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Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.Marc Lechanteur /

DUBLIN, Ireland, December 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Ireland’s foremost university, Trinity College Dublin, has banned the university’s Catholic society from organizing prayer meetings, saying they violate the society’s constitution.

The Laurentian Society of Trinity College Dublin states that it “welcomes all students who wish to engage intellectually with the Catholic faith.” Its Facebook page reads: “The Laurentian Society is the Catholic society of Trinity College Dublin. Its vocation is to offer a space of fellowship and prayer to students, and to promote the Catholic faith and teachings through various activities and events all through the year.”

The Irish Catholic reports that it has seen correspondence from the university’s Central Societies Committee (CSC) in which the CSC issued a warning to the society “that they can no longer advertise or hold prayer meetings under the society’s banner, as the committee claims it is in breach of the society’s status as a ‘cultural’ society.”

According to The Irish Catholic, the CSC wrote that other groups or “bodies, such as the chaplaincy, in the college provide for the students’ worship needs, and that they may continue to meet and pray as part of that community.” However, such “worship-based events are in no way connected to the Laurentian Society, due to the society’s status as a ‘cultural society.’”

The society has deemed the decision an “arbitrary divide between worship and culture, arguing that for practicing Catholics the two cannot be separated.”

A student from the university spoke to The Irish Catholic, saying, “I think my first take on this is that it’s simply unjust. If it’s not equally applied, then this is discrimination.” Continuing, the student added that the event was a “good reason to reconsider … going to a place like Trinity.”

The CSC secretary, Ultan Pringle, wrote to The University Times, saying: “The Laurentian Society constitution outlines that the aims and objectives of the society are as follows: to provide a forum for the exposition and discussion of historical and contemporary issues pertaining to Catholic culture from a Catholic perspective and to educate interested members of the College community on aspects of Catholicism, including in particular the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Pringle continued: “The aim of the society then is to engage with and explore faith-based culture and literature. Trinity already provides a space for worship and religious practice through the College Chaplaincy.”

Speaking to The University Times, the Laurentian Society said, “As far as we’re aware, this has never been an issue with any religion-based cultural societies on campus, and many Catholic students now feel that we are being singled out and attacked. At best, this seems to be ignorance of what is classified as cultural practice; at worst, it is anti-Catholic bigotry, which is all too common in today’s culture.”

Speaking to LifeSite, Ellen Moynihan, general officer for the Laurentian Society, stated: “The ban on prayer meetings was a harsh blow for everyone on committee. It was rather discouraging to receive a second impediment to worship amidst the already-existing lockdown restrictions on public prayer gatherings.”

Moynihan continued, “However, it was a unanimous agreement amongst our society committee members that narrow is the gate and small is the way that leadeth unto life, as our Lord himself told us. We continue to trust with great hope.”

Catholic commentator and barrister Maria Steen told The Irish Catholic, “The CSC’s attempts to delimit the cultural expression of a Catholic cultural society is, in effect, cultural repression.”


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