28Apr Statement concerning the reported lifting of sanctions on Fr. Sean Fagan

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) welcomes reports emanating from Rome that  all restrictions have been lifted from Marist priest, Fr Sean Fagan.

It has been a source of great unease to our members and of continuing shame and embarrassment to our Church that a priest and theologian who has made such a huge contribution to Gospel and to Church over very many years would not be regarded as a priest ‘in good standing’.

If, as the reports suggest, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has removed restrictions on Fr Fagan ‘some months ago’ the ACP contends that the CDF and the Marist Congregation not publicising this development compounds the injustice.

Statements welcoming the lifting of restrictions on Fr Fagan by the Marist Order, the CDF and the Irish Catholic bishops are the least that might be expected.

The ACP notes that the decision of the CDF, according to reports, was influenced by pressure brought to bear through the efforts of friends and colleagues of Fr Fagan, and from the Marist Congregation.

The ACP believes that a concerted effort by the orders and congregations, supported by the Irish bishops, could lead to the lifting of similar restrictions on other members of the ACP.

Clarification from the Provincial of the Marists.

I note the Association of Catholic Priests statement on your website in relation to Fr.Sean Fagan and also the content of Fr Sean McDonagh’s interview on RTE on the 29th April 2014.   The impression given in both of these is that all restrictions imposed upon Fr Sean Fagan have now been lifted.  This is not the case.

For the purposes of accuracy, the possibility of further sanctions against Fr. Sean has been removed. These included the loss of priestly faculties and dismissal.    This is to be welcomed.

The restrictions dealing with the circulation of Fr. Sean’s book, “What Happened to Sin” remain and those forbidding Fr. Sean to publish or otherwise propagate material against the views of the Catholic Church as taught by the magisterium remain.

The Marist Fathers will continue to make every effort to deal fairly with these issues.

Thank you.

David  Corrigan sm

12 Responses

  1. Wilfrid Harrington, O.P.

    Perhaps the news is not as promising as might seem.
    It appears that there are reservations. It is the best one might expect from the ‘generosity’ of the CDF. It still is vindication of a true-hearted moral theologian, who has helped and comforted so many people. I am happy for my colleague and friend, Sean Fagan.

  2. kay mcginty

    That is absolutely wonderful news regarding Fr. Sean Fagan, which I heard on Morning Ireland just now. Fr. McDonagh was excellent in what he said, its a wake up call to the bishops here. maybe now we can live in hope that the restrictions on the other stalwart priests who have been silenced will be lifted too.

  3. Tommy Murphy

    This is very welcome news.
    Like Kay I would like to compliment Sean McDonagh for his report on Morning Ireland of this event and his appeal to the Irish bishops to take an active role in leading our church now.
    The time for fear and silence is surely over with Francis at the helm.
    I would hope the ACP, seeing that the Bishops won’t talk to them, will soon move in the direction of bringing their pastoral and theological experience and expertise direct to Rome and to a meeting with Pope Francis.
    He needs to hear the truth about the crisis in the church in Ireland.
    Inviting him to come over and pretend all is well is just a nonsense.
    It might suit politicians (before an election) and bishops (before the next wave of reports on abuse surface) but it will have no long term benefit for the renewal of faith among our people.
    Hearing that an elderly man, who gave his life to serving the Gospel, has been deemed ‘a priest in good standing’ while wonderful news, is truly pathetic, and hardly the best backdrop to encouraging young people to consider priesthood this weekend. If this is how we treat good men like Sean, little wonder Irish clergy are rapidly disappearing.

  4. Paddy Ferry

    This is great news and long, long overdue. Perhaps we can hope for justice now for the other silenced priests.

  5. Kay Mulhall csb

    Great News this morning .Thank God Fr.Sean Fagan is vindicated and not before time ! It was wonderful to hear Sean Mc Donagh on Morning Ireland. He came across as passionate ,prophetic ,and fearless in his
    condemnation of the treatment of this elderly Theologian and others by the CDF . We can only hope that Pope Francis will continue to make a difference and that justice will be done for those who are suffering a similar situation of injustice .
    Why should anyone be condemned for speaking the truth in love ?

  6. Joe O'Leary

    Listening to Sean McDonagh now — packs a lot into a few words!

  7. Paddy Ferry

    Anybody got a link to Sean McDonagh on Morning Ireland?

  8. Association of Catholic Priests



  9. Eddie Finnegan

    Delighted to finally find Fr Sean McDonagh on yesterday’s Morning Ireland. As Joe says, Sean covered the ground superbly in the short slot he had. He’s right to point to Pope Francis’s age. There’s nothing that Francis has achieved in the past thirteen months that couldn’t be reversed in a fortnight by the sort of successor who, according to Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, has been stage whispering: “We made a mistake!” or “What can it be that this little Argentine pretends?”
    So, is that the sort of successor the Irish Bishops’ Conference is waiting for?
    Or are they just keeping their powder dry ‘ar eagla na heagla’?
    Meanwhile, though Sean or Brendan or one or two others may speak ably on behalf of their fellow priests, why do we hear so little about so much from so few of those fellow priests? It’s not only the bishops who believe in observing solemn silence on their home turf.

  10. Paddy Ferry

    Thanks for the link. Sean McDonagh was great. We must pray for Francis’ good health and safety and that he lives at least 10 years.

  11. Joe O'Leary

    It is a very unnerving situation that all the hopes of Catholics for church renewal along the lines of Vatican II, a new springtime of the Spirit, etc., depend so utterly on the whims and the health of one man. Sean McDonagh is right to stress the urgency of bishops stepping up to reinforce the papal indications and insist on a more collegial church. It they miss this window of opportunity we may find ourselves back in a a catholic Ice Age worse than anything experienced so far.

  12. Shaun

    It is very strange that just as Fr. Sean Fagan is released from his shackles, a good Deacon in England has been silenced by his own bishop: Deacon Nick Donnelly of Protect the Pope blog, who blogged freely since 2010. Not any more.