Fr Tony Flannery and liberal priests


Sir, – The news item “Bishop cancels talk by liberal priest Fr Tony Flannery” (August 21st) confirms the intense struggle in the Roman Catholic Church.

While Pope Francis encourages his bishops and all the baptised to speak freely and engage in dialogue, many prefer the old system of power and control. Bishop Crean’s veto confirms which camp he is in. The synod in October will show if dialogue can overcome control. They will have heard Fr Tony Flannery speak at the Women’s Ordination Worldwide conference in Philadelphia in September. – Yours, etc,


Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Sir, – It may be pure coincidence that the report of the papal nuncio’s comments concerning the shortage of priests in Ireland was positioned next to the report of the cancellation by the bishop of Cloyne of a talk to be given by Fr Tony Flannery, who had been invited by the parish council in Killeagh.

However, could it be that the shortage of priests, which concerns the nuncio, may, at least in part, be explained by the actions of the bishop, which typify the relationship that exists between the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Ireland and its priests and laity? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Are there really many of your readers interested in the activities of Fr Flannery?

If you are to continue updating us on Fr Flannery I, for one, would appreciate a more in-depth report on the basis of his suspension from ministry. This is reported as being for his liberal views on woman priests, contraception, etc, but with no reference to his disputing the very basis of the priesthood and other basic teachings of the Catholic Church. Fr Flannery’s intimation that the pastoral council should listen to him rather than their bishop is interesting in light of his apparent admiration for the “age of Pope Francis”, who appointed the bishop.

No one is coerced into remaining in the Catholic Church but surely it is reasonable to assume that those who do remain accept its teaching. – Yours, etc,


Donegal Town.