Father Tony Flannery – Silenced by Rome – Speaks up – new Book
Patsy McGarry – The Irish Times 9/12/2013
Silenced Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery said in Dublin tonight he believed the best way he could continue to serve the Church was by bringing into the light of day “the arcane and unjust processes that are the modus operandi of the Vaticanwatchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).”
This was particularly the case as he had “given up hope of being allowed to minister as a priest again.”
Fr Flannery was silenced, removed from public ministry and threatened with excommunication by the Vatican last year because of his views on priesthood and Catholic teaching in the area of human sexuality.
Speaking tonight in the Royal Hibernian Academy at the launch of his new book A Question of Conscience by broadcaster Bill O’Herlihy, he said “it seemed to me that we had reached the end of the road. I was forbidden to minister as a priest and the conditions of returning to ministry were such that I could not comply with them without compromising my integrity.”
Up to then “I had remained silent and observed the strictures of secrecy imposed by the Church authorities. My decision to go public was made slowly and carefully and for a very specific reason,” he said.
A Question of Conscience outlines how he was summoned to Rome in June 2012 and told that unless he revised his view that the church should be open to discussing subjects he raised, he would not be allowed minister as a priest and would have to step aside from his leadership role with the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP).
Having written for the Redemptorist’s magazine Reality for 14 years, Fr Flannery was surprised to find himself suddenly coming to the attention of the CDF. It was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.