Orthodoxy and Catholic doctrine


Sir, – You quote the views expressed by Fr Tony Flannery on certain Catholic doctrines (News, March 31st). According to your report, Fr Flannery rejects doctrines such as the Trinity and the virginal conception of Our Lord by Our Lady; he has also rejected original sin and the notion of the personal nature of God.

These are Catholic teachings to which Fr Flannery ought to be committed as a priest. They are also beliefs Catholics share with other Christians, and are in fact the teachings of the Creeds to which most Christians are in allegiance, and which Anglicans and  Eastern, Greek and Russian Orthodox recite in the liturgy.

It is just 15 years since a dean in the Church of Ireland was nearly put on canonical trial for expressing views akin to those propounded by Fr Flannery. He resigned before his trial started. No doubt if Fr Flannery he were a clergyman of the Church of Ireland today he would be facing proceedings. The same would be true if were a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland; perhaps only the Unitarians would welcome him as minister.

Fr Flannery’s opinions exceed anything said by Fr Hans Küng and Fr Edward Schillebeeckx in their divergence from the church’s teaching. The question is not so much why he is still a priest but why he should wish to remain one. – Yours, etc,