A meeting was held on the 9thof March between a deputation and members of the leadership of the Irish Province of the Redemptorist Order to discuss the ongoing treatment of Fr Tony Flannery. Present were Frs Dan Baragry and Gerry O Connor from the Redemptorists, Marie Morrissey representing a lay group supporting Fr Tony and two representatives of the ACP, Frs John Collins and Tim Hazelwood. Kathleen McDonnell (lay group) could not attend. The meeting was a follow up from a previous meeting held in December 2019 between the lay group and the Redemptorist leadership over the status of Tony. The ACP requested to join the deputation and this was accepted.
Fr Dan gave an update from the previous meeting stating concerns raised over, the lack of progress, was passed on to the Superior General Michael Brehl and he agreed to dialogue with The Congregation of Doctrine and Faith. Dan was awaiting an update.
A long discussion then took place where all parties voiced their dissatisfaction over the way the case had and continues to be handled especially the lack of any due process. It was also noted that this intolerable injustice must be having a detrimental effect on Tony and the sooner this was resolved the better. In the light of the change of atmosphere under the leadership of Pope Francis it was felt that Tony should be returned to ministry and this injustice to be righted. A detailed account of previous attempts was given, where Tony engaged with the process and provided what was requested only for the ‘goal posts’ to move again each time. Fr Dan made it clear that Tony was a member held in good standing within the Redemptorist Congregation only that a sanction was placed on him by the Order at the request of the Congregation of Doctrine and Faith. It was their wish that this sanction should be lifted.
Both the lay group and the ACP agreed on this and all vowed to work together for this to happen. It was agreed that a timescale should be put on this to happen and an agreed plan of possible actions were agreed. The group agreed to meet again after Easter after updating their organisations and the lay working group.