Irish hierarchy won’t respond to call for local synod

Suspended Irish Redemptorist Fr Tony Flannery wants a synod of the Irish church, but says the Irish hierarchy hasn’t wanted to know.

Writing on his blog after the synod on the family in Rome, Fr Flannery noted that Pope Francis sees the synodal process as the pattern for the whole church.

Fr Flannery quipped that this is another example of Francis “stealing the [Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland’s] best ideas.

“We [the ACP] have been calling for a synod of the Irish Church for the past five years,” Fr Flannery said.

“And I find it ironic that the two Bishops Martin, who are now so enthusiastic about the process they have been through in Rome, showed no interest whatever in our proposal, and wouldn’t even meet and talk to us about it.”

Fr Flannery was referring to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, who both went to the synod in Rome.

Fr Flannery said he was pleased at the synod’s final document, even though it didn’t contain everything he had hoped for.

“It left issues sufficiently alive for Francis to say further on them when he produces a document.

“And judging by his final statement to the synod on Saturday evening, which I loved, his document could be really interesting, maybe even on the same scale as Evangelii Gaudium.”

In 2012, Fr Flannery was suspended from public ministry by the Congregation of the Faith (CDF) for his views on women priests, homosexuality and contraception.

Fr Flannery said the big problem with the synod on the family was the absence of women as voters.

He said voting was clearly not restricted to the ordained as one religious brother who isn’t a priest was a voting member at the synod.

This was another example of the Church keeping “women in their place”, “subservient with no input into decision-making”, he said.

“Unfortunately, this is the one area in which Francis is particularly weak, and I have no doubt that the unequal position of women in the Church is going to be the big stumbling block for the foreseeable future.”


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