to Hanley, Fagan's constant mission was to help people understand the prodigal
love of God -- "we all matter, we are all loved by God without reference to
privilege or status."
told me there were times he wept after hearing confessions in the past, to see
the damage done by the church to people's sense of self, the poor moral
development and the desperate scruples than many suffered," she said. "Sean had
no tolerance for clerical privilege. ... He rarely wore the black suit and Roman
collar. He had a deep distaste for episcopal robes and pomp and
A prominent Irish theologian has strongly criticized the absence of Irish bishops from the funeral Mass of moral theologian, Marist Fr. Sean Fagan, who was censured by the Vatican in 2008, and who died on July 15.
Augustinian Fr. Gabriel Daly, 88, wrote in a blog on the Association of Catholic Priests' website that the presence of a bishop at Fr Fagan's funeral would have been "a golden occasion to express metanoia and the readiness to respond more sensitively to the message of the Gospel" and it would have meant so much to the Marist priest's family.
The Augustinian, who recently published The Church -- Always in Need of Reform, said the presence of a bishop at Fagan's funeral would have given witness to the triumph of Gospel values over institutional church attitudes. "Regrettably no bishop was present," he wrote. "I believe that this omission was not personal; it was institutional."
"It is highly probable that many bishops knew that the Roman Curia had behaved in a thoroughly unjust and unchristian fashion when it attacked six Irish priests who were giving admirable and enlightened service to God's people," he continued. "No bishop expressed public disapproval of what was happening, or came to the defense of priests who were being treated so appallingly by men who would have described themselves, somewhat implausibly, as Christians."
His criticism was echoed by another censured Irish priest, Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery, who toldNCR, "It is a matter of shame for Church authorities, both in the Vatican and Ireland, that he was treated so dreadfully in his later years."