Fr Fitzgerald, a former student at the Maynooth seminary, denies claims of Grindr and alcohol at the seminary
Limerick priest Fr Ger Fitzgerald, from Castleconnell, has denied claims that Maynooth is a “golden house of debauchery, sin and squalor.”
The thirty-six year old priest attended Maynooth from 2005, completing his studies five years ago in 2011.
Although Fr Fitzgerald has not been at the institute for the last five years, he seems confident that Maynooth’s reputation is being unfairly tarnished.
Allegations of priests using Grindr amidst other homosexual behaviour at Maynooth have led Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin to send his trainee priests to the Irish College at Rome to continue their training.
“The church that I love with all my heart is once again taking a battering. This goes further than just the institution of Maynooth College. This strikes again right to the heart of the church in Ireland,” the Limerick priest said.
“In my time this was not the case. No parties were had and there were no drinks in rooms. This simply did not happen during my years,” Fr Fitzgerald said.
When Fr Fitzgerald commenced his studies in 2005, a smartphone was a Blackberry with a physical keyboard and access to email. The original iPhone was released in 2007, with gay dating app Grindr initially released in 2009. Fr Fitzgerald finished his studies two years later.
The somewhat sheltered life at Maynooth, where priests shirk worldly possessions and celibacy is being preached, could explain why Fr Fitzgerald’s experience doesn’t line up with reports from 2016.
“I cannot speak for any other student, perhaps even less so for the students who are there now,” Fr Fitzgerald said.
A Different Time
“As students in my time, we were all there with a purpose in mind. We all wanted to be close to God because we love God and were trying, in our own flawed way, to serve him in his church.”
Priests at Maynooth today have had six years of Grindr being readily available on a smartphone, same-sex marriage is now legal in Ireland, and same-sex couples can adopt children.
Homosexuality has become less marginalised with politicians coming out. 2016 is a very different year to 2005, when Fr Fitzgerald began his time at Maynooth.
Now, another Limerick priest is due to commence a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Maynooth seminary reports the Limerick Leader, although he will discuss the matter with the Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, to decide if this course of action is the correct one.
Responding to the allegations of abuse at Maynooth Fr Fitzgerald said: “I must also say that even just one case of abuse be that verbal, physical, sexual or in a any form is one case too many and should be investigated rigorously.”
Speaking of the horror stories that have been reported, Fr Fitzgerald said: “If [they are] ongoing then things have certainly changed in the five years since I left Maynooth.”