Fr Flannery and the Vatican

The public read with dismay the media accounts of Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery being muzzled by the Vatican. He has done much good in his life.

Many would prefer if the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith confined their antics and meagre energy to chasing down those clerics who have raped children. The CDF was formerly known as the Roman and Universal Inquisition. The speciality of that house was mutilation, torture and burning at the stake those who held different opinions.

Three items in Fr Flannery’s writings seem to have been particularised. There is a perception among an exponential number of people that asking questions and seeking explanations is more reprehensible than sexually abusing children in the eyes of too many senior clerics.

Those who are even remotely wired to reality will know that there is all but universal rejection of church teaching on contraception. Why keep flogging a dead horse? As regards the ordination of women, the public are aware that all humans are equal in the sight of God. Many are equally aware that Mother Church does not practice what it preaches. We are now the only profession worldwide closed to women. In 1960 there were 80 ordinations at Maynooth. In 2007 only four.

Celibacy is seen nowadays as selfish and lazy and not as a value or sacrifice. It is seen simply as control.

Absolute monarchs and dictators are perceived as old hat. They are ignored. This does not impinge on the Vatican.

There is a hope that Fr Flannery’s writings are not being used as a flag of convenience in order to put the boot into him because he was a founder member of that great Satan, the Association of Catholic Priests. Many wish the ACP will get cracking and stand by him. The hope is that this is not selective “justice”.

Many wish also that his fellow priests will stand by him. This will not happen, by and large. It is widely believed that lucrative appointments and ludicrous titles mean more to far too many clerics that the great virtue of justice.

V Rev Joseph McGuane

Church St

Youghal.

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