Tony Flannery Interview
On Sunday 10 January 2016 Tony Flannery and his brother Frank were interviewed by Miriam O Callaghan on rte radio 1.
Below is a link to the rte radio player where you can listen to the interview.
I was listening to this with interest. Extraordinary that all four members of the family entered into religious life at one stage.I was struck by the connection and support between those two brothers. I was obviously more interested in what Tony had to say as regards his treatment by the Church. While not wishing to enter the political scene,I think he raised points about the PAC which are relevant.Three well known TDs were very vocal at one stage-but the PAC seems to have gone dead of late, maybe because we have a system of rules and regulations here which Frank rightly availed of but which did not apply to Tony himself. I find it appalling that a priest of good repute and reputation in the Church here is treated so disgracefully.Tony spoke of the Papal Nuncio refusing to meet the ACP which is extraordinary. He was asked to sign a statement that women would never be ordained, to accept the Church’s teaching on sexuality including homosexuality. Just because he would not do so,he is now outside the fold. Is this in line with what Pope Francis is saying,and what is he doing about it in Tony’s case? It is extraordinary that no Bishop here has spoken out in this matter,why are they afraid to do so.The intervention of Bishop Crean to stop Tony speaking at a gathering in a community centre was extraordinary- not an explorer and boundary pusher like Tom Crean ? Is it any wonder so many turn their backs on the church when they see how it treats one of its own.
The question Tony should be asking the Pope in these types of forums is simply, “If 70% of parishioners wanted to Pope to ban celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church, would he entertain it?” Valid question. Also, if the same amount wanted women to be ordained, would this be looked at? Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not an infallible statement. Would this open the door that was closed by Pope John Paul II? Open the door. Tony is not outside the fold, he is very much in the fold and one of the only people who is in a constant position to bring these issues to light. Questions, questions, questions. Always question. These “slights” are opportunities and pray that there are more. The more active he is, the more likely things are not going to go his way which in turn will produce an opportunity for him to visit the press, make a statement but better yet, ask the Pope the questions that the laity wants asked. That and continue to poll your parishioners and keep a tally of the results.
Perhaps if twenty members (and then another twenty and so on ) of ACP very publicly concelebrate Mass (at which Tony Flannery preached) with Tony Flannery they would be declaring that Tony Flannery is not outside the fold. If they have the courage and conviction.
You probably have in mind Tony not taking part in the mass, but preaching at it, I dont know if that is partaking, but then lay people do this all the time at funerals etc. May be good idea but difficulty I see with that is that as Tony is banned publicly,the powers that be might use it to further isolate if not excommunicate him.I still hope that this good priest will be allowed back to full ministry before too long.
I believe John is suggesting something that could cause a ripple or at least a wave of sorts which in terms of the position the Global ACP is in, could have a resounding effect. This mass could be the initiation of world-wide members to show their solidarity towards this period of enlightenment that the Global ACP has pushed the Roman Catholic Church towards. I’m sure there are a dozen members world-wide who would place themselves within the cross-hairs that Tony currently sees himself in. Important that they invite the CDF to regard their stance as in direct violation of the Church. The CDF will not move forward on this. Solidarity will set Tony free. Acts of courage mean more now than ever. A dozen members will do and ensure there is at least one woman. Pope Francis has put the CDF on warning. We all know that.
“Perhaps even a letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine (of the Faith) will arrive for you, telling you that you said such or such thing … But do not worry. Explain whatever you have to explain, but move forward … Open the doors, do something there where life calls for it. I would rather have a Church that makes mistakes for doing something than one that gets sick for being closed up …”
If this isn’t a signal that it is time to rise up, I don’t know what is. Time is a river but it is one that flows in a circle and often through history we are able to touch the same flow twice. Let’s not mess this up. There has never been a safer time to act.