Broadcaster Bill O'Herlihy launched Fr Tony Flannery's book "A Question of Conscience" in the Royal Hibernian Academy on the 12th of September 2013. Fr Flannery has a glimmer of hope that his book may contribute in a small way to bring about a new openness in the RC church to allow open and fearless discussion. This the book does by clearly bringing the ‘arcane’ CDF watchdog workings to light in the way he has witnessed them. And he noted many others have also suffered grievously at the hands of the CDF, most notably Fr Sean Fagan. The book is not available in VERITAS, but EASONS, AMAZON and other good bookshops all have copies available.
Patsy McGarry – IRISH TIMES – 12 September 2013 writes online:
Tony Flannery details unhappy dealings with Vatican in book
Silenced priest says best way to serve church is bringing ‘arcane’ watchdog workings to light
Fr Tony Flannery launched A Question of Conscience today.
Silenced Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery said in Dublin tonight he believed the best way he could continue to serve the Church was by bringing into the light of day “the arcane and unjust processes that are the modus operandi of the Vatican watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).”
This was particularly the case as he had “given up hope of being allowed to minister as a priest again.”
Fr Flannery was silenced, removed from public ministry and threatened with excommunication by the Vatican last year because of his views on priesthood and Catholic teaching in the area of human sexuality.
Speaking tonight in the Royal Hibernian Academy at the launch of his new book A Question of Conscience by broadcaster Bill O’Herlihy, he said “it seemed to me that we had reached the end of the road. I was forbidden to minister as a priest and the conditions of returning to ministry were such that I could not comply with them without compromising my integrity.”
Up to then “I had remained silent and observed the strictures of secrecy imposed by the Church authorities. My decision to go public was made slowly and carefully and for a very specific reason,” he said.
A Question of Conscience outlines how he was summoned to Rome in June 2012 and told that unless he revised his view that the church should be open to discussing subjects he raised, he would not be allowed minister as a priest and would have to step aside from his leadership role with the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP).
Having written for the Redemptorist’s magazine Reality for 14 years, Fr Flannery was surprised to find himself suddenly coming to the attention of the CDF. It was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.
“That such a body, with such a global remit, would be interested in articles published in a magazine with a monthly readership of 6,000 was unexpected in the extreme. What followed was a series of encounters that seemed to defy both logic and justice,” Fr Flannery said.
Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese has written the foreword to A Question of Conscience. She said “Tony will soon celebrate the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood and what a priesthood it has been.”
He had been, she said, “a deeply empathetic and listening pastor, a preacher and teacher par excellence, a loving but scrupulously faithful critic of his fallible and at times failing Church, a man of faith and courage, unafraid to be a voice of contradiction, to turn his back on the crowd and lead in the direction he conscientiously believes the Lord is calling.”
A Question of Conscience is available in most book shops and at the website www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie