Catholic fear and loathing in our universities

Former chaplain says students are labelled ‘bigots’, ‘homophobes’ and ‘backward’ for being Catholic

By Claire Mc Cormack

Strong belief: Fr David Barrins in St Mary’s Church, Pope’s Quay, Cork City.

Strong belief: Fr David Barrins in St Mary’s Church, Pope’s Quay, Cork City.

CATHOLIC students are being silenced in our universities and labelled “bigots” and “homophobes” if they openly express their religion, a former chaplain at UCC has claimed.

In an interview with the Sunday Independent, Fr David Barrins said many third-level institutions are becoming increasingly “intolerant” towards Catholics, particularly if they have pro-life views.

“It’s discrimination and it keeps people silent by using very evocative terms like homophobic and bigot . . . it’s very hard to fight that because once you’re labelled, it seems to stick,” said Fr Barrins.

“There is a quiet fear and nobody wants to report it, simply because you can bash Catholics and it seems to be acceptable and that seems to be reinforced by a lot of the reports I get on these things over cups of tea.”

The 36-year-old Dominican friar said the trend is particularly highlighted by the lack of university societies that represent Catholic views.

“You’re a bigot if you’re a Catholic student or if you dissent from the prevailing orthodox. You have to keep your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself,” said Fr Barrins.

Earlier this year, a student pro-life society was refused recognition at the University of Limerick.

And last year, a Legion of Mary Society was suspended at the National University of Ireland in Galway.

However, at the time it was reported that NUI Galway suspended the society simply because controversial posters were in breach of their code of conduct.

The pro-life society in UL was rejected as it just didn’t get enough votes from the universities Council of Societies for approval.

Fr Barrins believes these societies, and others, are refused because they “clash” with “modern and liberal ideologies” on issues such as abortion and the family.

In the main, Irish universities do not have dedicated Catholic societies, instead they have a Christian Union or Laurentian Society representing all students who share a belief in Jesus.

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4 Responses to Catholic fear and loathing in our universities

  1. When secularism and Islam are almost the only two politically correct and approved attitudes at a large number of Irish universities, you really have to wonder what kind of future is in store for Ireland.


  2. kathleen says:

    The news of the Catholic Church coming out from Ireland just gets sadder and more depressing by the day!
    That such a faithful heroic Catholic nation, an island of saints, that suffered so much and fought so hard to preserve her Catholic Faith and identity; who has brought heavenly blessings upon countless millions of people, and sent more holy missionaries to evangelise other lands than any other country, and is now throwing her “pearl of great price” to be trodden on by the godless, secular world… is a tragedy of enormous proportions.


  3. Daniel L says:

    “The Islamic societies have huge support and that’s great,” said Fr Barrins



  4. toadspittle says:

    “Fr Barrins accepts that at one time the Catholic view was “the only view being heard”, but he believes “a lack of plurality on every campus” is unacceptable.”
    Which Catholic view, presumably, Father Barrins regarded as unacceptable.
    He’s dead right about plurality, though. Without it, we are totalitarian.
    It’s just the same old story: the ones with power bully the ones without. The Church, it seems, is without power these days in Ireland.
    Next year it might be different. You never know.


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