ACP expresses solidarity with Fr Tony Flannery
The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) is disturbed that Fr Tony Flannery, a founding member of the Association, is being ‘silenced’. We believe that such an approach, in its individual focus on Fr Flannery and inevitably by implication on the members of the Association, is an extremely ill-advised intervention in the present pastoral context in Ireland.
We affirm in the strongest possible terms our confidence in and solidarity with Fr Flannery and we wish to make clear our profound view that this intervention is unfair, unwarranted and unwise. The issues surfaced by the ACP since its foundation less than two years ago and by Tony Flannery as part of the leadership team are not an attack on or a rejection of the fundamental teachings of the Church. Rather they are an important reflection by an association of over 800 Irish priests – who have given long service to the Catholic Church in Ireland – on issues surfacing in parishes all over the country.
While some reactionary fringe groups have contrived to portray our association as a small coterie of radical priests with a radical agenda, we have protested vehemently against that unfair depiction. We are and we wish to remain at the very heart of the Church, committed to putting into place the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
Accordingly we wish to register our extreme unease and disquiet at the present development, not least the secrecy surrounding such interventions and the questions about due process and freedom of conscience that such interventions surface. At this critical juncture in our history, the ACP believes that this form of intervention – what Archbishop Diarmuid Martin recently called ‘heresy-hunting’ – is of no service to the Irish Catholic Church and may have the unintended effect of exacerbating a growing perception of a significant ‘disconnect’ between the Irish Church and Rome.
Brendan Hoban 086 6065055 Sean McDonagh 087 2367612 P.J. Madden 087 2208882