MAYNOOTH, Ireland (ChurchMilitant.com) - Independent sources are claiming a seminarian from Ireland was transferred to Rome amidst allegations of homosexual misconduct.
Deacon Michael Jack Byrne — a former seminarian from St. Patrick's College in Maynooth, Ireland — is the same person accused of using the gay dating app Grindr while at the seminary, say sources close to the seminarian. His ordinary, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, was purportedly aware of these allegations when he chose to transfer Byrne from Maynooth to the Pontifical Irish College in Rome last fall.
Sources further point out uncanny coincidences between him and an unnamed "young cleric" newly featured in a January 14 article by the Irish Independent, who's accused of sexually assaulting a middle-aged man in 2015 on church property in Abp. Martin's diocese of Dublin. Not only was Byrne staying at the rectory in Bray, Wicklow when the assault allegedly occurred, but also the profile of the alleged assailant, per the Irish Independent, closely matches that of the Grindr profile purportedly belonging to Byrne.
The Irish Independent related on Saturday, January 14, that Abp. Martin and the gardai (national police) were reportedly informed of the assault allegations. They note the purported assailant describes himself in his profile on the gay dating website Grinder "as 'versatile' when it comes to sex ... likes deep conversations" and "also enjoys 'no-strings-attached' sex 'every now and then.'" A quick look at the profile on the gay website allegedly containing Byrne's pictures finds these same descriptions given almost verbatim.
ChurchMilitant reached out to sources in Ireland who were close to Byrne. They confirmed, "The accusation was made that the assault took place at a parish Byrne was serving at on pastoral work. He was the only student there at the time."
But last year's scandal at Maynooth's St. Patrick College involving seminarians' use of the gay dating app Grindr has been widely reported. Archbishop Martin, in whose diocese Maynooth is located, affirmed, "One [allegation] is that there is a homosexual, a gay culture; that students have been using an app called Grindr, which is a gay dating app."
Sources close to Byrne say he was one of those seminarians using the app to hook up with male partners.
In the end the archbishop decided to transfer Byrne and his fellow seminarians to Rome, not because of the alleged homosexual activity at Maynooth, but because of the whistleblowers at the seminary who were afraid to speak publicly.
"I thought a quarrelsome attitude of that kind was not the healthiest place for my students to be and I decided to send them to the Irish Pontifical College (in Rome)," the archbishop explained. "A culture of anonymous letters is poisonous, and until that is cleared up I would be happier sending my students elsewhere."
Our source confirmed that Deacon Byrne was one of those outed in the anonymous letters and that Abp. Martin refused to take appropriate action. "It's ironic that Bishop Martin's quote at the time and his decision looked like he was being the good cop when it now emerges that some of the anonymous letters were in fact accusations about Byrne and he moved him instead of investigating it thoroughly," the source commented.
Saint Patrick's College in Maynooth is Ireland's national seminary. Founded in 1795, it was built to house more than 500 seminarians and was once the largest seminary in the world. But today, that number has dwindled to some 40 men. Our source claims that, owing to the ongoing scandals at Maynooth, if something isn't done soon, not only the seminary but also Catholicism in Ireland will soon be no more.
"The whole college needs to be shut and an investigation into all seminarians carried out," he said. "It will put the final nail in the coffin of Catholicism in this country if it is not."