A Response to the news about Tony Flannery

I arrived into the Parochial House after spending some time with Jesus in the Garden, It was Holy Thursday night. He didn’t know what He was facing. Maybe the ordeal of arrest, false accusation, condemnation, suffering, and death! For he had continued saying what the religious authorities did not want to hear. He had just given us the Eucharist, ordained Priesthood, His New Commandment ‘Love one another as I have loved you’, and His example of humble service. I picked up my iPad to read the Journal as I do at the end of each day, and there in-front of me was the headline, ‘Priest confirms that he is under Vatican investigation.’
I am saddened that Fr. Tony is now being censored. I also admit to feeling shock, anger, and a little fear. As a member of the ACP – like the other 900 plus – we too are now open to censorship or worse still being ‘silenced’.
While I may not always agree with what Fr. Tony says or believes, I still respect and defend his right to hold those views and express them. Is this not part of what it means to be Christian? Are we as a Catholic Church not mature enough to listen to other opinions? We may not be a democracy, but we are certainly not a totalitarian regime!
As a ‘Northerner’, I ask ‘can our Church not learn lessons from what has happened in this part of our homeland’? The terrible conflict was brought to an end through respecting other people’s opinions, other cultures, and other traditions. Resolution was through respectful dialogue.
As a Church and institution, we have witnessed many changes over the centuries to our credit. We have changed positions many times. Former ‘sacred cows’ were dumped on the scrap heap of misguided practices and now are bad memories. Some present ‘sacred cow’ ‘issues will change in time too. Many have already begun that great voyage. The argument for mandatory celibacy, for example, lost credence the day we accepted Anglican clergy into Catholic priesthood. Leadership is integral to Church to shepherd people socially, spiritually, and morally, and so our need to reflect. Perhaps in their thinking, the ‘Christi fideles laici’ have left us behind in many of these areas! Isn’t ‘Sensus Fidelium’ still the ultimate authority in Church teaching?
Censorship or ‘silencing’ is not a truly Christian way to encourage fidelity, resolve differences, or correct perceived errors in modern times. In fact, it can be counter –productive. It rarely has the desired effect in silencing alternative interpretations and opinions. It may force conformity, but seldom promotes truth or inner conversion. It may result in increased indifference and apathy among clergy and lay faithful.
Finally, my experience of growing up in the Northern conflict situation was that ‘one man’s hero was another man’s terrorist’. People like Tony Flannery may be our modern day prophets. We need both prophets and a new approach to resolving differences. Let us be a more listening leadership/Church and less reactionary.

Jimmy Mc Phillips. (Clogher).


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  1. robert m. hoatson says:

    The problem with Tony Flannery is that he believes in God. His faith tells him that what Jesus came to do is what all priests are ordained to do….tell the truth, rail against injustice, and take care of each other, with special emphasis on all who are down and out hungry, thirsty, etc).
    What goes on in Rome is not faith, nor spirituality, nor religion. It is bureaucracy, power, and authority run amok. And, Rome is the city Jesus would probably return to first to speak the words he spoke many years ago….”Blind fools. Hypocrites, etc.”
    The resemblance of Rome to the Gospel is purely coincidental. I hope the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland and the movement in Austria stay strong and determined.
    Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D. (former Fr. Bob)
    Co-founder and President
    Road to Recovery, Inc. (serving sexual abuse victims)
    Livingston, NJ, USA

  2. Mary O'Brien says:

    What a sad way to celebrate the Eucharist on Holy Thursday – using it to declare war with fellow priests. I am saddened beyond words that the great feast was used and abused in this way.
    Shame on all who are part of this dreadful act….’heresy hunting’ as it was described recently.
    I hope Tony finds peace and strength to stay true to his conscience and that he gets the support of his fellow priests at this very difficult time. He deserves nothing less.

  3. I want to re-assure Tony and send my heart-felt support to him. I feel a great sense of gratitude for his honesty, boldness and leadership in keeping alive the wild spirit of Jesus Christ.

  4. Dermot Finnegan says:

    I really am glad to see that the Vatican is taking positive action against those Priests, who in my opinion have done so much damage to the Church in this country.The one thing I cannot understand about these Priests is just what it was that inspired their vocations? Was it because they wanted to change the Church to their how they believe it should be,were they inspired by social injustices against less well off in society or are they disillusioned with the Catholic Priesthood as it is?If they really dont like the dogma ,doctrine or tradition of the Catholic Church why not just leave it.Im quite sure there would be a warm welcome in the Anglican Community. or whats left of it

  5. I, too, came home from Holy Thursday Mass last night, checked the news from home on the RTE website and when I read that Tony is being censored I felt sick and I still feel sick. Having taken part in this afternoon’s Good Friday liturgy I think I am feeling even more depressed. Tony, of course, has my heart-felt support too, whatever good that may be to him. However, the support of the 900+ members of the ACP will definitely be important to him. Who knows, this may be the chance for our bishops to make a name for themselves and stand up for Tony and the Association of Catholic Priests of Ireland.

  6. Ruthaliencorn says:

    I wish Fr Flannery and his family every blessing at Easter.
    His is one of the voices of the resurrection. Alleluia!
    Roy Donovan has said it all for me.

  7. Maeve Mc Mahon O.P. says:

    This is a sad time for the Irish Church- sad and frightening!
    I want to put into words, inadequate as they are, my desire to offer support at this painful time.
    Thank you most sincerely, Tony, for sticking your neck above the parapet! Maybe in my naivete, I believed that it was buttressed by the hundreds of us who supported you and followed your leadership and therefore you were safe. Alas, not so! — But you did offer a spark of light in the darkness and for that I’m deeply grateful.
    It’s particularly poignant that we all heard the news of you and fellow Redemptorist, Gerard Maloney on Holy Thursday.
    May you both know deep inner peace and may the Holy Spirit lead us all to freedom in truth.

  8. Gene Clarke says:

    One sure has to wonder who is the biggest “traitor” on the commeration of the Last Supper. In today’s world no institution that does not accept ctiticism and responsibility for it’s wrongdoing will survive very long. It is sad indeed that in the Catholic Church there is not even the basic right to “Freedom of Speech”. Father Tony is a voice of the truth and he probably has many supporters that are too afraid to voice their agreement out of fear of being silenced…..The Jesus that we think of so lovingly from the Last Supper would certainly not have silenced one of his disciples for questioning his words……
    How sad all of this is at what should be a time of joy…..”Unhappy Easter” indeed.

  9. Hello all!
    Remember the most important function of a priest is to say Mass and explain to the laity the truths of the faith. This truth never changes. It is not a priest’s role to provide a hostile union service for disaffected priests. If they do not wish to obey the Holy Father then do the honourable thing and join any one of several other Protestant sects that did the same thing about 500 years ago. when you decided to become a priest you understood the rules and requirments of Catholism, i understand Catholism is a very diffucult path to follow the other sects are easier , they are very democratic and provide a new sets of truths each year.

  10. Gerard Flynn says:

    It’s at times like this that the democratic culture of the Church of Ireland in its synodal form of government at national, diocesan and parochial level shows by way of contrast how unused we are in the RCC to hearing views that are different from our own and how such a system as ours may frequently lead to intolerance at the institutional level.
    Belief changes. Indeed it has to change and develop if it is to be a true articulation of how we currently understand human and divine realities. Part of that process is to hold current expressions of belief up to scrutiny on a continuous basis, to see whether they can be better formulated and expressed, or to see whether they still hold in the form in which we have enshrined them. That is not dissent. That is performing a fundamental theological and an ecclesial service.

  11. Adrian Egan says:

    A woman rang one of our redemptorist houses today to express her gratitude for Fr. Tony Flannery. She said that it was only because of him, and what he had done for her, that she was holding on to her faith, and her membership of the church, by the skin of her teeth. As a fellow redemptorist, I wish to express my support for Tony. He follows in the footsteps of St. Alphonsus by preaching good news to those on the margins, and to those who feel most abandoned. Silence him and you might as well silence us all. On the day that’s in it, I cannot help but feel that it’s a short step (or no step at all) from ‘silencing’ or ‘censoring’ someone to shouting ‘crucify him’!

  12. Tadhg Herbert CSsR says:

    I wish to offer my support and solidarity towards my fellow Redemptorist Tony Flannery. Have always admired his courage and his constant insistence on the need for renewal in the Church. I am disappointed and angry, but not surprised that Tony has been silenced. The renewal envisaged by the Vatican is a return to a clericalism that has already caused havoc both to the Church and society. Renewal will only take place when the whole people of God are given an opportunity to discuss and debate the issues facing the Church in today’s world. Thanks to Tony for keeping many of those issues alive over the years. Now that it is out in the open that he is under investigation hopefully we can continue to discuss these same issues.
    Tadhg Herbert

  13. Elaine O'Neill says:

    How pleased I am to see fellow clergy and in particular fellow Redemptorists having the courage to declare their support for Tony on this site.
    Many no doubt share the same views, as do many of us laity, but we don’t have Tony’s courage or ability, perhaps, to articulate them so well.
    We have often heard the question raised, as to why the child abuse issue was kept secret for so long when priests knew it was happening.
    Perhaps the answer comes in this latest move from the Vatican.
    The church deals more harshly with those who speak the truth when they don’t want it exposed than they do with those who refuse to take responsibility for wrong doing.
    What a shameful place we have reached.
    Good Friday indeed.
    Who would believe the crucifixion just happened once.

  14. Theodore Fink says:

    Fr Tony, keep going. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. … if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.” Christ is the head of the body, the church – not the romans.
    May Resurected Christ bring you joy. You are doing great job.

  15. Soline Humbert says:

    Thank you Tony and Gerard: The Vatican cannot bear too much Reality….. “in the world you will have trouble. But be of good heart: I have overcome the world”.
    Can the people of God be kept in the fear-full deadly dark tomb of silence?
    With a big stone and guards?
    Is Christ not rising in his people?
    Isn’t new life beckoning us forth in the power of the Spirit?

  16. JeannieGuzman says:

    It’s high time to “Kick over Sacred Cows,” even if some of them are bishops, archbishops, cardinals and even the pope! It makes little difference if one is from the North or the South when it comes down to an issue of a child being molested, raped or sodomized! When this crime is multiplied thousand upon thousands of times, it is a “Crime Against Humanity!” Child sexual abuse should be a crime, any place on earth! Political issues are of little consequence when it comes down to the issue of “Soul Rape!” If it takes something this disgusting for the North and the South of Ireland to come together, maybe this issue can unite them in a common cause! It’s about time that the crimes of Child Sexual Abuse are examined by the public, rather than controlled by the Church, no matter the repercussions for the Church!

  17. Sean O'Driscoll says:

    I wish to add my voice of support for Tony. He has been a true prophet of our time. His work took him to parishes all over the country where he was in a good position to gauge the pulse of current catholic sentiment as expressed by clergy and laity. It’s the Vatican yet again that shows they have learned nothing from the mistakes of the past. Silencing is so totally counter productive. As the original poster here, Jimmy mcPhillips so eloquently put it, from the Irish experience – dialogue is the way forward for civilized peoples.

  18. I, like many others, am saddened by the ‘silencing’ of Fr Tony Flannery. Not surprised, however — what can one expect in the present climate? Tony’s voice still sounds in the forum of ACP. Indeed, this action can be a recruitment call! More than ever we must vindicate the spirit of Vatican II and challenge the ‘reform of the reform’.
    Wilfrid Harrington, O.P.

  19. Sean Duggan CSsR says:

    First they came for Tony and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Flannery.
    Then they came for ‘Reality’ and I didn’t speak out because I don’t read it.
    Then they came for Moloney and I didn’t speak out because he is well able to speak for himself.
    Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  20. As an Irish Anglican priest I too am saddened by this gagging of Fr Tony and his colleagues in Reality Magazine. I had the pleasure of having Tony preach for me during Christian Unity Week some years back and he was universally well received – While like most I agree that the fundamentals of the faith do not change I think there is some confusion about what these fundamentals are. God is still at work in his world and uses people like Tony to shake us all up from time to time – I pray for him and his colleagues in Reality, the Redemptorists and your association. Please God this is one of those cases of the darkest hour before the dawn. A very Happy Easter to you all.

  21. Mike Fallon says:

    I’m with Paddy Ferry at No 5
    It was said on Thursday that “Rome” will not tolerate disobedient priests. Such a pity that the same intolerance wasn’t shown against prelates who sheltered criminal abusers.
    Thank you Tony. You have been and continue to be an inspiration

  22. Sean (Derry) says:

    How sad to read the messages of “support” urging Fr Flannery to maintain his disobedience and defiance towards the Vicar of Christ.
    I do not support the aims of the ACP but I sincerely care about our priests who are members of it. These chosen and ordained men, like Fr Flannery, are special to Our Lord and I pray that none of them be lost. I have never met Fr Flannery but I am sure he has many talents and is loved by many and I sincerely pray that he will be responsive to the Holy Spirit and humbly submit to the teachings of the Church.
    To his supporters, I ask that you pray, encourage and advise Fr Flannery to remain within the unity of the full faith of the Church. Yes, Fr Flannery has been outspoken and I am sure he knew that it was inevitable that some of his views would lead to a head on collision with the hierarchy. At the minute, as I understand, he has been asked not to write his regular column in a magazine, he has not been excommunicated, as some of the hype would have us believe. To Fr Flannery I would say, you have made your view points known and I am sure as an individual you will address this. I would however caution you that many other, less publically vocal dissenters, much more devious, and with their hatred for Holy Mother Church, would be only to delighted to push you forward and place you as the figurehead on their ship of dissent, whilst they more secretly and dangerously, like snakes hidden in the grass, chant, ‘Non serviam’.

  23. Joe O'Leary says:

    Time to reread that great chapter in Sean O’Casey’s autobiography, with its refrain, “Silence, Dr McDonald, silence!”
    The smaller, purer Church believes that the old anti-Modernist crackdown tactics will assure the success of its reconquista. Open discussion is anathema to them.

  24. Theodore Fink says:

    Dear Sean (Derry), I am on my way to the church to pray for you, so you may see the light of resurected Christ. May the Lord set you free.

  25. Anne Byrne says:

    Just listened to Fr Colm Kilcoyne speak on Marian Finucane on Radio 1, and wonder why at 77 years, which he said he was, he cannot say more clearly what he was obviously implying.
    We know priests, in big numbers disagree with the lack of willingness on the part of church leaders to debate the many issues facing the church today…but few, so few will ever have the courage to be honest and share those thoughts in the media, as Tony Flannery has done.
    As lay people, who have the same love and right to be part of our church, we long for clergy and bishops who will speak honestly, clearly and openly. Opting to go for silent disobedience, is not a mature way of addressing problems. Fear it would seen is the great obstacle to truth. O come Holy Spirit, come.
    I take hope from people like Tony and pray he continues to stand for truth.

  26. Phil Mortell says:

    The Japanese have a proverb which acknowledges the value of conformism and the way it is often achieved: “The nail that sticks up is hammered down.” I weep for a Church that believes the silencing of men like Tony Flannery and Gerry Moloney will promote anything other than further disillusionment among people of good will.

  27. I wish to offer my sincere support to Fr Tony. The door that the Holy Spirit inspired Pope John XX111 to open with Vat. 11 is now firmly closed and its Fr Tony and others like him who are trying to keep the vision of church that Pope John envisaged alive.

  28. Sean (Derry) says:

    Thank you for your prayers Theodore,
    I will also remember you in my prayers and hopefully we can all pray for healing and unity within our Church, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” [Ephes. 4:4-5]

  29. Interesting Noreen that Archbishop Martin’s Easter Message also looks to the Papacy of John the 23rd – there seems to be almost universal dismay at this sledgehammer approach to church discipline.

  30. Michael Dempsey CSsR says:

    I wish to express my support for my confrere Tony who has bravely asked the questions and been a prophetic voice for the people who have been sadly disenfranchised by the hierarchy of the Church. I was saddened and angered, but not surprised by the current action of Vatican regarding its silencing of Tony. Sadly the life of Church is being choked and the truth once again is becoming a casualty for those seeking truth and justice. Tony, keep the faith and keep persevering. I wonder who is being self-serving?

  31. CarmelO'Flynn says:

    What a shock to read that Fr. T.Flannnery is forbidden to write in Reality. His articles have always led me to think and reflect seriously about the life and teachings of Christ,and as a result be more Christ like in my daily living, far more than any encyclical from Rome has ever done. He is only reflecting what very many ordinary christians are thinking and asking, is the Church of Rome really a true reflection of the Kingdom of God as portrayed by the life of Jesus Christ? Unfortunately I think not. Father Flannery and the many other great priest are trying so hard to help the rest of us to find that Kingdom and to live as Christ showd us how. I hope and pray that Fr Flannery and all those will be allowed to continue to show us the love that Christ has for all. Let us hope that as Easter morn approaches all will see the Light of Christ.

  32. Noirin, Co Clare says:

    Prayers & blessings to Fr Tony. Let us not retreat into the muttered silences of a colonised people, but loudly, constantly & publicly speak Truth, transparency & hope. Roman offices claiming Papal infallibility for their own is no reason for Irish despair. This announcement helped me to decide to attend the national assembly in May.

  33. Phil Dunne says:

    I offer my support & prayers to Tony Flannery & Gerry Moloney.
    This is a defining moment for ACP. I pray that members stand together to stand up for your brothers and stand up to the bullying Vatican.
    Phil Dunne

  34. Theodore Fink says:

    Dear Anthony Murphy. I will petition my bishop to request that our priests are faithful to the teaching of Jesus instead. Have a blessed Easter.

  35. M heffernan says:

    I have just heard about your organisation in the media today and felt compelled to research it. As a practising catholic with a young family I support fr flannery and it is with a sense of hope and new life that I now approach Easter Sunday. I am sure there are many other people like me who will hear of the injustice that has been done to a good man and for whom this very act of trying to silence the Spirit may be a catalyst for change.
    I have felt in abeyance by the lack of leadership in our church in recent years and today I take heart by reading the messages on your website and my new awareness of this organisation. I pray for you and ask Jesus this Easter to send more Leaders to us as our young people in particular and our young families are thirsting for guidance, for the message of Jesus in their everyday lives and to feel his presence in the world. We need courageous, deeply prayerful compassionate priests and lay people to bring Jesus to our spiritually wounded country. God be with you. Fr Flannery for your courage and faith.

  36. Sheila McHugh says:

    The Spirit of the risen Christ is moving over this beautiful land and people which has been riven by the revelations of abuse and cover ups in all their sordid guises over the past years. Change is causing disquiet in the echelons of power, including the institutional Church. Others in Penal times tried to silence our priests, and like now it is the Faith of the people in a God who dwells among them that has not wavered and is instrumental in change happening. So, let us support all those, especially in the Irish church who have been ‘silenced’ like Tony & Gerard, and keep one another in prayer this Easter and into the future.

  37. Michael Brennan says:

    Wouldn’t you love to be as sure as Anthony about what needs to be done…. ‘praying to exorcise the spirit of Vatican 11’!. Thank God we can all pray and we trust that God will not silence the voice of Tony or have it replaced by such extreme right wing voices. His church needs more than that.

  38. Mary Sheehan says:

    I have sat through many of Fr Flannerys homilies at the annual novena and I cannot understand why he was not censored years ago. He has been preaching dissent. Like other posters I urge you to respect the authority of the Papacy which was instituted by Christ. Preserve the unity of the Catholic church and behave humbly. I urge everyone to pray and not engage in angry words.
    God bless

  39. Seminarian III (aka Patrick Anthony) says:

    If I may, I would urge everyone to take a deep breath and look at the situation again. Fr. Flannery has not been convicted of anything. His writings are being investigated by HQ – something which he gave them both the right and the responsibility to due when he vowed loyalty to the teachings of the Church of Christ before his ordination. While this is ongoing, he is being asked to take a step back, which would be standard practice for any professional in a similar situation. If his supporters believe him to be a truly Catholic priest (i.e. one in complete unity with the Body of Christ that is the Church), then surely there is nothing to worry about.
    On the other hand, if (and I mean if, I’m not making any suppositions) there is a possibility his teachings are leading people astray and into discord with our Mother the Church, then Rome has the pastoral duty to discern the truth.
    But it’s early days yet, let’s not jump to any conclusions either way.
    A blessed Easter to all.
    Surrexit Christus Dominus!

  40. Brian Nolan CSsR says:

    It’s a very sad day when a priest who is asking the questions that so many catholics all over the country want answers to, is silenced. All of the issues that Tony speaks about are issues that people want to hear discussion about from Church Leaders, but there is silence. Tony has been brave enough to engage with difficult and complex topics and now like the rest of those in leadership he will have to fall silent too. Tony thank you for being a friend and a confrere. I support you fully and I know that many others do too.

  41. Cathy McCarthy says:

    I wish to offer my support for Tony Flannery. I heard him speak at the Pobal Conference in 2011 and he was a breath of fresh air. The Institutional Church is completely out of touch with people,many people who are struggling in their own lives. We need priests like Tony Flannery to speak out on issues that need to be discussed. Every one should have a voice, we need to be able to listen to the many points of view expressed by people. We need compassion and love and understanding, sadly this is lacking in the Vatican. I wish Tony Flannery the very best. Surrounding you with light Tony. Cathy

  42. Christine Gilsen says:

    Thank you Fr Tony for not … discouraging, excluding, being afraid of the truth, suppressing and marginalizing women, preaching one thing and doing another, refusing to wash women’s feet on Holy Thursday, parading your attire like a peacock on display, acting like the pharisees in Luke Ch.11.
    Thank you for … encouraging people you know and those you don’t, treating women and men equally, facilitating spaces where voices are heard, speaking out about the abuse of power, respecting others and making people feel good about being made in God’s image and likeness, being true to your conscience, for rooting your theology in the ministry of Jesus, for recognising the conclusion of the Vatican’s Pontifical Biblical Commission (1976) that there is no valid scriptural reason for denying ordination to women, for being a prophet of the future, for loving.

  43. Joseph Ryan says:

    It was with deep regret that I read the Papal homily of Holy Thursday and like many of those who have posted here, questioned why Rome was so slow and hesitant in making any remarks or taking any action in relation to clerical child sex abuse.
    I do remember the Pope making reference at one stage over the last while to the ‘filth’ within the church who had brought it into disrepute….and I could not agree with him more in that regard.
    However it is as regrettable that the same said Pope did not act all the more effectively and determined as he seems to be in relation to Tony, Gerard and indeed only God knows who is next.
    Twice in the last 6 years I have been summoned to the palace (not the Ad Limina type visit), ‘inquisitioned’ and before being allowed leave, had my resignation requested (which I have not and will not submit).
    I am due for another trip this year and if it a matter that Tony is also required to pay a visit then I know I will be in good company.
    On the ground and at the coalface the very questions Tony and others were/are asking are the very questions that all are asking and this action by Rome is serving to ensure that Mass attendances will continue to decline and any regard for Rome that once existed is slowly ebbing away.
    In many ways the people are turning to Jesus and the Gospels and creating a sense of a more personal and intimate encounter with Jesus and God as they feel it is not possible with current happenings in the RCC.
    In all of this it has to be asked what is Rome so afraid of that it has taken this particular course and what does it expect as a result?
    Whatever the answer Rome expects it is going to get a reply far from what it wishes.
    To finish, I remember in seminary a comment by a priest that Rome is not only closing the windows of Vatican II but it is also nailing the windows tight to ensure they cannot be opened again.
    My reply to that was well we all know what happens if you do not allow fresh air to flow freely as it should – death!!
    I wish Tony, Gerard and all in the Redemptorists every best wish and blessing this Easter and to know they have the support of so many.

  44. Mícheál says:

    I have been pondering the responses to this message. Those supporting Fr Tony seem to be driven by care, compassion and justice. Those against him, on the other hand, smack of smirking smug triumphalist certitude. As a Catholic with a conscience and a mind of my own I will not bow to the dictatorial bullies. Somehow I believe God is more interested in our hearts than in accountancy. I feel desperately sad that some in the Church are so rule bound that they cannot see beyond the law. The letter killeth, the Spirit giveth life. This Easter I thank God for the majority on this site who resist Rome in favour of the Gospel. Even do, at this time of joy, I am immensely sad at the injustice done to Fr Tony, compounded by the naked delight of the fear-ridden reactionaries. I am no longer an active priest but am ever more sure of the rightness of my decision to leave ministry. In the contemporary Church I find no solace. Sadly, the reformed Churches are more welcoming and more faithful to the Gospel.

  45. Declan Kelly PP says:

    My sincerest support to Tony. May the peace of Christ disturb us all!

  46. michael forde CSsR says:

    To say “Keep up the good work, lads”, doesn’t exactly hit the nail on the head but it does go some way towards expressing some of the appreciation that I, and people of different age groups, feel in response to the contributions of my confreres, Tony Flannery and Gerry Moloney, in the public arena. I have to say that my faith has been considerably helped over many years by priests and people in Ireland who have had the kindness and courage to articulate the cares and concerns of many people as they struggle with questions of faith and meaning in our society. This is important and worthwhile and people recognise and greatly appreciate your honesty and commitment, as do I.

  47. Who will be next?
    A sad day.
    I hope the optimism expressed by many in the above comments is justified. I wouln’t be so sure. If the Vatican can dismantle Vatican II and get away with it, God knows what else they can get away with.
    This latest development is no surprise, sad and all as it is. It is inevitable as the Vatican itself is a prisoner of its mistakes, particularly those since Vatican II.
    Fr. Tony’s, rather than the Pope’s, is the road less travelled. as many on this site have testified.
    I left the church, or it left me, a long time ago, so I don’t have the same personal stake in these matters as many on this site, or of other Catholics and Christians who were depending on the Church as a beacon of light in a sea of secularism.
    But it is good to see that Spartacus is still alive and well and reading here.

  48. Ciaran O'Callaghan CSsR says:

    In the wake of all the abuse reports, we now know how catastrophically Church leadership has failed the People of God, both on this island and across the world. If the only response current leadership can come up with is a repressive strategy of “back to the future,” then it will continue to fail the People of God. Instead of silencing so-called “dissidents,” the current leadership might more profitably give its energy to acknowledging and correcting its own failures. Logs and specks come to mind! I wish to express my solidarity with my confreres Tony and Gerry at this time.

  49. Mary O Vallely says:

    This is Easter Sunday morning and the only triumphalism that is real is that of the Risen Christ. Like Mícheál above I find the lack of charity in those who are triumphing over Tony Flannery’s imposed silence disturbing in the extreme. Don’t we all love this Christ who suffered and died for us and so we should be reaching out to each other in charity, love and understanding. I have always supported Tony and The ACP and will continue to do so.I also will attend this Towards an Assembly on 7th May and urge others to give it their support. We all yearn to be like those of the early Church of whom it was said,”See how these Christians love one another”. I do not doubt the sincerity and the faith of all the posters here but pray that we each learn to tolerate difference and that includes myself most of all,I know. Discussion is healthy. We are just not used to doing it in charity but practice will improve our listening skills and our capacity for accepting difference. To all those suffering and unable to speak openly and publicly know that so many of us hold you in our hearts. That is my prayer. Mary V

  50. Wendy Murphy says:

    To dear Tony, all at ACP and contributors to the discussions here who offer clarity, compassion and hope — love and thanks.

  51. Mary Stewart says:

    Thank you to Father Flannery, Father Moloney and all other priests and lay people who encourage, empower and facilitate us to live our lives with love, care, compassion and forgiveness and seek to amend any hurt we may have caused to others. Thank you for helping remove the fear of God from us and for opening up the reality of an ever loving, welcoming and forgiving God. Thank you

  52. Sean O'Conaill says:

    Would those who think the church cannot tolerate dissent please ask themselves if children would not have been far safer if all Catholics had felt not only free but compelled by the Holy Spirit to oppose abuses of ecclesiastical authority. And please read this also:
    “Over the Pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority.
    “This emphasis on the individual, whose conscience confronts him with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even of the official church, also establishes a principle in opposition to increasing totalitarianism.” (Joseph Ratzinger in Herbert Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, vol. V, p. 134).
    Jesus’ last command was not “Agree about everything.” but “Love one another.” It is entirely possible to disagree and love at the same time. Peter and Paul did that at the Council of Jerusalem.

  53. brendan Butler says:

    All concerned people of God should now come out in public and demand and end to the ongoing crucifixion of our priest theologians not by the ‘godless media’ but by the very own church. This Papal obsession with a rigid orthdoxy of all its members fails to address the dysfunction within the church starting from the vatican. As one silenced theologian expressed it so sadly’ I would have been better treated in the church had I been a paedophile priest’. It is time for all fellow priests of Tony Flannery and catholic faithful to stand united in solidarity with him . This creeping infallibility being pushed for man- made canon laws and its extension even to the ephemeral views of the pope must be resisted by dissent if necessary as translating the Gospel message of Jesus into a list of boxes to be ticked to confirm one’s commitment to the person of jesus is a travesty of our Christianity.

  54. James (Dublin) says:

    What makes us human is our free will and ability to think for ourselves, for the Pope to tell anyone that they can not speak or think for themselves is to attack the core of humanity. I hope Fr. Flannery will continue to use his intellect and that millions of other Catholics will do the same and that Pope Benedict will seek to engage and understand rather than silence and censor. You would think Pope Benedict of all people would know that such totalitarianism does not work as the human spirit ultimately overcomes all opposition.

  55. Mary Burke says:

    This dreadful new translation which we have had to endure over the past few days is a case in point when it comes to identifying where the priorities of Irish bishops lie. Bishop John McAreavey, the representative of the Irish Bishops on the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) has failed the People of God in Ireland, (including the Irish bishops) by not representing the views of Irish Catholics to the Vatican on this issue and by trying to sell the travesty that is the new missal to us, with its appalling English style and its deplorable lack of phrasing and rhythm which makes it impossible to proclaim.
    Presumably they feel in the Vatican that if they can succeed in bypassing the views of women and men who are members of the Church here in relation to this translation, they will be able to steamroll their institutional line on the questions raised by Tony and Gerard.
    Institutional bullying in the name of religion is reprehensible.

  56. Adrian Egan, C.Ss.R. says:

    Typical of some of what I’ve received since yesterday!
    Happy Easter,
    I wanted to express as a young Catholic, my support for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the courageous decision to disipline the two Irish dissident priests belonnging to your Redemptorist Order and the Irish Province. God bless the Pope for this brave act to start to put an end to the destruction of the Faith in Ireland and elsewhere caused since 1965 by hundreds of liberal radical dissident priests such as these two….and by thousands of now supremely aged radical progressivist femminist nuns. The issues of a married clergy, homosexual unions/marriage, Church sharing/liturgical services with Protestants, and especially the notion of the possibility of women priests (priestesses) are all closed issues….closed by the Vatican. To continue to stir up dissent in Ireland, and also like minded dissident priests in Austria, is a supreme act of disobedience and disloyalty to the Catholic Faith, to the Pope, and a grave sin before God. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth…not you people or those two dissenting priests. They were labeled “loyal dissenters”. There is no such thing in the CAtholic Church. That sounds like something Luther would have said. Which is why they should go the way of Luther. Be honest. be courageous. That goes for all the aged habitless radical femminist nuns too….leave the Catholic Church now. I am sure some dime=a-dozen Protestant group (like the Anglicans or Presbyterians) would welcome you with open arms.
    These two priests are in for more trouble from the Vatican. So are all Catholic dissenters who hold these views favoring married priests, homosexuality, and the laughable idea of women priests!
    In case you didn’t know, the Vatican is at the same time they went after your two Redemptorist brothers, also making a move against the hundreds of dissident worthless radical priests in Austria! And their champion, Crdinal von Schonborn’s position in Vienna is now on shaky ground. He may be sacked! Good riddance.
    If I were you, “Father”, rather than supporting these two dissident radicals against the will of the Pope, you should side with the Vatican, as any loyal Catholic. If you mouth off too loudly in support of these two losers, please have a bag packed for your days as superior will be over. The Vatican will force your resignation. Pope Benedict XVI isn’t joking this time. He’s not playing meek and gentle. Be prepared!!!
    Happy Easter

  57. Annraoi O'Diothaigh says:

    May I add my own tuppence halfpenny worth – an email I sent to Pope Benedict yesterday:
    Thank you for ruining my Easter
    Holy Saturday, 7 April 2012
    Dear Pope Benedict,
    I haven’t emailed you for some time but I thought I should put finger to iPad to thank you for ruining my Easter. 
    No, I’m not referring to your decision not to visit Ireland for the Eucharistic Congress, which I read in The Irish Catholic today. It’s not fair to expect a man, far older than myself (I’m only 81), to undertake another journey after a gruelling trip to Mexico and Cuba. 
    I’m referring to the news, also broken in The Irish Catholic, that the Vatican has silenced two good Redemptorists, Fr Tony Flannery and Fr Gerry Moloney, for daring to speak out on issues of importance to the church in Ireland. This ham-fisted action by the CDF has left a sour taste in my mouth for a number of reasons:
    1) It reminds me of a situation many years ago when another two good people were silenced for daring to speak out. Except in that case, the two were children who had been abused by Fr Brendan Smyth and their silencing, by the now Cardinal Sean Brady, allowed Smyth to rape his way through several parishes for another 20 years.
    2) It felt extremely odd to me that while you were in Cuba speaking eloquently about freedom of speech to the people of Cuba, the CDF was denying Fr Flannery and Fr Moloney their own freedom of speech.
    3) It also grated strongly with me that this action was taken at Easter, at a time when the Irish Church is in deep crisis and should be focused on a process of renewal.
    A little anecdote if I may: Last night I attended the Stations of the Cross in St Patrick’s Church in Monkstown in Dublin. The attendance was poor – I estimated 75 parishioners turned up to hear retired priest Fr Maurice address an almost-empty church. What was even more sad was the fact that fewer than 10 of those 75 parishioners were under the age of 30. Young people have turned away from the Church and it is unlikely that they will ever return.
    The church that I have been a part of for eight decades is literally dying on its feet. Just like Jesus. But there will be no resurrection of the church while we are led by a Cardinal who refuses to take personal responsibility for the damage to children that happened as a result of his own inaction. There will be no renewal while our bishops, with few exceptions, appear to be more interested in preserving their own positions than attending to their flocks. And there certainly will be no renewal while we have a Vatican that sees a ‘Spanish Inquisition’ as the most appropriate response to the issues facing the church in Ireland.
    It hasn’t been a good Easter so far.
    God bless, Annraoi

  58. Maura, Belfast says:

    There have been many instances throughout history where injustice has been a catalyst for reformation. My hope is that the injustice and disrespect for human rights perpetrated against Fr Tony Flannery will, like the Good Friday experience, result in a resurrection of personal responsibility. Let us not just privately agree with these men, but also speak out in sincerity.

  59. Seminarian II (aka Gearóid Mary) says:

    Just days after being accused of using this site as a “happy heresy hunting ground” I was shocked to hear of the recent turn of events. We truly find ourselves in an unfortunate situation. This situation is one where some Irish priests are under investigation for enunciating views that are in opposition to Church teaching. There is much talk about dialogue in the Church today. There is a plea for dialogue coming from all corners. If the Vatican sources are correct when they said the investigation was prompted by Fr. Flannery’s opposition to the Church’s ban on artificial birth control and his support for the ordination of women, then he was not inviting dialogue but expressing opposition and putting forward a different teaching. The desire for dialogue is a distraction from the real work of the Church. How many of us understand what she actually is?
    May He Easter in us!

  60. David Carroll says:

    I am appalled at the news on Tony Flannery & Gerard Moloney. I really don’t have the words to express my anger at this situation and the cowardice of the Irish hierarchy in their lack of comment. Tony & Gerard are very much in my prayers this night.

  61. Ruthaliencorn says:

    Dear Annraoi,
    Sorry about your Easter but thank you for making mine. My 15 year-old son got a particular kick out of the CDF and Cuba bit. What a great e-mail and I’m sure the Pope is tucked up in the leaba with the cocoa now enjoying same. Mind you, if you see an ACME van parked outside tonight, it’ll be the FBI.
    As a family, we gave the ceremonies a miss this year on account of the silencing of Fr Tony. It was a time to reflect on it all, so we stayed at home and put on the St Matthew Passion and Arvo Part and read Cardinal Newman, the Scriptures and the messages here. We’ve had a lovely few days together as a family and there’s the feeling in the house tonight, that definitely, He is Risen.
    The Redemptorists are a credit to the uncomfortable Christian message. You’re good men to come out like this and support your confreres. Most especially in a reactionary era when too many clerics are desperate to cover their rear-end by doing what is seen to be correct, at the expense of doing what is right, regardless of the consequences.
    Fr Egan’s addition above was revelatory.
    The Pope commissioned a new fragrance for himself recently from a top Italian perfume-maker. Hopefully, nothing like the stink he’s created here. God bless all and keep at it.

  62. Mary Burke says:

    Adrian, it’s hard to believe that someone would be so theologically and morally bankrupt to write the material which you received and which you have shared with us, in the name of a God of love. Those tactics alone mean that their cause is lost. Nil desperandum!

  63. Gavin Crowley says:

    I’m naturally inclined to support freedom of speech. I also support freedom of religion, a right that is individual and collective. How can we collectively express ourselves (or any other collective organisation) without repressing dissent from what’s already settled?
    Aside from this particular case there has to be in principle some means of expressing disapproval and having it heeded generally.
    The tone of many posts in support have misused the holy in support of profane politics. Anyone can say that ‘the Jesus I know would …’ or alternatives like ‘the TRUE spirit of Vat II was…’. But please not for political point scoring.

  64. Mary Burke says:

    If it is true, as it has been reported, that the Vatican has attempted to prohibit Tony from posting on the ACP website, then that is surely a breach of his human rights.
    Then people wonder why the Vatican’s voice in support of human rights, in fora outside of the church, is undermined and not taken seriously.

  65. Joe O'Leary says:

    “The desire for dialogue is a distraction from the real work of the Church.” Seminarian II has nailed it. When the Roman Curia talk about “dialogue” they are just giving us cynical window-dressing.

  66. You really have to try and keep a sense of humour in the midst of this turbulence, even if only for a few seconds at a time, in order to stay sane and control your anger.
    I read in the current issue of ALIVE that what saved Fr. Browne’s life was obedience. He was ordered off the Titanic at Cobh by his superiors. Had he disobeyed he would likely have lost his life and be spending the rest of his afterlife taking studio portraits of Lucifer.
    Here is a small visual contribution to the present “debate”.
    And no, I don’t think any of this is funny. Quite the reverse. Hence the need for a sense of humour.

  67. Seminarian II (aka Gearóid Mary) says:

    Joe, I was referring to the dialogue that is going on at the bottom. The kind that rises like damp and over times does untold damage. A certain event in May is indicative of this. Why is there a desire to set a window with products that are off the ‘pricelist’?

  68. The quote of a young Catholic in posting No. 56 above is both appalling and worrying if indeed it is as typical as Fr Egan suggests. Clericalism, sectarianism and sexism, all embraced in one short statement of support for what this young person believes to be healthy Catholic faith and practice. It’s not clear if Fr Egan shares the views of this young person, or shares my shock and concern? Please tell me it’s not true that Fundamentalism is now this mainstream in the Catholic Church.

  69. Tom Finnigan says:

    I’ve been re-reading Luke’s Acts of the Apostles. I’m encouraged by the number of times Paul gets into trouble. In Thessalonika, he and Silas annoyed the religious establishment so much that citizens yelled in the street: ‘These are the people who are turning the world upside down!’ (Acts 17:6). Would it not be refreshing if folk were to yell in Grafton Street that our bishops were turning the country upside down?
    I speculate sometimes about what the CDF in Rome would make of Paul of Tarsus if he landed in Derry and gave his pennyworth on ministry and eucharist in Saint Eugene’s cathedral…
    Tony and Gerard seem to me to be raising questions and arguing their case as did Paul in Athens and Jerusalem. When he arrived in Corinth, he ‘argued every sabbath in the synagogue’ (Acts18:4). Frustrated by opposition, Paul ‘moved on from the synagogue and went into the house of Titius Justus, a godfearer who lived opposite the synagogue’ (Acts 18:7).
    My name isn’t Titius Justus, but I have a house not far from Lagg chapel in Inishowen. Fathers Tony and Gerry are welcome here at any time.

  70. A Rural Priest says:

    What an extraordinary article by Fr McPhillips.
    I’ll just pick out one sentence that made my eyes boggle: Isn’t ‘Sensus Fidelium’ still the ultimate authority in Church teaching?
    Maybe I’m a crusty old manualist, but I have the crazy idea that Vatican II taught that the ultimate authority in Church teaching is Divine Revelation as manifested in scripture and tradition and as taught by the Church’s magisterium. Speaking of the sensus fidelium, Lumen Gentium 12 has the following to say:
    The holy people of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office; it spreads abroad a living witness to Him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the tribute of lips which give praise to His name. The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the word of God. Through it, the people of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints,penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully in its life.
    I know Fr Flannery is in many ways a kind & contentious priest. However, even if he has the best of intentions, if he is found to be teaching contrary to the Church, it is better for his own sake and for the sake of the faithful that he step back and re-consider things.
    I have not paid particular attention to the chapter and verse of Fr Flannery’s writings, so I’m not in a position to criticise him directly. However, measured scrutiny of what priests teach is something that I welcome as part of the renewal of the Church in Ireland.

  71. Jim Barry says:

    During Holy Week the media reported statements from two disparate followers of Jesus Christ. The one in white said, in effect, ” I condemn you Tony because you have disagreed with me”. The one in black said, “I forgive you RTE even though you disagreed with my plea of innocence.” In which statement do I hear an echo of the words of Jesus , also reported during Holy Week ?

  72. I am very upset and angry that Fr. Tony Flannery has been silenced.
    The Reality magazine is just a waste of space from here on in.
    Regarding women priests to quote Dr. Hampson in the letter page of
    to days Independent “there is no obvious theological or physical reason why there can’t be women priests – was it not said that we are all equal in the sight of God. If in essence he is proved wrong, it leaves us with an interesting theological question – like two well known and well-heeled north Dublin golf clube , is there a men-only section in Heaven?” “No matter which way the Catholic Cgyrcg dresses it up, women are viewed by those in this club as second-class citizens” All the sentiments above are also mine but not being as ariculate as Dr. Hampson I just felt I couldn’t express my thoughts as clearly.

  73. Joe Mulvaney says:

    I am appalled to read the recent report that Pope Benedict has cracked down on dissent and good priests such as Tony Flannery and Gerard Moloney. Their ministry in honest communication appears to threaten the absolute monarchy at Vatican City State. Tragically, they are among the latest theologians consigned to the gulag over the past 30 years by Cardinal Ratzinger. I am deeply troubled as a Catholic to note that the bloody cancer of the Roman Inquisition has not gone away. Our recent hopes for a Catholic Spring seem to have been scourged, crucified and buried!
    I attended the meeting in 2011 between 30 Dublin parish council representatives with Cardinal Sean O’Malley. All those people cherished the fundamental Good News of Jesus Christ. However, the vast majority expressed serious dissent and questions to the Apostolic Visitor in regard to the ongoing abuse of power, women and priests in the Roman Catholic Church. Their open dissent on the issues of mandatory celibacy and the ordination of women showed that they were not going to follow the Eichmann excuse of absolute obedience to any monarch and that they had no intention to continue collusion in any form of abuse. The recent summary report from the Vatican and Pope Benedict’s Holy Thursday sermon shows that the above input from lay Catholics got through to Rome. They are well aware that a large percentage of baptized Catholics do not accept the teaching of a small group of Roman clerics in regard to contraception, ordination of women, mandatory celibacy and refusal to share power with national hierarchies. In light of this widespread dissent by free lay people on human arrangements subject to change and development, it is wrong for the Roman Control Group to lock up seminarians away from those lay people or to bully good priests into silence and violation of their consciences.
    It is way past time for the Roman magisterium to respect the People of God and to listen humbly to the common sense of Catholics. Catholic parents desperately want the fundamental Good News of Jesus Christ to be accessible to a new generation in language, concepts, worldviews and governance systems which make sense to people today. It is no help to present our belief in the outdated language of discrimination, abuse of power, inequality and repression. Catholic people today reject the Roman Inquisition as well as any hint of a Catholic ethos of omerta, dishonesty and cover-up. Catholic parents today teach their children that values such as equality, democracy, power sharing and freedom of conscience are very much in line with the teachings of Jesus.
    The attempt by any regime to stifle questions and silence dissent is counterproductive and unacceptable to free people. Accordingly, it is up to us Irish Catholics to rise up strongly this Easter season against the silencing of thinkers and the abuse of good priests. We will forgive the Roman trespass but we will firmly reject oppression. Irish Catholics are once again called to go on mission via modern means of communication to evangelise our clerical brothers in Rome and plead with them to give up on abusive behaviour and to be comfortably incarnate with us in God’s wonderful modern world. The onus is very much on lay people since priests have promised obedience and are vulnerable to abuse by unreformed power groups. I propose that we send letters of support to the good priests and silenced theologians. I also propose that we send letters to the Papal Nuncio expressing our rejection of the Inquisition and our suggestions for radical reform which is so urgently needed within our Catholic Church.

  74. Ann Martin says:

    Sad to see in these days when the church is suffering from external criticism for being removed from its flock and out of step with the times that our pastoral head seeks to stifle debate and healthy discussion. Surely this is exactly the forum in which we should be airing our views and expressing diverse opinion. I say keep it up Fr Tony and be assured of our continued support and respect.

  75. Mary Burke says:

    Dear A Rural Priest, it’s very sad that you can’t append your name to the views you have expressed here. Is it that you stand over what you have said only thus far?

  76. mark kane says:

    Tony Flannery, whom i had the fortune of spending a bit of time with, many years ago as a trainee cssr redemp.., shouldn’t be sad or unhappy. He should be proud and content for he has been set free from the bank that the vatican is. We all know what our financial institutions did to millions and millions of us during the last few years. They stiffed us all and laboured us with hellish oil prices, no jobs, barely able to afford the basics in life,heat food, electricity. Well Tony, you are free from these religious bankers who have no more god in them than you or i have in our left big toes.
    What saddens me is that one day people like tony flannery will no longer exist and then we will have to contend with the no minded non thinkers who run the church and some of the theological institutions, at present. The kind that put their boss to the cross in the first place.
    Tony, you are free, free to continue to be true to the light you are.

  77. Two thumbs up to the Rural Priest! It is an uncomfortable truth that Vatican II never said what ACP is saying that it said!
    Read the documents, people!
    I hope you won’t edit me out, just because I am a woman who doesn’t feel oppressed by the Church! (I see I still await moderation in another column.)

  78. fr Joe Caulfield says:

    I wish to appreciate the courage and compassion of Fr Tony Flannery.
    Recently, in connection with the tragic death of Fr John Sweetman, Wexford, RIP,
    from talking to a classmate in Kildare I learned from him how Fr. Tony, whilst giving a mission in his parish, had spent many hours on the phone concerning the case of Fr. Reynolds.
    For me this is a telling instance of the parable of the Good Shepherd- in going out of his way, going the distance, the hours, for the ‘sheep’ who was in trouble, who could have been abandoned.
    That, as I hear, Fr. Tony is to be severely constricted by the CDF if he is to continue preaching and writing is repugnant.
    That CDF orders him to cease from involvement with the ACP is to undermine the work of ACP in helping accused priests to have their name cleared and to be restored to ministry.
    It is so wrong, so contrary to justice and to the Gospel.
    Fr Joe Caulfield

  79. Apologies Fr Egan for my silly misreading of your posting above and for any suggestion that you might share any of the particular views of the young person you quote. (By the way, I left out ageism).

  80. “Shock, Anger and a little fear”,the emotions experienced by FrJimmy McPhillips (Clogher) and I am sure many other Priests. After a liftime of service to our Church many Priests and laity, have decided that God’s law differs greatly from Rome’s law in many areas. Fr’s Tony and Gerard are only two in a long line who seek change. I would hope that the Papal Nuncio and our Bishops would break their silence and commence dialogue with the ACP, even behind closed doors. The future of Christ’s church in our Country could be at stake.

  81. John McMahon says:

    I just read on twitter [ http://t.co/poMmcIwb ] that Fr. Flannery wrote in 2006 that Ireland shouldn’t be delving into past abuses in Catholic institutions because the children in those Institutions were treated badly but only as badly as all other children in the Irish society of that time!
    It seems also that Fr. Flannery made light of the sexual abuse of children. He wrote:
    “The common assumption today is that the experience of sexual abuse does almost irreparable damage to a child, which will impact on their whole life. It would appear to be classified as the worst form of abuse. But can we be sure of that? How does one measure the damage done to a child by one form of neglect or abuse more than another?”
    That quote seems to me to smack of the ‘gimlet eye of the canon lawyer’ that our Taoiseach spoke of!

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