Press Statement from Tony Flannery
3rd January 2021
In the last while two senior members of the Catholic Church have made statements about the position of women in the Church, and specifically about women’s ordination.
Bishop Batzing, the President of the German Bishops Conference is reported by America Magazine, among many other outlets, as saying he is in favour of women being ordained deacons. He goes on to say, in relation to the arguments against the ordination of women:
“I must honestly say that I am also aware that these arguments are becoming less and less convincing and that there are well-developed arguments in theology in favour of opening up the sacramental ministry to women as well.”
The Archbishop-elect of Dublin, Dermot Farrell, in an interview with The Irish Times, said, “he would like to see women becoming deacons in the church”. He is reported as going on to say that “the biggest barrier to having female priests in the Catholic Church is probably tradition, not the Scriptures”. In saying this he appears to undercut the main argument used by the Church against the ordination of women.
Will either of these two senior clerics be asked by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to sign a document which states “a baptised male alone receives ordination validly”?
It is not my wish that they be requested to do so but it is worth pointing out that this is what I have been ordered to sign as a precondition of being “gradually” restored to ministry.
On the question of homosexuality, Bishop Batzing is reported as saying that he believes that it is necessary to change Church teaching on homosexuality.
Bishop Farrell said:
Pope Francis has given Catholics “a great lead” on homosexuality, adding that the church’s description of it as a “strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil” is language disliked by the Pope.
Will either of these two men be asked to sign the following, also from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
“Since homosexual practices are contrary to the natural law and do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity, they are not approved by the moral teaching of the Catholic Church”. Again, it is not my wish that they be requested to do so, but such is the statement demanded of me as a precondition of “gradually” returning to priestly ministry.
Given that the opinions I have expressed on these matters are now being held and expressed by many people of all levels right across the Church, without any apparent sanction, I am curious to know how any Church authority, ecclesiastical or religious, can justify and condone the sentences that have been imposed upon me?