.- Three of the four senior staff members at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome are stepping down from their posts after a Vatican investigation concluded Irelandâs seminaries are not doing enough to promote Catholic orthodoxy.
âIn colleges there is a constant changeover, maybe after the Apostolic Visitation it is not a bad idea to bring in new people, new ideas and move forward,â Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin told CNA on May 10 in Rome.
Todayâs announcement comes in the wake of the March 2012 publication of a two-year investigation â officially called an apostolic visitation -- into the health of the Irish Church. The visitation of Irish seminaries was led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
While the report praised Irish seminary staff for being âdedicated formatorsâ who were âcommitted to the work of priestly training,â it also called for a âgreater concern for the intellectual formation of seminariansâ to ensure that their education was âin full conformity with the Churchâs Magisterium.â
The report also recommended that the pastoral training of seminarians be re-evaluated to ensure âit is sacramental, priestly and apostolicâ and concerned with âpreparing candidates to celebrate the sacraments and to preach.â
Overall, the visitation found that the renewal of the Catholic Church in Ireland was being hampered by âa certain tendency, not dominant but nevertheless fairly widespread among priests, religious and laity, to hold theological opinions at variance with the teachings of the Magisterium.â
The change of guard at the Irish College in Rome will involve the vice rector, Father Albert McDonnell; the director of formation,Father Billy Swan; and the collegeâs spiritual director, Father Chris Hayden. They will all return to their respective dioceses at the conclusion of this academic year and received new assignments.
The Trustees of the Irish College, (the four archbishops of Ireland) will announce new appointments after they meet later this month.
Archbishop Martin pointed out to CNA that the spiritual director had already âasked to be relieved due to health reasons,â while the vice rector was serving beyond his term of office.
Last year, Father Ciaran OâCarroll took over as the seminaryâs rector from Monsignor Liam Bergin, who had held the post for 10 years. He is now teaching theology at Boston College in the United States.
In a May 10 statement, Fr. OâCarroll thanked his three departing colleagues for their contribution to the collegeâs life and wished them âevery blessing and success in their new appointments and for the future.â