In February 2012 Tony Flannery, founder member of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland, best-selling author and regular columnist with Reality magazine, was informed that the Vatican watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), was unhappy with some of his writings. He was summoned to Rome and told that until he revised his views he would not be allowed to minister as a priest or have any dealings with media. He was to step down as leader of the ACP. Although he offered a statement of clarification and it seemed as if the matter were closed, a few months later the CDF made further, draconian demands, including a statement from him that he accepted all the moral teachings of the Church and that women could never be ordained priests.
The CDF forbade him to return to priestly ministry, or be involved with the ACP, until he agree to publish this statement. He was put under 'formal precept of obedience' not to attend the AGM of the ACP (he did attend it). During all the time in question the CDF never communicated directly with him. Documentation came through the leader of his own community on typed A4 pages with no heading, stamp or signature. He was warned about the need for total secrecy and threatened with excommunication and dismissal from the Redemptorists.
Tony Flannery became convinced that he would never be allowed to return to ministry and that the real target of the CDF was his role in the Association of Catholic Priests. He went public on the matter in January 2013. A Question of Conscience, which includes CDF documentation, provides conclusive proof of the Vatican's determination to stamp out what it regards as dissent, no matter how unjust the methods it uses.
|Publication date||21 Oct 2013|