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St. Mary's Seminary at Oscott College
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Leading UK seminary denies allegations made by priest of existence of gay subculture

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NEW OSCOTT, England, October 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Oscott College in England is disputing claims from a former formation tutor that it enables a gay subculture at its seminary.

Father David Marsden, S.C.J., had written an open letter to the bishops of England, Scotland and Wales, saying he’d been terminated from his position at the leading English seminary for trying to uphold the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality, and pled with the bishops to clean up England’s seminaries for the sake of the seminarians there. 

Marsden also said the seminary rector, who fired him, knowingly admits and allows homosexual men to the seminary, despite Church teaching on homosexuality and Church directives against ordaining homosexual men.

St. Mary’s, Oscott in New Oscott, Birmingham, commonly known as Oscott College, is the Roman Catholic seminary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham in England, and one of the Church’s three seminaries in England and Wales.

Oscott College said via a statement that Marsden’s letter “offers a distorted and false picture of life and formation at St Mary’s College.”

“The way of life, and the programme of formation at Oscott seminary, are faithful to the teaching of the Catholic Church,” according to the statement, covered in a Catholic Herald report.

“The Archbishop of Birmingham, The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, and the seminary trustees, have full confidence in the Rector and his staff,” the statement continued.

The Vatican has declared more than once the Church’s prohibition on ordaining homosexual men.

In 2005, the Vatican gave instruction on the question of homosexuality and the priesthood which states: “The Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’” 

A 1961 directive signed by Pope John XXIII states that, “Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.” It also said that seminarians that “sinned gravely against the sixth commandment with a person of the same or opposite sex” were to be “dismissed immediately.”

A seminarian who attends Oscott and made headlines last month for helping to save a baby through a 40 Days for Life vigil, later getting to meet the child, had offered a different view of the seminary during an interview on meeting the baby he helped save.

Deacon David Donaghue had told LifeSiteNews he was inspired by the “great culture of life” he found at Oscott College and in the “sound moral theology” taught there, guest speakers, and the seminarians and priests on staff who take part in 40 Days for Life.

Marsden summarized observations from having spent a year at the seminary into five points in his letter to the bishops.

He said that some seminarians are sent for psychological assessment as part of the selection process to a facility whose director appears open to admitting homosexual men to the program, and that some English and Welsh bishops are happy to admit openly gay men to the seminary.

Marsden also cited a spiritual director who’d admitted he was sexually attracted to young men and another who viewed homosexual priests as a great idea.

He also alleged that the archbishops of both Birmingham (Bernard Longley) and Westminster (Vincent Nichols) have been made aware of these issues and “seem to prefer to ignore them.” 

Marsden said seminary Rector Canon David Oakley would not stand up to the homosexual-accepting bishops on the issue of prohibiting the admission of homosexual men as seminarians.  

Oakley had told the Tablet in response, “Father Marsden was asked to step down from the formation team for a number of reasons. As some of these are subject to legal review I am unable to comment at the moment.”

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