Fr Flannery and Christianity


Sir, – Fr Tony Flannery writes that having been removed from the exercise of public ministry by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith eight years ago, he has begun to “read, reflect and to question in a way that I had never done before” (Rite & Reason, October 20th).

The result of his reflection is that he has decided that the church’s “serious mistake”, one dating back 17 centuries, is to “try to tame mystery by encircling it with definitions and rigid doctrines”.

The Christians who were martyred in the three centuries before Nicea in AD 325 went to their deaths not for nebulous concepts of mystery but because they believed that Christ was God and Lord – a belief defined at that and subsequent councils. The expansion of Christianity in the centuries since has been driven by the same belief. The “new metaphors, new language” that Fr Flannery wants point to not an opening up of “the mystery and timeless wonder of our Christian faith” but a novel religion – and one which is of his own devising. – Yours, etc,