The Irish Times interview with the Papal Nuncio, Charles Brown
In last Saturday’s Irish Times there was an interview by Patsy McGarry with the Papal Nuncio, Charles Brown. In the course of the interview McGarry asked him about the Irish priests who had been censored. The Nuncio disclaimed any involvement in these cases, and in particular in mine. Can we believe him?
When the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) were dealing with my case, it seems to me that a very obvious and sensible part of their investigation would be to get somebody in Ireland to give them a local reading of the situation. I find it hard to believe that someone in the CDF didn’t at least pick up the phone and ring someone in the Irish Church and ask: “What is this Flannery guy like?” or “What might be the local implications of the action we are proposing to take here?” If they didn’t do that there were very remiss in their work.
In the event of the CDF looking for a local perspective, who were the most likely people they would ask? Charles Brown would be the obvious one. He is the Vatican representative here in Ireland, and part of his job is precisely to advise the Vatican on issues pertaining to Ireland. Also, before he came here, he had worked for some time in the CDF, so he would know them and they him.
The second obvious person to contact would be Diarmaid Martin of Dublin, again a man who had a long record of working in the Vatican world, and one who knows the Irish Church well.
In answer to McGarry’s question, the Nuncio went on to say this was a matter for the religious superiors. Some time back, when the Association of Catholic Priests approached Diarmaid Martin on the matter of censored priests, he also gave the same answer — since they were all religious it was none of his responsibility, it concerned their religious superiors only.
My religious superiors have made it clear to me from the beginning that, if it was their choice, there would be no action taken against me, but that they were acting under duress, and had no choice.
So who was responsible? I have it on good authority that the complaint against me that motivated the CDF to act came from a bishop. When I listen to Charles Brown and Diarmaid Martin washing their hands of all responsibility in my situation I am inclined to believe that, like Desmond Connell, there could well be at least some element of ‘mental reservation’ at work.

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  1. Mary Vallely says:

    Moral cowardice, more like. I’m sorry to say but I wish someone had the gumption to break this chain of fear or whatever it is that prevents these men from speaking out against injustice. It is unjust to accuse someone and not allow that person the chance to defend himself and not even to know the nature of the accusation. Frustrating in the extreme, unjust and mean spirited. IMHO. Ah, men…

  2. Brendan Dinneen says:

    Was it not an extraordinary coincidence that Patsy McGarry got his much sought-after interview with the Papal Nuncio in the week in which “the killer of Killeagh” was in the news.
    Patsy must surely have wanted to ask about the Killeagh story? It is not mentioned in the interview?
    We must thank Desmond Connell for explaining to us how holy and conscientious bishops can tell lies without fear of eternal damnation. They, by virtue of their elevated responsibilities, can make “mental reservations”!

  3. Brendan Cafferty says:

    Maybe the CDF should have asked for the opinions of the many ordinary Catholics around the country who were familiar with Tony Flannery through the many missions/retreats he gave up and down this state and especially along the Western seaboard with which I am familiar.He was a good priest who portrayed a gentler loving church,so different from the olden days. Those here who contrived to have him cornered and isolated had very little to do,especially at a time when the church in Ireland had bigger problems to deal with.I cannot imagine Rome sending emissaries here to read his magazine writings or eavesdrop on his many sermons delivered over the years. I am always intrigued the way things are passed around in the catholic church,the buck is passed from one to the other-whether it be his Order, the CDF,superior general or whoever. Who is in charge, it reminds me a bit of what Henry Kissinger once said about Europe- when you want to know what they are thinking or doing,who do you ring ? I am disappointed at Archbishop Dermot Martin that he would not lead the way here. He knows Rome well it seems. Does the Nuncio consider or know the views of the many ordinary people I referred to at the outset who know what the real Tony Flannery is like. Does he even bother to find out ?

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