Bridget Mary's Response;
Prominent Irish journalixt, John Cooney, does an outstanding analysis of the Vatican vendetta against one of our modern day prophets, Irish Redemptorist, Tony Flannery in the article below. Tony received an enthusiastic welcome here in Florida in 2014 on his 23 city speaking tour: "The Catholic tipping point." With Irish wit, he named the challenges that our church faces to be credible in our world today. No surprise, Tony has been banned as a speaker in Ireland by Bishop Crean of Cloyne as he prepares to come to the United States to speak at Women's Ordination Worldwide. As we prepare to welcome Pope Francis to the United States, we also welcome Tony and his message of gender equality! Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org
Irish Journalist John Cooney from Dublin writes:
Ireland’s Papal Nuncio Charles Brown scored a spectacular own goal by highlighting the ineffectuality of the Vatican’s ‘silencing’ of dissident Redemptorist priest Tony Flannery, whose continued marginalisation from public ministry at home is more than matched by his celebrity emergence as a top speaker at an international conference next month in Philadelphia in support of the ordination of women priests just days before Pope Francis’s first visit to the Land of the Free.
In his first extended interview last week-end since his promotion to Ireland three years ago an unusually reverential Irish Times coverage backfired on the Manhattan-born Brown when Religious Affairs Correspondent Patsy McGarry twinned the lofty musings of Rome’s domineering clerical governor in Ireland about the piety of the natives with a news report that the Bishop of Cloyne, William Crean, had ordered the east Cork parish pastoral council of Killeagh to cancel its invitation to the co-founder of the Association of Irish Priests to address it in the local community hall at the end of September.
Flannery, who in 2012 was suspended from public ministry for his liberal views on the ordination of women, homosexuality, divorce and contraception by the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, (CDF), hit a bull’s eye with his immediate retort that “the ease with which the bishop dismissed the pastoral council” illustrated how “meaningless is all this talk of giving more power to the laity”, particularly “in the age of Pope Francis.”
While paying due filial homage to the current reform-minded occupant of the Petrine See, the garrulous Brown spent much of his interview congratulating himself on masterminding the appointment of 10 new bishops including his Munster mole, Crean of Cloyne, in the wake of the clerical child abuse scandals. Nor did the swaggering Dean of the Diplomatic Corps hide his awe of Pope John Paul II’s unconcealed intolerance of an “open church’, as well as his abiding admiration for the intellectuality of his former boss at the CDF, Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict.
What the Flannery-deprived simple faithful of Killeagh are deemed unfit to hear will not extend to the star-filled panel of speakers at the Women’s Ordination Worldwide conference in Philly from September 18-20. Actor Martin Sheen and leading Benedictine nun Sister Joan Chittister have endorsed the conference goal of promoting the admission of Catholic women to all ordained ministries.
Worse still from the perspective of the Brown-Crean exclusively male boys-only club is that the excommunicated Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) led by Irish-born Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan will be in a stone’s throw to Philadelphia on September 24. At Pendle Hill, Pennsylvania Blessed Bridget Mary will ordain three new women bishops from Latin America, Canada and the United States, Olga Lucia Alvarez of Medellin, Colombia, Michele Birch Conery of Windsor, Ontario, and Mary E. Collingwood of Hudson, Ohio. Meehan, who hosted a previous visit by Flannery to Sarasota, Florida, told Goldhawk of how popular a public speaker he is. ‘Everyone lines up to attend Tony’s talks and buy his books especially his Question of Conscience, banned by the hierarchy. Doesn't the bishop of Cloyne realize that Tony is promoting reform in the church?”
Obviously, not Charlie Broon, who was faced with the glum statistic on Sunday when the national seminary of Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth welcomed a mere 17 new seminarians for the priesthood, four of them Northern dioceses who will study in the unworldly sanctuary of Saint Malachy’s College in Belfast. Remarkably, Charlie stressed that it was the CDF, not his office, which launched the vendetta against Flannery and four other Irish theological writers. He displayed American amnesia that ex-President Mary McAleese pleaded with him to promote, not punish, Flannery. Nor did Brown show any sign of realising the enormity of Mother Church’s defeat in the marriage equality referendum in May.
Without mentioning Eamon Gilmore who closed the Embassy to the Holy See, the New Yorker waxed eloquent about how Emma Madigan, Ireland’s “incredibly competent” envoy to the reopened embassy is “doing an amazing job” and is “well-liked by everyone, including the pope.”
Amazingly, Brown gave no update on what he prematurely revealed last year – Pope Francis is likely to make a short visit to Ireland next year. Is that what Emma is chatting to Francis about and was this why Brown was in Rome for high level talks in May. Is a planned papal visit in 2016 – the first since John Paul II in 1979 – on the cards and is that why Taoiseach Inda is rediscovering Catholic devotionalism at Knock Shrine in his shiny warden’s uniform along with his new best friend, Gov. Brown?
Hopefully, Francis is also sounding out Marie Collins, who is advising him as a leading member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, on how secular Ireland might not yet be ready to welcome him.
More about Father Tony Flannery:
People of Conscience: A conversation with Fr. Tony Flannery
An evening hosted by Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, Sarasota, Florida
This document is intended to provide basic information to answer commonly asked questions about the Catholic Tipping Point tour with Fr. Tony Flannery
Why we are here:
- Fr. Tony Flannery is an example of what a priest should be: a pastoral, thoughtful, inclusive and engaging leader, yet he’s been bullied by the Vatican for working to revitalize our wounded Church. We are inspired by Fr. Flannery’s determination to make Vatican II reforms a greater reality in the Church and excited to hear more about how lay people and priests can work together to co-create the Church we believe in. The Church we deserve.
- The institutional Church has tried to silence Fr. Flannery and has suspended him from his ministry claiming his writings were in conflict with Catholic teaching. Yet Fr. Flannery has refused to violate his conscience or abandon his work for justice in the Church he loves. We too face pressure from the hierarchy to quietly acquiesce, but we know our Church needs members who believe it can be better. We are proud of our history and inspired by the many saints who questioned authority, stood strong for what their conscience told them was right and demanded dialogue over unjust punishment.
- For our Church to regain its vitality, we need to join together to honestly discuss the issues and be work to make our Church a more open place. The Catholic climate has changed. Priests are organizing, sisters are speaking out, and the laity are assuming their rights as expressed in Vatican II. We are ready to work together to transform the Church. We are ready for the Catholic Church to embrace the radical notion of dialogue.
- The Catholic Tipping Point speaking tour is co-sponsored by 11 lay-led Catholic organizations. We have joined together to bring Fr. Flannery to audiences of progressive Catholics and advocates of a more open Church across the country. This is the second national tour which the coalition has organized to discuss the future of ministry and leadership in our Church.
- Like many of his generation, Fr. Tony Flannery began his journey to priesthood as a teenager in the 1950s and has been a faithful servant of the Church ever since. As a young priest his formation was infused with the values and spirit of Vatican II, and it is in that spirit that he continues to advocate for a Church that is in step with the modern world. He is “one of many Catholics who claim the freedom to find God and proclaim the God they see in the community, rather than serving a God of clerical systems and canonical limits,” writes Anthony Padovano in his book review.
- Fr. Tony Flannery is a founder and active leader of The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), a grassroots group which acts to provide priests with an opportunity and a voice to engage in the debates taking place in Irish society and which advocates for a “full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council.”
- In 2012, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith demanded that Fr. Flannery step down from leadership at the Association of Catholic Priests and sign an oath agreeing to official Church teachings about contraception, ordination, homosexuality and the inability of women to be priests. He refused.
- The CDF tried to silence Fr. Flannery but he has continued to lead the ACP, which stood with him, and to speak out for Church reform through his book, speaking tours and interviews with the media.