "recent and extensive media coverage".
It added, however, that it was satisfied that seminarians are not asked to sign confidentiality documents.
The trustees are to ask the Irish Bishops’ Conference to commission an independent audit and report of governance and statutes in Irish seminaries.
They will also request that a uniform national policy be implemented for admissions to priest training colleges.
It comes as St Patrick’s this week welcomed 14 new seminarians to start their training for the priesthood. A total of 41 resident trainees are expected for the coming academic year.
In addition, 23 non-resident seminarians are due to register for philosophy and theology programmes at St Patrick's Pontifical University.