Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Prelates have no plan to halt Mass by suspended priest

Ireland’s bishops are likely to ignore plans by ‘silenced’ priest Fr Tony Flannery to celebrate a public Mass on January 22.

Redemptorist Fr Flannery, who has been out of ministry since 2012, has announced on his website that he intends to disregard the ban and celebrate his 70th birthday, which will be on January 18, with a Mass in Killimordaly Community Centre in Kiltullagh, Co. Galway. 

Fr Flannery was suspended from ministry after the publication of articles in Reality magazine, which questioned the origins of the priesthood and suggested that Christians other than priests can celebrate the Eucharist.

Asked to clarify his position by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, he baulked at requests that he clarify that he accepts Church teaching on the Eucharist, replying only that he has no difficulty in believing “that Jesus is really and truly present when we celebrate the Eucharist”. 

Canon law

Under canon law, bishops are “guardians of all liturgical life”, responsible for regulating and safeguarding liturgy in their dioceses, where priests are only permitted to celebrate Mass if in good standing with the Church. 

The centre is in Clonfert diocese, under the jurisdiction of Bishop John Kirby, who will be in Rome during the Irish hierarchy’s ad limina visit when the Mass takes place. 

On being directed to the Catholic Communication Office by Dr Kirby’s office, however, The Irish Catholic was told “the Redemptorist Congregation is the ecclesiastical authority for Father Flannery”.

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