Dissident Irish priest censured by Vatican

Inside St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City        Photo: Hutdog83

Inside St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City Photo: Hutdog83

Listen

Michael Enright in conversation with Father Tony Flannery, Redemptorist Priest, founder of the Association of Catholic Priests of Ireland, writer -- and a priest on the outs with the Vatican.

For 39 years Tony Flannery (below) has been a priest of the the Redemptorist Order, in Ireland. He has done many of the things priests do ... celebrate mass, hear confession, administer last rites, baptise babies, counsel sinners and console the bereft. 

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In addition to the practical pastoral duties he agreed to undertake, Tony Flannery has written about faith, morality and religion in the modern world. He has published 6 books and written for numerous publications. 

By all accounts, Tony Flannery is a man of the cloth, a man of the people and a man who pays close attention to his own conscience.Tony Flannery is also a priest at odds with the most powerful body in the Vatican, next to the Pope of course, The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

In earlier times, it was known as The Inquisition. Nowadays, the Congregation, which was once headed by Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI, spends much of its time rooting out heresy, controversy and any hint of straying from the official line of the Church. 

Awhile back, the Congregation turned its attention to Tony Flannery, primarily for his opinons about the nature of the priesthood, whether women could be priests and a number of quarrels with the Church's stance on matters relating to sexuality. The fact that Tony Flannery was a founder of the Association of Priests and a fierce critic of the way the Church had handled the sex abuse tragedy in Ireland may have also alerted the Congregation to Father Flannery.

The Congregation, after some "investigation and negotiation", ordered Father Flannery to stop administering the sacraments, cease publication of his writings, avoid the media and formally and publicly agree to a certain set of statements about his acceptance and endorsement of Church teachings on the priesthood, sexuality and the ultimate authority of the Church in interpreting the word of God. 

Late in January, Father Flannery publicly suggested that if he was to agree to the demands of the Congregation, he would be unable to look himself in the mirror. He spoke to Michael Enright from Galway, Ireland.


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