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  1. Gina Menzies says:

    if Tony Flannery is to be excommunicted for raising issues that concern many members of the church then, to be consistent, the church must interrogate all its members, clerical and lay on these matters and proceed to mass excommunications.

  2. Joe O'Leary says:

    I signed, but can anything stop the reckless and selfdestructive behavior of the CDF?

  3. Sean (Derry) says:

    Good idea Noel. I suggest the Church reintroduce ‘THE OATH AGAINST MODERNISM’ and make it mandatory to be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.
    Now that I think about it I might start my own petition.

  4. John Kehoe says:

    With respect, I cannot see why this man wants to remain a Catholic Priest, and I for one support the cessation of his ministry, as there is a danger he will lead more souls astray, even possibly to damnation. If the blind lead the blind, BOTH fall into the pit. I am speaking principally about his take on some sexual ethics.

  5. And one reason why you are needed Tony.
    This is a 15 year old child who in great likleihood will end up completely self destructing. This is what the ‘Church’ is doing to a child, a child of God, a mother and father’s child – brother/sister – human being in the 21st century.
    God forgive them. God willing this particular child of God will realise his true inner strength – God’s love for him as for all others. Even in ‘hell’ this child can still have faith in the love of God. I hope some of you ‘out there’ eating altar rails are happy with yourselves – and know this child will know Heaven before you. He has already found Christ.
    “I find that my prayers to God only consist of, “I’m sorry.”
    There is nothing else inside, no loquacious depth or prattling, incessant and meaningless words. To God I can only growl through clenched teeth, gritted in pain, “I’m sorry.”
    There isn’t really a need to question what I am contrite towards. It has been the subject of my posts lately — really it is all I talk about.
    Church again tonight. I cried for the first time in months. I laid against the chairs as they dimmed the lights and wretchedly stared at the ceiling. There wasn’t a remote shred of worth in my soul then, as I had the opportunity to pray. There, in the darkened antechamber of my church edifice did I watch with bleak and resigned horror as my damnation unfolded. There was only the never-ending mantra, “I’m sorry.”
    I will just try and be a good person. There is no reward in the end, I don’t think. I wasn’t strong enough, or I wasn’t good enough. Whatever the reason there is no promised happiness when everything is put into place by God. I was born to be wretched — and as we are born with nothing, as such I will so die. The only hope is to bring as many as I can before God. If there is no hope for me, what vindictive spirit would I be if not to share the love of Christ? Just because such love has been hidden from me — that the benevolent face of Christ is shadowed with disappointment and even grief — does not exclude me from the holiest of mandates. I must love others, I must love God… These edicts I will continue to cherish.”
    He has not judged anyone – rather seeks to love as Christ did, does – not hide that love. We can be, do no different or the true ‘hell’ should be our lengthy abode.

  6. To Sean and Noel. If the CDF reintroduced the Anti Modernist Oath the Catholic Church would not have developed its understanding of the Scriptures and the various stands which led to Vatican II would have been aborted. I suggest that both of you read the Syllabus of Errors of Pius the 9th to get a sense of where we might be at today in terms of the that Catholic Church’s engagement with modern science. If this is a problem for you, you should never drive a car, never ever fly, never turn on an electric light and, of course, the world began 6004 year ago. You can’t have it both ways, lads. You are either part of the modern, scientific world or your happy to be a creationist in a geocentric world. I suggest that you get real.

  7. “This is a great idea, but I might suggest supplying a copy of priest identification to CDF, that way, the CDF can take swift action against dissenting priests and protect the Doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.”
    And supply to all the people of the Church the names and addresses of anyone in the CDF, and elsehwere amongst the hierarchy, those who re abused already deeply traumatised human beings, and compounded this with cover up, threats, harrassment and more abuse of those same individuals and their families. Then can take it to the next level. Like making it even – and laicising those who abuse the most innocent and vulnerable members of the Church and those who’d silence and punish those speaking out about such abuses/ers. Let’s start with naming those guilty of – and culpable in – the abuse of the 15 year old child above ? And pigs might fly.
    Just to keep it fair – truly charitable. 🙂

  8. John Kehoe, Tony Flannery wishes to remain a Catholic priest for that is what he is and has been since his ordination, ministering to fellow Christians, sharing their joys and concerns and bringing them the sacraments. His witness all these years, which has kept the faith alive in so many, seems to count for very little with the CDF, nor I would suggest the Redemptorists
    How sad that is.

  9. Gene Carr says:

    Sean McDonagh: Unless I am mistaken, the Anti-Modernist oath was in force right up to the end of Vatican II, as was the Index of forbidden books. One has to wonder then how the pre-councilor Catholic Church managed to “develop its understanding of the Scriptures and the various strands which lead to Vatican II . . .” A document like the Syllabus must be read within its historical context but I cannot for the life of me see what it has to do with driving cars, flying aeroplanes or electric lights. Pius IX quite correctly indentified the speculative Gnosticism behind words like “progress” and “liberalism” fueled as the were by speculative Gnostic such as Hegel, Comte, Marx. He also quite correcly saw that the alleged ‘scientific’ nature of these moods was a masquerade. He was not alone. Great thinkers such as DeTocqueville in France, Kierrkegaard in Denmark and Dostoyevski in Russia were haunted by similar fears that 19th Century ‘progress’ would end in bloody totalitarian tyrannies. The philosopher/historian Erik Voegelin described the Third Reich as “progressive modernity without restraint”.

  10. Gerard Alwill says:

    Having read Tony’s explanation of the issues that were raised in the Irish Catholic, I was more than happy to sign this petition. I am appalled by the attitude and the conduct of the CDF.
    The ACP has issued its statement in support of Tony, but perhaps it needs to do more. Has the time now come to hold an extraordinary national meeting of the Association in order to discuss how Tony and other good priests can be best protected from the vagaries of the CDF?

  11. I would like to appreciate what you are saying Kevin, but I am not aware of what you are talking about. Are you able to fill me in?

  12. All our lil ol’ personalities aside. And the near impossibility of communicating through this medium very often. I do believe everyone here is ‘pro life’ and the living. And until that day we can ‘be like’ and love ‘like the angels’ we gotta make the best of a bad lot quite often.
    Ending the day by asking, Who/What is God – to you ?
    Don’t think anyone would disagree with this random picked psalm.
    Psalm 37:9: “For with You is the fountain of Life; in your Light we see Light.”

  13. Christine Stewart says:

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for the Avaaz petition. I have signed and will get as many like-minded as possible to do also. For Fr Tony’s sake and that of so many others, I hope it will have an effect, sooner than later.

  14. Brendan Butler says:

    The Irish Catholic newspaper is a mouthpiece of those faceless ‘Vatican sources’ who are trying to undermine the credibility of Tony Flannery. Obviously these ‘vatican sources’ are worried that their secretive strategy of trying to have Tony removed both from their version of the ‘Church’ and forcing the Redemptorist General to dismiss him has badly backfired on them.
    The People of God must now reclaim our ‘Church’and have it refashioned and renewed in the Spirt of God and to rise from the ashes of absolutism.

  15. Sean (Derry) says:

    Brendan Butler, I wouldn’t be too hopeful with your petition, I don’t see many (if any) of the 1000 ACP priests shouting ‘I am Spartacus’.

  16. Anne Walsh says:

    I am very troubled about two key points in how Tony was dealt with by the CDF.
    (I am a teacher not a theologian, which may explain my concerns.)
    (i) He was warned to keep everything silent:
    (ii) he was threatened that if he didn’t do something which those in authority over him wanted done he would be punished.
    Those are the two ‘hot issues’ we, in schools, continually try to prepare children to deal with in a positive way. How many times have I said never let anyone force you to keep silent something you are uneasy about and always report bullying.
    Tony, you have done us all a great service in shouting ‘stop’

  17. Soline Humbert says:

    Like Anne Walsh @18 I am very troubled by the way the CDF dealt with Tony Flannery: The secrecy/silence. The unsigned letters. The absence of direct, face to face communication. In short the total lack of any open, fair, procedure. And like Anne I believe Tony has done the church and all of us a great service in exposing the deeply unjust system at work in the CDF. This,to me, is similar to the victims of sexual abuse sworn to secrecy by their abusers and those who covered up, who dared to bring it into the open.
    But I must add that I am also deeply troubled by the attitude of the Redemptorist Order, especially now that I have read this statement on the Redemptorists website:
    “Statement by Most Rev. Fr. Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R. Superior General of the Redemptorists.
    As Superior General of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, I deeply regret the recent actions undertaken by Father Tony Flannery, C.Ss.R.
    In January, 2012, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith raised concerns about some of the writings of Fr. Flannery which were ambiguous regarding fundamental areas of Catholic doctrine, including the priesthood, the nature of the Church, and the Eucharist.He was instructed to undertake a period of prayer and theological reflection to clarify his positions on these matters. During this sabbatical period, he was instructed not to grant interviews or make public statements, and to withdraw from active involvement in the leadership of the ACP, especially since the priesthood was one of the matters on which he was asked to clarify his position. He was also instructed to withdraw from active priestly ministry during this period of prayer and reflection.
    Once again, I earnestly invite my confrere Fr. Flannery to renew the efforts to find an agreed solution to the concerns raised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith.
    Finally, I invite my Redemptorist confreres of the Irish Province to join with me in praying and working together in the spirit of St Alphonsus to maintain and strengthen our communion with the Universal Church.”

    What deeply troubles me is that the head of the Redemptorist order does not express any concern (awareness?) about the unjust procedures of the CDF.
    In fact it would appear that he did collude with them, in the sense that he agreed to being a go-between for the CDF. He has allowed himself to be an instrument in the victimization of Tony Flannery.
    The Church deserves better from the Redemptorist order: They were not founded for this.
    That is how the widespread systemic abuse of power functions in the church. For it to continue and to permeate every aspect of church life, as it does, there has to be a lot of “guilty bystanders” and a great many willing enablers.
    Further to my comment @19, I want to add that I am also disturbed by the fact that the Statement by the Leadership Team of the Irish Redemptorists of January 20th(posted on this website as an entry on that date)is not (no longer?)on the Dublin Redemptorists website. The only statement there is now the one by the Superior General which I have quoted in full @19.
    Therefore the (very mild) critique contained in the Provincial Leadership Team statement has disappeared:
    “It is of immense regret that some structures or processes of dialogue have not yet been found in the Church which have a greater capacity to engage with challenging voices from among God’s people, while respecting the key responsibility and central role of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
    The “immense regret at the lack of structures&processes for dialogue in the church” has been replaced by “I deeply regret the recent actions undertaken by Father Tony Flannery, C.Ss.R”
    Now we know who is to blame: The victim! for daring bring to light the abusive process.
    Abusive power doesn’t brook any criticism.
    It is night. Let us light our candles, throw light on the injustices and help dispel the darkness.

  18. Been wondering about my own agenda Anne. We all have them.
    Right now. That I am given just one good reason to leave, and leave for good, other than bullying, threats, intimidation and, “If you don’t like it – just leave.” Trust me and I am very sincere about this agenda. One, just one really good reason that tells me there is no hope for change and I’m gone.
    And in truth part of me hopes and at some level prays to God for the one reason.

  19. You are right Soline. I did not like the tone of that letter either. Sitting on fences. I did not mention before cause I know now there are good men here from this order – and reading about it I see they do such very seriously great good in the world. What they do with AIDS in parts of the world. There is so so much good.
    But you are right in what you say. They compound the betrayal of Fr Tony with this I’d imagine. Only he can know that.
    Sorry to call it for what it is. Not the first time and not the last am sure. Like us all at times – just so full of crap.
    Get honest – get real, and stop these people treating you LIKE CRAP.
    I was listening to a man, a very good priest, who shall remain nameless though am sure in Heaven. One of the most ‘traditional’ of priests I am sure I’ve ever encountered. He said, “The greatest problems in the world today are not drugs, not abortion (etc) – no, it’s a lack of love – of the neighbour as the self. We must love each other truly.”
    That man spoke the truth. I don’t see people arguing abortion, or this that or the other really.
    All just trying to find ways of living the great command of Christ – to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOUR SELF.
    Demonising human beings in any form or fashion is not loving them.
    I find the practice of my faith really helping these days. Seriously it does. But the hypocrisy and lack of love and compassion of those ‘at the top’ – down, destroys it.
    So you are left wondering to seriously wipe the dust off your feet and move on.
    Pity if that happens and am sure not God’s will. Christian Unity week. That we all be One as Christ and the Father are One.
    I don’t believe He was talking about us all being forced into some dark age model of ‘Roman Catholic’ism either. More about how truly the same and connected we all are at so many and indeed every level, with everything.
    May the Holy Spirit illuminate us all.

  20. Thanks for initiating that petition, Brendan. I signed it, of course. But it hasn’t yet come through avaaz as other petitions do. That would make it accessible worldwide. Can anything be done about that? Granted there are other problems in the world but, I was thinking, the silencing of people who speak for justice is a serious violation of human rights and, as history has shown, can lead to devastating consequences.

  21. Colm Holmes says:

    In the statement by the Redemptorist’s Superior General Fr Michael Brehl issued yesterday it is interesting to note that he refers to the issues raised by the CDF with Fr Tony Flannery in January 2012. Those issues “… raised some concerns about some writings of Fr Tony Flannery which were ambiguous regarding fundamental areas of catholic doctrine, including priesthood, the nature of the church and the Eucharist.”
    On the Pat Kenny radio show (RTE1 25 Jan 2013) Fr Tony Flannery said that by June 2012 he had replied to the CDF regarding these issues and the CDF seemed to accept his replies.
    But in September 2012 Fr Tony Flannery says the CDF raised further issues including women priests and sexual teachings, which had not been raised before. This was the breaking point.
    It is sad to see that Fr Michael Brehl only refers to the initial issues of CDF concern and makes no reference to the additional issues on women priests and sexual teachings which led to the breaking point. Nor does Fr Michael Brehl show any concern for the way the CDF is treating Fr Tony Flannery (and many others!) in refusing to meet with him, refusing to dialogue with him and demanding secrecy about their methods of inquisition. Fr Michael Brehl is certainly following the 3 commandments of the Vatican: 1. Obedience 2. Obedience 3. Obedience
    Fr Tony Flannery is truly following Christ’s one commandment to love one another. I thank God for his courage in standing up to the Inquisition. Reform of the CDF and Vatican is overdue. Like the fall of the Berlin Wall it will catch everyone by surprise when the spirit of reform arrives!

  22. Soline,
    Thank you for bringing Fr. Brehl’s statement to our attention. I, too, find it very disappointing.

  23. Anne Walsh says:

    I would be slow to condemn Fr Michael Brehl for his actions towards Tony Flannery- primarily because I think it is clear from what Tony Flannery has said that the Redemptorists as a family have been torn apart by the actions of the CDF. Fr Brehl, is clearly doing what he is instructed to do and no doubt he is struggling with being the one who is forced to take such action.
    What Redemptorist would want his job ?

  24. Willie Herlihy says:

    I believe the loving and caring church of Pope John XXX111 and all the reforming structures of Vatican 11 has been remade into a totalitarian structure reminiscent of the Poland Pope John Paul 11 grew up in.
    It is akin to a communist structure with the general secretary at the top and the polit bureau populated by yes men.
    In my youth I felt so energized by Vatican 11.and the manner it which it proposed to involve the laity i.e. the people of God and the Bishops managing the Church with the Pope e.g. collegiality.
    Now I feel sad where the vast majority of the 20-40 age groups are so completely alienated from the church I love, let me qualify this statement.
    The church I love is now at parish level, the Eucharist, the wonderful priests who are so in tune with their flock
    Attached please find the contents of an email I sent to Pope Benedict XV1 on April 10th. I did not even receive an acknowledgement.
    Dear Holy Father;
    I am an Irish lay Catholic aged seventy,
    I am writing to you Holy Father, because I am sad at the direction you are leading the Church in.
    I have been outraged, by an article I read in the local news paper, concerning the investigation being carried out into Fr Tony Flannery, one of the founders of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland.
    I believe the investigation is being carried out by people from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith. This organization should now be known by its original title, the Roman and Universal Inquisition.
    The Association of Catholic Priests is in tune with its flock, more than can be said for the Hierarchy, who have been preoccupied with defending the Institution, at the expense of the poor unfortunate People, who were abused while in the care of the same Institution,
    In tune with the manner in which totalitarian organizations operate, discussion of certain subjects is banned i.e. compulsory celibacy, and the ordination of Women. These are man made rules and do not come from Sacred Scripture.
    When you see fit, those rules can be bent e.g. welcoming the extreme right wing Bishops from the Anglican Community, who left their Church because of their objection to the ordination of Women. They were welcomed as Priests with open arms, complete with their Wife’s, into the Catholic Church, what hypocrisy.
    I am now an old man, when I look around my Church on Sundays; I am saddened by the virtual absence of young People in their 20s/30s.
    In your Ivory Tower, you probably are not aware the Church is not attracting young People.
    You will destroy the Church if you continue leading by dictates.
    A third Vatican Council is required, to re-open those windows, mentioned by Pope John the XX111 that you and your predecessors have blocked up.
    I remember when his Holiness Pope John XX111; opened the 2nd Vatican Council on the 11th of October 1962, with such hope that the Church was to be made relative to life in the 20th Century.
    In various discussions before the Council actually convened, Pope John XX111 often said that it was time to open the windows of the Church to let in some fresh air. His Church was one where every body was valued for what they could contribute, some decision making was to be decentralized from Rome. DISCUSSION WAS ENCOURAGED.
    You, and your processors, particularly Pope John Paul 11, have consistently rowed back from all of what he stood for, not only have you closed the windows, you have blocked them up.
    You have returned the leadership of the Church, to a totalitarian structure, concentrated in an Ivory Tower in the Vatican, with you at its head, leading, not like a loving Pastor but more akin to a Dictator.
    I close with a quote from Pope John XX111:
    The feelings of my smallness and my nothingness always kept me good company.
    Yours respectfully
    Willie Herlihy.

  25. Malcolm R says:

    It is surprising that his brothers in the ACP and many others have not publicly supported the position of Tony. Perhaps they think,’there but for the grace of God, go I’
    An example of a recent campaign, ‘Idle no more’,inspired by a hunger fast by an Aboriginal chief, in Canada, brought tens of thousands into the streets to demand a meeting from the Prime Minister of Canada
    It would help if progressive bishops such as Willie Walsh played a part in ‘The Dialogue’, which Benedict said show be part of the social media.
    As Christ himself said; ‘I am with you always’.
    It is time to launch out into the deep~~~

  26. Soline Humbert says:

    There is a different way for a religious community facing abusive power. ” I cannot be used by the Vatican to deliver an order of silencing”.
    Once upon a time the courageous head of a religious community decided not to bow to pressure from the Vatican to put a religious under a precept of obedience. It was in connection with Sr Joan Chittister whom we had invited to speak at the 2001 Dublin WOW Conference on the ordination of women. Sister Joan Chittister’s superior, Christine Vladimiroff, O.S.B., said that she was ordered by the Vatican to prohibit Sister Chittister from attending the conference, but she refused. “Sister Joan Chittister, who has lived the monastic life with faith and fidelity for 50 years, must make her own decision based on her sense of church, her monastic profession and her own personal integrity,” said Sister Vladimiroff. “I cannot be used by the Vatican to deliver an order of silencing. I do not see her participation in this convention as a ‘source of scandal to the faithful’ as the Vatican alleges. I think the faithful can be scandalized when honest attempts to discuss questions of import to the church are forbidden.”Sr Joan Chittister, her prioress and all her community but one stood in solidarity and declared themselves ready to be excommunicated rather than violate their consciences. Sr Joan Chittister spoke at the Conference. The Vatican backed down and lied, claiming it had never actually threatened excommunication….(sounds familiar?). The power of loving integrity and solidarity. I have never forgotten that witness. It is possible to say “No” to abusive power because one has said “Yes” to the One who is Love.That’s when the vicious cycle of spiritual violence is broken. That is what we must pray for.

  27. Willie, that letter and your words, leave me absolutely speechless.
    What a powerful testimony! Oh, that I could hear you read it in person! Wow………Thank You…..You made my day!

  28. Willie (26) What a statement of fact your letter is. I can but wonder if the person it is addressed to will ever actually see it? We can but hope.

  29. Brendan Butler says:

    Just to assure everyone that although I inaugurated the petition I or anyone alse have no access to the names of people who have signed the petition.So the CDF will have to accept just the numbers who have signed and furthermore the Asaaz website will not accept anyone who is trying to sign twice – I have tried ! All the information is as contained on the Asaaz website. So don’t be afraid let’s make it at least 3000 !
    Brendan Butler

  30. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Surely, Brendan, that is the greatest weakness of an electronic petition such as this? Tony Flannery doesn’t have the luxury of anonymity – if he did, his witness would not be witness. Our “invisible signatures” are a pain-free non-witness which lets us feel momentarily that we’re doing something we’re not. 3,000 or 300,000 “electronic signatures” that don’t actually clutter up the workings of the CDF machine are as big a myth as that Benedict is an active multilingual member of the Twitter fraternity. He and we are just technological dabblers! The ACI letter to Nuncio Brown, on the other hand, has the virtue of reality – it would be even stronger if it had 3,000 real signatures attached.

  31. You have a point Eddie. Online petitioning needs real life back up or should be used to back up real life campaigning.
    Something you might try. Compose an email/letter that can be emailed to the Vatican or the Nunciature in Ireland, or preferably both, and make that available also to people ‘out there’. People just add their signatures, addresses if able, and send it off.
    Some years ago I went online and made myself known on one or two international forums, and was so desperate at one point, asked those people to help and if possible write and email. It all went to Rome though not the Vatican in this instance. And those letters and emails went, from people I’d only come to know online, good people – were delivered and read I later was told. And they helped literally save a life.
    And anyone else reading – get your cyber hats on and go to work.
    Ask your friends, contacts to write or email. Just need the name of person you wish to address and addresses. Put them up.
    I’d suggest rather than demanding – using some canon law spiel to good effect.
    Might be like trying to deflect an incoming meteor with a tooth pick, but the Lord works in mysterious ways, and we are all encouraged to use every means and mode of communication to ‘evangelize’.
    Might be worth a try.
    Though I’d contact Avaaz and ask about accessing those names too. I saw people all over the planet sign. Clearly some had no problem adding pieces of information that might make them identifiable. So there are people certainly willing to do what they can. Look at the lawyer whose parents are from Donegal asking to help.
    As the saying goes, “Don’t be a bit bird mouthed…… “

  32. Kathleen Faley says:

    I signed that petition in support of Fr. Tony Flannery C.Ss.R.for the stance he has presently taken against the CDF by not signing a statement which he could not in keeping with his conscience sign.

  33. Brendan Butler says:

    We now live in an e age and while our snail mail is still important for human communication we can now at a button reach a global audience which this petition has reached and continues to do so. While the CDF may try to ignore the numbers involved the awareness about Tony’s unjust treatment by the CDF has created a need for some quick form of globalised support which Tony is now receiving. It is also important that so many people throughout the world have Tony in their thoughts and prayers in order to literally support him at this time of his prophetic witness. All our signatures are like tiny pebbles which individually will not break down the unjust walls of oppression which exist in our Church but if we all act in unison sooner rather than later our pebbles will bring down these walls -after all we have the Pneuma of the Holy Spirit at our backs .

  34. Friday, February 1, is the Feast Day of St. Brigid of Kildare. I am a firm believer in prayer, and in intercessory prayer. I know that “prayer power lines” are quite well developed in our neighboring Christian families, but I really do suggest, intentional prayer on Friday with Christ, Mary, and St. Brigid for all the concerns and needs around renewal and the groups and people involved. I know I am going to make sure that I pray for your intentions to and with St. Brigid on Friday. If you think, it’s a good idea, I invite you to do that! So, it’s a petition of prayer!

  35. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Brendan, you tell me “We now live in an e age . . .”. Now I wonder where you think I live? I’ve just signed two e-petitions in the past six hours:
    1) a HM Government petition on SADS (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome). It’s much more flexible than the AVAAZ type and much more effective. It’s had 135 UK signatures in the past hour (compared with our 6 Worldwide signatures in the same hour – allowing for population differences). Its 102,313 signatures mean the petition will be raised in parliament.
    2) a GO-Petition against closing of our local A&E – totally visible signatures (anonymity optional but rarely availed of) – space for individual comment – everything that AVAAZ does not offer.
    My quarrel is obviously not against e-petitions. Your assurance (@32 above) that nobody at CDF or anywhere else will know who we are is what I find curious. Frankly, does anyone give a tuppenny damn? The quality of our petition and our signatures should be what we hold important, not the quantity of anonymous clicks to make up a number. Tony Flannery doesn’t have anonymity – why should we think we’re doing something worthwhile by sending the CDF a bunch of invisible clicks on AVAAZ’s virtual letterhead? You say that after all we have the pneuma of the Holy Spirit at our backs. Will she be travelling incognito too?
    Two old comrades chew the fat over their mid-morning schnapps.
    Comrade Ratzinger: “So how many battalions have the two Brendans?”
    Comrade Mueller: “Relax Holiness. Just a vanguard with a virtual international brigade, invisible, anonymous keyboard warriors.”
    Comrade Ratzinger: “Ah well . . . what should I tweet today?”
    Comrade Mueller: “Don’t bother your head over Twitter, Holiness. Leave it to me. Take an early siesta instead.”

  36. Soline Humbert says:

    @37 Darlene
    With reference to your good suggestion of praying very specially on St Brigid’s Day, Matron saint of Ireland, for all concerned with renewal in our church, there is a nice little piece from the Life of Brigid as contained in Leabhar Breac:
    “Brigid went, along with other virgins, to Telcha Mide, to receive a nun’s veil from Bishop Mel. It happened that through the bounty of the Holy Spirit, the rite of Ordination of a Bishop was read over Brigid. Mac Caille said that it was not right to confer the status of a bishop on a woman. Bishop Mel, said, however:
    We have no power over it, because it is from God himself that this honour came to her
    – an honour beyond that of any other woman.
    For this reason, the men of Ireland, bestow the honour due to a bishop on Brigid’s successor.”
    A lot of things can happen through the bounty of the Holy Spirit, then and now! Let us not put limits to it…

  37. Phil Rogers says:

    Hang in there, Tony.
    You speak on behalf of millions of Catholics who have been betrayed by Roman inaction and hyprocisy.
    The Church that was my beacon of hope until recently is self-destructing. This is because of the medieval attitudes of Rome and its minions towards the honesty of priests like you and towards the intelligence of the Catholic laity.
    We are not ignorant serfs to bend the knee and kiss the rings of bishops any more. Enough is enough.
    If the Church “Leaders” do not listen to the people, there will be but a skeleton Church in the future. And that would be a tragedy for the coming generations.
    We are the Church. And Christ is with us. He was betrayed by Peter before, but Peter repented. I pray that the present Peter and his hierarchy will heed the words of Christ: Love is the greatest … Jesus spoke the truth and loves those who speak it today.
    Man God and Mary be with us all.
    Hang in, Tony. You speak for me!

  38. I too have signed the petition. I hope that Fr Flannery will continue to give his conscience primacy over the dictates of the CDF. What is really sad about all of this is that the Church, whether in Dublin or Rome, appears not to be aware of just how precarious its reputation is among the People of God throughout Europe and elsewhere. My prayer is that it will be be the people of God, prompted by the Spirit, that will bring this important phase of the life of the Church to its appropriate conclusion. The People of God can live without the institutional church; the institutional church cannot live without the People of God.

  39. Jane Anderson says:

    In my experience of launching or being involved in petitions directed at the hierarchy, the message falls on deaf ears.
    Neverteless petitions do have value. They galvanise people in their views, give individuals an outlet to vent frustrations, and create a sense of collective empowerment. The day will come, and sooner with the advent of collective petitioning. This is about becoming a People of God, and not just one-with-a-Pope of God.

  40. A Scottish gaelic tv documentary a couple of evenings ago undertook an interview with a Monsignor in Vienna who finds himself, like Fr Flannery, on the wrong side of the CDF. The Monsignor has taken a stand despite all kinds of threats from Rome and from his Archdiocese – the result has been for his church to be packed with families and young people every SUnday and for most of the weekday Masses. People are travelling across the city and from the countryside to attend – why? – because he has now welcomed all Catholics; divorced, separated, openly gay couples. People who feel such a desire to be faithful to God in communion with their fellow Christians and their Church, are being nourished and fed, supported and loved. Another result; the creation of a real comminity of faith; envigorated and envigorating. Sadly, like the pharisees of Jesus’ time, this strikes terror into the institutional Church because they fear no longer being in control.
    I believe that the time has come for the middle aged heterosexual celibate virgins (well, some of them) to look and listen to the results of the Holy Spirit around them and realise that the Spirit blows where he or she will and not when and where the Church says it should or does!

  41. Bob Hayes says:

    Would those who wish the Church to reflect (rather than guide) souls in the twenty-first century, care to reflect what it is that they seek? Will they think about what it is they say you want: a Church reflecting people’s lives and outlook today? Think about it!
    Yes, it is feasible that you would have a Church that ended clerical celibacy, embraced the ordination of women, the use of contraception, accepted homosexual acts and ‘gay marriage’ and managed its affairs by way of committees, listening groups, quality circles and consultations.
    But if the Church is really to embrace contemporary views, we will also have a Church that is ambivalent about abortion, moderately xenophobic, hostile to immigrants, Travelling and Romany people and (certainly in Britain and the US) ardently supportive of the death penalty.
    Now, do you really want the Church to reflect twenty-first century society? I really do think you should come clean!

  42. Charlie Meagher says:

    Thanks to Fr Tony for his prophetic stance. So badly needed at this time. I joined with the ACI group last Sunday and was so impressed at the enthusiasm of the group

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