Fr. Iggy O’Donovan says ‘goodbye’ to Drogheda
Extract from Fr Iggy O’Donovan’s farewell homily at Drogheda
I cannot leave here today without making some reference to a distinguished colleague of mine in the priesthood. I speak of Fr Tony Flannery. If I had not been made aware first hand of the details of this case I could not have given it credence. Even hardened veterans are shaken by the murkiness of the devious world of ecclesiastical politics. How has it come to this, that a great and good priest like Tony, who has dedicated his life to the preaching of the Gospel is persecuted with a zeal that is as pathological as the paranoia that feeds it?? How has it come to this, that intolerant and extreme right wingers – encouraged apparently by certain authorities, and career-orientated priests can meet in solemn conclave to determine who is guilty of what these people label heresy? How has it come to this that sincere thinking Catholics are walking away from our Church believing that the battle for sane Catholicism is lost?
I still believe and am strongly of the conviction that Catholicism is compatible with modern culture. I deeply welcome the arrival of Pope Francis. So we dream on. I cling to my foolish dream when to paraphrase the words of the late Fr George Tyrell, himself a victim of oppression, “when the Catholic people represented by their bishops and their Pope will assemble not to decide and impose points of theology, ethics and politics under the threat of excommunication, but to proclaim the gospel of God’s Kingdom upon earth as it was proclaimed by Jesus Christ; to preach unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, charity in all things”