Posted by nesaraaustralia ⋅ January 21, 2013 ⋅ Leave a Comment
By PATRICK COUNIHAN, IrishCentral.com Staff Writer
Published Sunday, January 20, 2013, 7:30 AMUpdated Sunday, January 20, 2013, 10:48 AM
Read more: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Irish-priest-to-break-silence-order-from-the-Vatican-at-Dublin-press-conference-187649861.html#ixzz2IZsApCj1
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Controversial Irish cleric Father Tony Flannery is to defy the Vatican
and break his silence on the campaign against him by Catholic Church
Father Flannery was silenced by the church last year over his advocacy of more open discussion on church teachings.
The New York Times reports that the 66-year-old was suspended by the Vatican after a series of public interviews.
He was told that he would only be allowed to return to ministry only
if he agreed to write, sign and publish a statement agreeing, among
other things, that women should never be ordained as priests and that he
would adhere to church orthodoxy on matters like contraception and
Speaking to the New York Times, Fr Flannery said: “How can I put my
name to such a document when it goes against everything I believe in.
“If I signed this, it would be a betrayal not only of myself but of
my fellow priests and lay Catholics who want change. I refuse to be
terrified into submission.”
A regular contributor to religious publications, Fr Flannery will make his case public at a Dublin news conference on Sunday.
Father Flannery’s religious superior, the Rev. Michael Brehl, was
instructed by the Vatican last year to remove Fr Flannery from his
ministry in County Galway.
The Rev. Brehl was also ordered to ensure that he did not publish any
more articles in religious or other publications or give interviews to
the news media.
In the letter, the Vatican objected in particular to an article published in 2010 in Reality, an Irish religious magazine.
The report says that in the article the Redemptorist priest, wrote
that he no longer believed that ‘the priesthood as we currently have it
in the church originated with Jesus’ or that he designated ‘a special
group of his followers as priests’.
He wrote: “It is more likely that some time after Jesus, a select and
privileged group within the community who had abrogated power and
authority to themselves, interpreted the occasion of the Last Supper in a
manner that suited their own agenda.”
Now Fr Flannery says the Vatican wants him specifically to recant the
statement and affirm that Christ instituted the church with a permanent
hierarchical structure and that bishops are divinely established
successors to the apostles.
He branded the church’s treatment of him as a ‘Spanish
Inquisition-style campaign’ and claimed it is symptomatic of a definite
conservative shift under Pope Benedict XVI.
Fr Flannery added: “I have been writing thought-provoking articles and books for decades without hindrance.
“This campaign is being orchestrated by a secretive body that refuses
to meet me. Surely I should at least be allowed to explain my views to
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