Trainee priests at the Maynooth Seminary in Ireland are to face a stricter regime following allegations that some had been using the gay dating app Grindr to arrange illicit meetings.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin recently withdrew his seminarians from the college following the allegations of improper behaviour.
The Trustees at Maynooth say trainees will now be required to stay in the college to eat their evening meal instead of being able to go where they choose. They will also be obliged to attend evening rosary at 9pm.
From now on, the seminary council will take their meals with the trainees to reinforce discipline.
Meanwhile, an investigation is being carried out into the “appropriate use of the internet and social media” by priests.
The measures have been criticised as not strong enough by Bishop Pat Buckley, a former seminarian at Maynooth, who is gay himself. He told the Irish Independent.
The trustees should have introduced a total ban on social media and mobile phones.
“At least initially, they should have put a ban on mobile phones because that would have sent a very clear message to the seminarians and to the Irish population that people, whether they are straight or gay, on mobile phones looking for promiscuous sex is not allowed.”
Bishop Buckley was scathing about eating arrangements being used as a disciplinary measure, saying it would do nothing to solve the problem and merely put a delay on some seminarians before they “hit the pubs in Maynooth”.
He added that although the seminarians involved in the Grindr scandal had shut down their accounts, some intended to create new ones using fake names.