Redemptorists show public support for censured colleagues

Tue, May 1, 2012, 01:00

THE REDEMPTORIST community in Dublin’s Cherry Orchard have become the first in Ireland to declare publicly their support for colleagues Fr Tony Flannery and Fr Gerard Moloney, who have been censured by Rome.

Fr Gerard O’Connor, Fr Patrick Reynolds, and Fr Seán Duggan do so in a letter to The Irish Times today. Many individual Redemptorist priests have done so in recent weeks.

It has also emerged that well-known Augustinian priest Fr Iggy O’Donovan was censured by Rome in 2006 and stripped of a teaching job in that city at the direction of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has been referred to recently as a sixth priest believed censured by Rome.

Asked by Joe Duffy on RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline yesterday whether he had ever been cautioned by the Vatican Fr O’Donovan said “not directly, no. I suppose here and there I’ve been handed the yellow card . . .” Fr O’Donovan’s censure and that of two colleagues followed the concelebration of an Easter Sunday Mass on April 16th, 2006, at St Peter’s Augustinian Church in Drogheda, Co Louth, with local Church of Ireland rector Rev Michael Graham. Two other Augustinian priests, Fr Richard Goode and Fr Noel Hession, also concelebrated the Mass, which marked the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

Rev Graham told worshippers it was “the first public celebration in Drogheda of the Eucharist by a Catholic priest of the Anglican tradition in a Catholic Church of the Roman tradition since the Reformation.” Fr O’Donovan welcomed “members of our sister Church of Ireland”. He later described the event as “the most meaningful Eucharist I ever celebrated”.

Within a month a statement from the Augustinian congregation said Fr O’Donovan, Fr Goode and Fr Hession, “having reflected on the seriousness of their actions”, had written to Catholic Primate, Cardinal Seán Brady, the then papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto and the prior general of the Augustinian Order in Rome, Fr Robert Prévost, apologising “unreservedly for the ill-considered celebration”.

Rite Reason; Vatican loud on liberals but silent on abuse: Fintan O’Toole: page 16