Priest leaves senior post in Vatican protest
A Dublin parish priest has resigned a senior position in the archdiocese in protest against the treatment by the Vatican of Fr Tony Flannery.
Fr Flannery has been silenced by Rome for questioning mandatory celibacy for priests, the Vatican ban on women priests and the harshness of church teaching on homosexuality.
Fr John Hassett has stood down as dean of the Maynooth deanery in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese “over an issue that is neither specifically my own nor diocesan.
However, justice has no frontiers.” In a posting on the Association of Catholic Priests website, he said: “In this case it is the disrespectful and unjust treatment of Fr Tony Flannery that moves me to this action.”
Fr Hassett is parish priest/ moderator in the west Dublin parishes of Esker, Doddsboro, Adamstown and Lucan. He is in his second term as elected dean of the Maynooth deanery.
“It is extremely distressing and depressing the manner in which Fr Flannery has been dealt with by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” Fr Hassett said.
“I was ordained nearly 33 years ago and can say with certitude that if the truth were told, some of his views are shared by many priests of the archdiocese of Dublin.
“It is a sad reflection on the rights of the person and the pre-eminence of conscience that a man of such integrity, kindness and stature is treated in such a manner. “ Of course, he is not the first and perhaps will not be the last to be thus treated as Rome is a law unto itself.” He continued: “We now live in a church where courage is silenced by fear, and one can only reflect that the gospel we cherish and struggle to live seems to be a ‘dead letter’ within Vatican bureaucracy.”
Fr Hassett noted how the former head of the Dominican congregation Fr Timothy Radcliffe, in a recent reflection on the Second Vatican Council, “spoke of Pope Paul VI’s profound sense of the need for dialogue between the church and the world but was nervous of enshrining dialogue in the core of its government”.
Meanwhile priests in Clogher diocese, which includes Monaghan and parts of Fermanagh, Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan, have expressed concern about the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) website and its leadership.
In a posting on the website, arising from a meeting of nine priests, including the Bishop of Clogher Liam McDaid on January 30th, “members expressed their concern at the direction the ACP at national level seems to be taking as reported through the website.
“Much of the commentary and opinion offered on the website does not represent the views of its membership, at least judging from ourselves.”
“One voice compared our association to a growing child, and suggested that at national level, the time had come for the ACP to grow up.”