Provincial Leadership Team of the Irish Redemptorists issue statement
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.