Rebel priest Fr Tony Flannery wants papal nuncio, Archbishop Charles Browne, removed

Rebel Redemptorist priest, Tony Flannery, has called for the papal nuncio to be removed from his post.

Rebel priest Fr Tony Flannery wants papal nuncio, Archbishop Charles Browne, removed

Fr Flannery, who is forbidden to minister as a priest, has described the papal nuncio, Archbishop Charles Browne, as the single most destructive factor in the Irish church.

He said the church’s biggest problem and the one thing he would like to change, was the way bishops were appointed. It was why the church did not have proper leadership.

“I would love to see the present papal nuncio being removed because I think he is doing great damage to the Irish church by the policies by which he is appointing bishops,” he said.

Fr Flannery believes the Irish church needs a charismatic leader who would mobilise the laity because the future of the church depended on a massive lay involvement.

He said it was “very courageous” of the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to raise his case and that of other censored priests when he met the Pope last November.

The founder member of the Association of Catholic is hoping all of the cases will be dealt with before the pope’s visit to Ireland next year.

Fr Flannery was disciplined in 2012 by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) for the views he expressed on Catholic teachings.

Just over a week ago he marked his 70th birthday by celebrating Mass in public at a community centre near where he lives in East Galway.

He knew that people felt he should not remain in the church because of his views, but he did not think so.

“None of us own the church. From my position, I am as entitled to be part of the community, and the community must be open to people of all views and all attitudes. Pope Francis is saying that day after day.

“So when people accuse me of fundamentally disagreeing with the church I say I am very much in tune with Pope Francis.”

He would still have things to say about the church even if he was allowed to minister again, he said on RTÉ radio.

As a young man knowing what he knew now he would not be part of an institution that discriminated so blatantly against women. And he feels he has missed out in not being able to marry. “But there you go. That’s life and you make choices.”

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