A Question of Conscience

A Question of Conscience

By Tony Flannery

In February 2012 Tony Flannery, a Redemptorist and founder member of the Associ­ation of Catholic Priests in Ireland, bestselling author and regular columnist with Reality magazine, was informed that the Vatican watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), was unhappy with some of his writings relating to the priestly ministry in the Church. Tony was summoned to Rome and told that until he revised his views he would not be allowed to minister as a priest or have any dealings with media. He was to step down as leader of the ACP.

Although he offered a statement of clarification and it seemed as if the matter were closed, a few months later the CDF made further demands that were unacceptable to him. He was required to issue a statement that he accepted all the moral teachings of the Church and that women could never be ordained priests. The CDF forbade him to return to priestly ministry, or be involved with the ACP, until he agree to publish this statement. He was put under ‘formal precept of obedience’ not to attend the AGM of the ACP (He did attend it.).

During the time in question, the greater part of a year, the CDF never communicated directly with Tony Flannery. Documentation came through Michael Brehl, leader of the Redemptorists. It was on typed A4 pages without heading, stamp or signature. The CDF warned him about the need for total secrecy and threatened with excommunication and dismissal from the Redemptorists.

Tony Flannery became convinced that he would never be allowed to return to ministry and that the real target of the CDF was his role in the Association of Catholic Priests. He went public on the matter in January 2013. A Question of Conscience, which reproduces the CDF documentation relating to this case, provides conclusive proof of the Vatican’s determination to stamp out what it regards as dissent, no matter how unjust and devious the methods it uses.

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Unheard Story by Pádraig McCarthy

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By Pádraig McCarthy

The 2009 publication of The Murphy Report — the commission of investigation into the handling of allegations of sexual abuse of children in Dublin archdiocese — shook the people of Ireland to the core. The report harshly criticised Church personnel for not responding effectively to allegations of abuse and for not prioritising the welfare of children. The reputation of the Catholic Church had never been so low.

Commentators, journalists and even clerics praised the report for vindicating the claims of the abused and acknowledging the pain they had suffered. Immediately it seemed to achieve ‘infallible’ status. Critics demanded harsh treatment of the ‘villains’, who had ‘facilitated’ the abuse of children, who had ‘covered up’ the scandal.
The Murphy Report was devastating. Clergy of Dublin archdiocese had no voice, as the tsunami of public opinion overwhelmed them. When a number of bishops resigned it was seen as an admission of guilt.

In Unheard Story, Pádraig McCarthy challenges some of the assumptions and assessments of The Murphy Report. He puts the response of the diocese to priests who abused children into the context of the times. The diocese claimed that its personnel were on a ‘learning curve’ about child sexual abuse during the period from 1975 to the late 1990s. This was rejected by the commission of investigation but the author finds it entirely reasonable in the light of the experience of other agencies and other countries. He also contends that the generally accepted assessment that there was a widespread cover-up is not in accordance with the facts.
Unheard Story asks simply that justice and fairness should apply to all the parties involved.

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Who will break the Bread for us?

Who will break the Bread for us?

Disappearing Priests

by Brendan Hoban

In 1982, 46 priests of Killala diocese gathered for their annual retreat. That was 30 years ago. In less than 20 years time, in 2032, when we will be celebrating 1600 years since the coming of St Patrick, the statistics indicate that the number of priests in Killala will be six. Who will break the bread for us? isn’t, of course, the only question that needs to be asked as our Church faces a difficult future but it is of immediate and critical concern. And unless we do a Eucharistic famine will prevail in Ireland as parishes without Mass will lose their focus and their resilience. Without priests we have no Mass and without Mass we have no Church.

For the first time in many centuries we are facing the collapse of a scaffolding of worship that was sustained even during centuries of persecution.

Unlike other fundamental questions we need to ask ourselves as a Church, Who will break the bread for us?. Our priests are disappearing and we need to do something about it. Now.

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Season of Advent & Christmas Missal

Season of Advent & Christmas Missal

With the ongoing difficulties being experienced by so many people with the “new translation” of the Roman Missal the ACP has decided to highlight the fact that there was, and is, a ready alternative available.

The then ICEL had revised the missal and their draft (the 1998 Missal) was approved by all English speaking conferences of bishops. Sadly it did not get approval from the Vatican and with the new regulations they enforced we have ended up with the current missal and all the problems it causes for celebrants and congregations alike.  These problems have been well rehearsed and point to poor grammar, poor syntax, false cognates, and despite the new regulation of strict literal translation even omissions from the original Latin text.

To show that an alternative is available the ACP is making available the prayers for the Advent and Christmas seasons along with the Order of the Mass from the 1998 Missal.

We would welcome feedback about whether or not renewed pressure needs to be put on our bishops about the ongoing difficulties we are experiencing with the celebration of the Eucharist while using the “new” Roman Missal. We would also like to know if you regard the 1998 Missal as a viable alternative.

As the cost of printing and postage is expensive we request a donation of €20 from people in Ireland and €25 from people living elsewhere to cover printing, postage and packing.

Copies can be requested below or by contacting

Liamy Mac Nally, Sheeaune, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland
Cheques should be made payable to ‘Association of Catholic Priests’.
Requested; €20 for Ireland and €25 for all other places.

Price: €20.00

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‘Whistle- Blower’ (Life, Death, Hope and the Eight Amendment)

‘Whistle- Blower’   (Life, Death, Hope  and the Eight Amendment)

‘Whistle- Blower’   (Life, Death, Hope and the   Eight Amendment)

(By Padraig McCarthy)

The author, Pádraig McCarthy, is retired and living in Dublin.

He wants this book to speak for itself, and to contribute to more comprehensive and rational debate on how we legislate and care for every member of the human family.

PrintedbyLettertec 0214883370

The book should arrive from the printer about St Patrick’s Day.

The distribution is being done by Éist;

Single copy:        €5.

087 278 9390





A whistle-blower blows the whistle on matters of deep concern, not to cause trouble but to draw urgent attention to a matter which so far has not been properly addressed.

Ireland in 2018 prepares for a referendum on whether or not to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. It concerns the right to life of the unborn, the equal right to life of the mother, and the guarantee in the Amendment that the State would defend and vindicate those rights. It concerns what might replace the Amendment if repealed, and proposed legislation to follow.

Most debate has been on whether abortion will be made legal in Ireland, but the issue is wider. The aim of this book is to analyse aspects of the debate so far, and to “blow the whistle” on the areas where that debate so far has been inadequate or seriously defective. It suggests alternative ways of addressing the challenges.

It looks at the difficult dilemma facing a woman when her pregnancy brings crisis for whatever reason. There are factors from within the pregnancy and external to the pregnancy which are the reasons for it being a crisis. How can we work to replace desperation with hope? The support of friends, family and community help each of us through many difficulties in our lives, when all seems hopeless.

It blows the whistle on the political argument of the Taoiseach and others, and on words and phrases which can be seriously misleading. It blows the whistle on how the Citizens’ Assembly and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment let reference to the right to life vanish into thin air.

It blows the whistle on how the widespread debate may desensitise us to the vital reality of the issues: life and death, mother and child, desperation and hope. In short chapters, many sides of the issue are analysed.

The Final Whistle is blown on the world in which Ireland participates, how so much of the world has abandoned the hard-learned lessons of the twentieth century, and what we need to do about it.

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Padraig McCarthy

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  Signed copies of Tony Flannery’s new book ‘From the Outside’ available. Forward cheque for €15, payable to ACP, to Liamy Mac Nally, Sheeaune, Westport, Mayo.