More on Maynoooth
This is a post by uriah at the Irish Catholics’ Forum (re-posted here with his kind permission):
I was a seminarian in Maynooth from ’93 to ’98 and I can confirm much of what has been said on this thread. Apart from the initial spiritual month, the discipline in the place was quite lax. It became even less disciplined in my second year with the arrival of new deans and their ‘re-branding’ as ‘Directors of Formation’.
Quite a number of seminarians were in relationships with female students, including theology students, and many others were in relationships with men, including other seminarians. There was a real sub-culture of homosexuality within the place. A group of them began adding the letters ‘CSS’ (Confraternity of Saint Sebastian) after their names as a sign that they were homosexual. Apart from in my first year, when one of my fellow ‘Cherubs’ was kicked out over a relationship with a 2nd Divine, the college authorities seemed to tolerate it and turn a blind eye.
With many there, the drinking culture was quite strong, both within and outside the college. One group from my class even got into a pub brawl in the ‘Leinster Arms’ one night with a group of English lads.
A seminarian in the year behind me in ’95 left after a former girlfriend of his turned up and they went for a few drinks and later disappeared into his room and stayed there for two days, after which he left.
Obvious piety was looked on with some suspicion by both staff and students alike. The Saturday night Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was well attended while I was there, although some did not attend or during the two hours between the beginning and Benediction would disappear elsewhere. Not as many attended the recital of the Rosary, nor was it encouraged. The main form of prayer was the Divine Office, but again, in the higher years, when attendance in the Oratories was not obligatory, many could be hot and miss in reciting it and be quite happy to boast of that.
Having said all that, there were others there that were quite committed, prayerful, and disciplined men.
[...] There was one dean there at the time, that I met years after I left. He had moved on by then and was serving as a PP. He told me that while he was in Maynooth, he had been greatly concerned by the falling numbers of ‘manly’ men that were joining and the increase in effeminacy in the seminary. What he was really referring to is not difficult to understand.