21Jan Irish Redemptorists are ‘deeply saddened’

The following is a statement from the Provincial Leadership Team of the Irish Redemptorists:

Sunday 20th January 2013

The Irish Redemptorist Community is deeply saddened by the breakdown in communication between Fr. Tony Flannery C.Ss.R. and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Fr. Tony Flannery is highly regarded and respected by many in Ireland, both within and outside of the Redemptorist Congregation. He has been an effective parish missioner all over the country since the mid 1970s and from this context has raised matters which he believes need greater dialogue, debate and consideration. Within the Dublin Province of the Redemptorists there exists a very lively spirit of debate and dialogue; we are and over many years have been, committed to mature discourse. Although not all Redemptorists would accept Fr. Flannery’s views on all matters, we do understand and support his efforts to listen carefully to and at times to articulate the views of people he encounters in the course of his ministry.

As Irish Redemptorists we appreciate the difficulties this situation has created for others, especially for our Superior General in Rome, Fr. Michael Brehl. He has made every possible effort to resolve the matters which have emerged between the CDF and Fr. Flannery.

Our Redemptorist Constitutions require us to be obedient to God’s call to us as religious in the Church. Following our founder, St. Alphonsus, for whom thinking with the Church was a important criterion of missionary service, a further key element of our Church mandate is to listen and stay close to God’s people; to engage in missionary dialogue with the world while endeavouring to understand people’s anxious questionings; to try to discover in these how God is truly being revealed.

It is of immense regret that some structures or processes of dialogue have not yet been found in the Church which have a greater capacity to engage with challenging voices from among God’s people, while respecting the key responsibility and central role of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

We sincerely hope and pray that even at this late stage, some agreed resolution can be found to this matter.

19 Responses

  1. Richard O'Donnell

    Fr Tony is, indeed, one more of many voices, crying out in the wilderness. He walks in the footsteps of such biblical giants as Isaiah and John the Baptist.

    “Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.” (George Carlin). “For the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears hardly hear and their eyes dare not see.”(Mt.13:15). How sad!

  2. M Manning

    Thank you, Tony Flannery, for your courage. I have no doubt it will be punished by the Vatican, while it is admired by many Catholics.

  3. Anne

    I read about Rev. Flannery’s in the NYT today. His courage and willingness to discuss ideas in the face of threats from the hierarchy is to be commended. Having recently returned to the Church I love, I struggle with the inequities and intolerance surrounding issues of women, and homosexuality. My children can see the good in the Church, but are learning that we are not called to faith with closed eyes, but open minds that question so a deeper faith may result. We spent a long time discussing Rev. Flannery tonight. They believe that God calls us to think and question. Thank you, Rev. Flannery, for being such a wonderful example of this.

  4. Mary Wood

    ‘Saddened’ – and regretful.
    .
    Is this what passes for ‘brotherhood’ in the Redemptorist congregation? Come on, chaps, you’re not blind and deaf. You’ve seen the way the Roman authorities have been acting for some years now, and they continue to act. Do you really want to align with such suppression?
    .
    Please, as a body, come out in support of your brother Fr Tony Flannery. You’ve all been confirmed? Now’s the time to prove your mettle.
    .
    ACP – well done. Don’t falter.

  5. Jim Sheil, Cleveland, OH USA

    We need prophets to help us see what is necessary. The institutions do not like them and feel threatened. So it has always been, and will probably be. I am both proud to be a priest in the company of such courageous priests as Tony, and also humbled by their courage. I m not a religious, so I do not understand the reactions of his order and other orders in similar situations. But I wish there were more support. I respect and admire Tony and wish him the best. We need guys like him.

  6. Frank Graham

    The statement from the Redemptorist Congregation is couched in very diplomatic language! As Mary Wood has stated they do seem to me to be aligning with suppression. Even if some of the Redemptorists do not agree with Tony Flannery (and, I suspect, that many of them do actually agree with him!) why cannot they see that, agreeing or not, this treatment of Tony Flannery is totally unjust, unChristian and, dare I say, sinful– and why can’t they say so.

  7. ger gleeson

    Please please, Irish Redemptorists you must unequivocally support your Brother Priest in his moment of torment. This is not a time for diplomacy. It is a time for a clear message to the CDF, that their treatment of Fr Tony is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. There are many Priests both within the Redemptorists community and outside, who think and preach as Fr Tony does. Are they all to be excommunicated? Again Fr Tony and others are working at the coalface of our Church, and the CDF appear to live light years away from their daily experiences.
    Our Church has been crucified for almost two decades, not just because of those in religion who abused our sisters and brothers, but more importantly because of the silence of the Institutional Church. This is the Church who has now threatened Fr Tony and others. CDF YOU ARE A DISGRACE AND YOU WILL ANSWER TO GOD. Please Redemptorists, do your duty and support your Brother in whatever way possible. It is not just Fr Tony’s priesthood that is a stake, but the very existence of our Church in this country.

  8. Elias Nasser

    To Irish Redemptorists: “deeply saddened” is not enough, you MUST stand by brother priest and reject the bullying coming from the CDF.

    Refuse to pass on any correspondence to Fr Flannery, make the new nuncio who hails from the CDF, deliver the CDF’s messages personally.

    What of the new bishop of Armargh? Where is the sense of outrage?

  9. Fr Jim Sheil, CLE, OH, USA

    I just read Tony’s article in the Irish Times, as well as some of the comments.. Obviously for some it is much more important to obey the institution’s self-protecting laws than to be faithful to one’s conscience and open to the Holy Spirit. I sense similar situations ahead for many of us. Perhaps this might be some of what Jesus meant when he said, “If anyone wants to be my disciple let him take up his cross everyday and follow me”. We have to do what we have to do. I fully support Tony.

  10. Darlene Starrs

    I think a clear message needs to be sent to Rome. Take some lessons from a democratic handbook and use the methods that challenge the powers that be………..boycotts, demonstrations, prayer and candlelight vigils. Let Rome know, you won’t have your priests punished, you won’t have your dignities squashed, and you will be listened to! Now it depends, how many Catholics are willing to stand with you!

  11. Joe O'Leary

    Mealy mouthed Redemptorists are playing footsie with immoral abuse of power.

  12. Charlie Meagher

    Source: http://www.ascensioncatholic.net/

    The document on the Church in the Modern World #16 stated clearly the important role of conscience in the life of the Christian.
    Commenting on paragraph #16 of the above document, theologian Fr. Joseph Razinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) wrote in 1968:
    Commenting on paragraph #16 of the above document, theologian Fr. Joseph Razinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) wrote in 1968:
    Over the pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed above all else, if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. This emphasis on the individual, whose conscience confronts him with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even of the official church, also establishes a principle in opposition to increasing totalitarianism.
    “In the final analysis, conscience is inviolable and no person is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his/her conscience, as the moral tradition of the Church attests.” (Human Life in Our Day, U.S. Bishops Pastoral)

    Source: http://www.ascensioncatholic.net/

  13. Noel Clarke

    Headline ought read
    Irish Redemptorists are “deeply silenced”

  14. Nick Young

    The silence of the Bishops in Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland says it all really. They’re not prepared to speak out for fear of their jobs. They are happy to write in National Newspapers with the signatures of a 1000 priests,and dare to presume to speak in the name of the laity, taking our voice away ! Full marks to Tony Flannery’s superiors supporting him. It would be nice to see a message of support on the Redemptosrist UK website. Where will it all end . . . . . .

  15. Dominic MacCarthy

    Rev Tony Flannery can believe and say what he wants, but if he doesn’t believe in key elements of the Catholic faith and moral teaching, I don’t understand why he continues in the priesthood. It’s dishonest.

    He wants to go along with liberal secular opinion on key issues like women’s ordination – fair enough – but don’t pretend to be prophetic or courageous – simply join the Church of Ireland, the Episcopalians or almost any Protestant sect, where you will find opinions similar to your own.

    If the Redemptorists support Fr Flannery, they won’t be getting any of my money in future. I will support those orders and those priests who are faithful to Peter, rather than following their own whims.

  16. June McAllister

    When Teresa of Avila was riding in a cart with her sisters, the cart turned over. She is attributed with saying – ‘Well Lord, if you treat your friends like this, it is no wonder you have so few of them’.
    She didn’t give in.

  17. Marie Barry

    At Mass this evening in St. James’s Church in Dublin 8 – Fr. John our parish priest asked for prayers and support for Fr. Tony Flannery – well Fr. Tony – you have both; going by the response and applause that ensued. May God bless you on this arduous path that has been presented to you.

  18. Joe Moffitt

    Our Church has rotted from the inside out.
    Only the Rebels can save us now.
    Are our Pope and his Exorcists the only Holy people left in the Vatican now?

  19. Rui Santiago cssr

    My brothers, with deep hope and gratitude. We carry on… With you, from Portugal (at the moment in Guine-Bissau, Africa), my dear Tony, in prayer and liberating action.


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