Vatican unwise – warns 800-strong Ireland priests’ group

A body of 800 priests in Ireland is disturbed over the Vatican’s silencing of one of its founding members for his liberal views.

As reported in CathNews, Redemptorist Fr Tony Flannery last week was asked by the Vatican to stop writing articles in the Redemptorists’ monthly magazine.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Fr Brendan Hoban, Fr Sean McDonagh, and Fr P J Madden, fellow leaders of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), said “We believe that such an approach, in its individual focus on Fr Flannery and inevitably by implication on the members of the Association, is an extremely ill-advised intervention in the present pastoral context in Ireland”.

The statement goes on to warn that the silencing of Fr Flannery is unfair, unwarranted and unwise.

The ACP believes that at this critical juncture in the Irish Church’s history “that this form of intervention – what Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (Archbishop of Dublin) recently called ‘heresy-hunting’ – is of no service to the Irish Catholic Church and may have the unintended effect of exacerbating a growing perception of a significant ‘disconnect’ between the Irish church and Rome”.

Flannery, who has written for the magazine for 14 years, is under investigation by the Vatican for his views, including those on artificial contraception, women priests and clerical celibacy.

He has been been advised by the Vatican to go to a monastery for a period to ‘pray and reflect’ on his situation with the hope he will return to ‘think with the church’.

In his homily on Holy Thursday, Pope Benedict warned the Church would not tolerate priests speaking out against Catholic teaching.


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