Mike Garde spent over 6 hours in Maynooth to discuss a number of issues with a DI board member, and also visited his Alma Mater after an absence of nearly 6 years. He was also able to speak quite openly with Bishop William Crean from Cloyne about the issues related to the HofP.
Bishop Crean had invited him to a public meeting in Killarney over 20 years ago to discuss the cult issue. He understood the issues facing families and was hopeful a resolution could be found.
I was able to hand over a copy of the book for every bishop, that is for those that did not already have it.
I then walked around the grounds and came to the College Cemetery and noted a few of the famous people.
One of course was the famous scientist Nicholas Callan.
An interesting person was called the DOM, Michael Casey who was head of Chemistry when I was a student. He used to start his lectures with a slide of Our Lady. He then promoted a Marian Pilgrimage to Knock. I was on that train that stopped in Maynooth in October of 1973 and as it was the only one that stopped in Maynooth till the trains were reinstated. It was quite an experience.
Another person who had a profound influence on me was Patrick Corish who was a Church historian.
When I was a student at Maynooth I was the first non Catholic to sit for the BD. I was given credit for my Baptist College Diploma and my Diploma in Theology from London University. I formed the view that the proliferation of mission houses like the SVD, SMA and Salesian hostels was not a good idea. I would have build a National Seminary with the Religious Orders together on the new campus. Also I thought the practice of allowing students to be funded by dioceses to do their primary degree a bad one. I felt they should have had to struggle to support themselves in coming to Maynooth and live out in the community. I lived in a house in the Rail Park estate with a number of ex clerics and it was often a moral nightmare when these guys jumped ship. I would have turned the massive St Mary’s block into student accommodation. I met a woman from Mayo who told me that a number of rooms in that block are open now to non clerics. The result is that the Seminary is very much a kind of monastic site with enclosures and is off limits. You have the sense it is not Newman’s idea of an University but a retreat from engagement academically and a kind withdrawal from the battle of ideas. There are just too few to justify the space taken up.
It is as if the battle is lost, and now there is desire to save a remnant
This is the view out from inside the enclosure.
I then proceeded to look at all the pictures of the Classes from 1970 to 2015 and also for paintings of the various bishops. I saw none of Cardinal Cullen and thinking about it it is likely because his major project was building Holy Cross Seminary, Clonliffe.
I did not feature in the year I graduated 1976 as I was not ordained. I did find that two of the persons next to each other both became bishops. Namely William Crean and Noel Traynor.
My only connection to the issues concerning the House of Prayer related to the fact that while I was in Maynooth Gerard McGinnity was the junior Dean.
I have related my experiences elsewhere so will not again.
I reminded him that at Christmas one year I was asked to be Santa for the Student Christmas Party. I brought some of the women students up to the dorm and he came out and said if we did not get moving he would call the Gardai. I said to him I had a lovely tricycle for him for his Christmas present but because he was so naughty would give it to a deserving child.
Already by 1979 the rising star in the Seminary was Mícháel Ledwith who was Professor of Dogmatics.
It is interesting that by 1985 Gerard McGinnity was the Dean and the picture for that year has him in a large central position and the President at the side now Mícháel Ledwith.
The question now is will the bishops meeting in Ireland be able to address this issue? It is one that needs closure both for the victims of the Church of Prayer, for the Catholic Church in Ireland and even as this photo suggests for Fr McGinnity to be relieved of living in denial and away from the truth. Look at how energetic he looks filled with hope and if he had been able to use his brilliant mind what a different position he would be in?
If he is to be the priest he wished to be he has to make a decisive break with the one who has brought him under her malign influence. Who? Christina Gallagher.