Monday, Nov. 10th 7PM St. Andrew UCC
6908 Beneva Rd. Sarasota, Florida 34238
Contacts: Bridget Mary Meehan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-505-0004
Lee Breyer email@example.com
Father Tony Flannery, an Irish priest censured by the Vatican will tour the U.S. speaking on the importance of conscience in the Catholic Church. The tour, sponsored by 12 progressive Catholic organizations, will cover 18 U. S. cities between October 22 and November 14, 2014.
Father Flannery has been a member of the Redemptorist Congregation for over 50 years, and is a founder of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Ireland. He is the author of several books including A Question of Conscience, Keeping the Faith, and The Death of Religious Life?
In February 2012 Flannery was summoned to Rome because the Vatican was unhappy with his writing on the origins of the Church, and when he suggested that the priesthood as we have it now was not as Christ intended. After being ordered to silence and suspended from priestly ministry, Fr. Flannery spent a year trying to reach agreement with Vatican officials. The final break came when he refused to sign a document stating that he accepted that women would never be priests, and that he accepted all the moral teachings of the Church.” Refusing the imposed silence, he began speaking publicly on the need for reform in the Church.
Fr. Flannery said he sees the U.S. tour as “a wonderful opportunity.”
He continued, “I believe that I, among others, have experienced significant injustice at the hands of the Vatican, in particular from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. They operate out of a system and mind-set that would be more at home in the sixteenth than the twenty-first century. The only way to combat that is to expose it to the light of day, and through the power of public opinion to make it impossible for the Vatican authorities to continue this type of behaviour. So I intend to name that for what it is, without any equivocation.”
When asked what he will discuss on the tour, Fr. Flannery said, “I will speak about how the Church’s rigid adherence to the tradition of an exclusively male, celibate priesthood is bringing about a Eucharistic famine, and causing the destruction of local faith communities. I see the tour of America as an opportunity to examine the essence of priesthood and to consider how it must be adapted and reformed so that it is at the service of the community. In this context, the role of the local Bishop, how such persons are appointed and their link with the Bishop of Rome also needs analysis.
“In this context I am also conscious of the Leadership of the American women religious, the LCWR. They have been treated in an equally unjust fashion, and I will do whatever I can to lend my support to them and to others who have suffered at the hands of the Vatican. “
Fr. Flannery’s national tour is sponsored by American Catholic Council, Call to Action, Catholics for Choice, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Catholics United, CORPUS, DignityUSA, FutureChurch, National Coalition of American Nuns, New Ways Ministry, Quixote Center and Women’s Ordination Conference. In (city name), his appearance is sponsored by (names of sponsoring groups).