Ireland’s Redemptorists have said they are “deeply saddened at the breakdown in communication” between their colleague Fr Tony Flannery and Rome’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
Flannery was removed from public ministry last February by the CDF
pending the outcome of its inquiries into views he expressed in the
Redemptorists’ Reality magazine.
In a strong statement last night,
the Redemptorists said “we do understand and support his efforts to
listen carefully to and at times to articulate the views of people he
encounters in the course of his ministry”.
They felt “immense
regret that some structures or processes of dialogue have not yet been
found in the church which have a greater capacity to engage with
challenging voices from among God’s people, while respecting the key
responsibility and central role of the CDF”.
Fr Flannery told a
press conference in Dublin yesterday he had been threatened with
excommunication by the CDF for refusing to recant his more liberal views
on church teachings concerning women priests, contraception and
‘Reminiscent of Inquisition’
Actions against him by the CDF had been “frightening, disproportionate and reminiscent of the Inquisition”, he said
response to CDF queries was not accepted last September and he was
ordered not to attend the agm of the Association of Catholic Priests
(ACP) in November.
He was on the ACP leadership team and attended the
agm so as to support its independence, he said. He has stepped down
temporarily from his ACP role and “taken advice under both canon and
civil law” to defend his rights.
The ACP yesterday affirmed “in
the strongest possible terms” its support for Fr Flannery. It believed
he was being targeted as “part of a worldwide effort to negate the
influence of independent priests’ associations in Austria, USA, Germany,
Also at yesterday’s press conference was Fr
Helmut Schuller of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative. He was “very
surprised they [CDF] came down on Tony and on Ireland”.
the “lack of basic rights and respect for personal conscience” in the