Fr Tony Flannery believes silencing to be an attack on priests’ association
‘The great weapon of the Curia is secrecy, the great weapon of all oppressors’
Fr Tony Flannery: “If they could sideline the current leadership, they would frighten off any others who might take our place, and in this way crush the whole movement.”
Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery said he believes the Vatican’s silencing of him last year was really about dismantling the Association of Catholic Priests, of which he is co-founder.
“If they could sideline the current leadership, they would frighten off any others who might take our place, and in this way crush the whole movement,” he has said in a new book, A Question of Conscience, to be published on September 12th.
‘Lack of justice’
He has written the book to “let people know the methods they [Rome] were using in this investigation and their lack of justice and fairness,” he said.
It also explains how the Redemptorists’ Irish provincial warned each of Fr Flannery’s colleagues, when it came to supporting him publicly, “that if even one of them spoke out of turn, he [the provincial] would be forced to resign”.
He discloses that a statement by the Irish Redemptorists in support of him, published on their website last January, was replaced by one from the superior general in Rome, which was not.
At the Humbert School in Ballina last weekend, Fr Flannery described his book as “the clearest expose of the way the Vatican operates put in print”.
‘Weapon of the curia’
The “great weapon of the [Roman] curia is secrecy: the great weapon of all oppressors”, he said. To illustrate this he recalled Rome’s reaction last year when the Association of Catholic Priests issued a strongly worded statement supporting him.
“The response from the curia was an A4 page with no heading, no signature, no identification marks, and no stamp which was sent through the papal nuncio to the Bishop of Killala, John Fleming, who passed it to Fr Brendan Hoban [of the ACP] in an unmarked envelope.”
Fr Flannery read from the curia document, which said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “does not act secretly but through legitimate channels”.