The Vatican at its loveliest – shutting up a priest because he has reasonable, valuable criticisms of the Vatican itself.
Father Tony Flannery, a Catholic priest who has been outspoken in his criticism of the abuse crisis in Ireland, has found himself under investigation by the Vatican for his liberal views.
Founder of the Association of Irish Priests, Father Flannery told TheJournal.ie that the Vatican has contacted him to inform him of the investigation.
The effect of the investigation was immediate. This week The Irish Catholic newspaper reports that Father Flannery had to cease writing his monthly column in the Redemptorist Reality magazine in response to news of the investigation.
It’s helpful of them, in a way, to be so clear about it – “liberal views” are a matter for investigation, and meanwhile, stfu.
The Irish Catholic writer Michael Kelly reported that, “It is understood that while Fr Flannery has the support of his superiors in the Redemptorist Order, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome has expressed disquiet about some of his articles and publications.
“It is believed that the views which have come under most scrutiny are Fr Flannery’s opposition to the Church’s ban on artificial birth control and his support for the ordination of women.”
The Congregation for the Doctrine of Male Authority, is what it should be called.
The crackdown comes on the heels of the Vatican ordered Apostolic Visitation, which found evidence of what it called a ‘certain tendency’ for Irish priests to hold opinions that conflict with those of the orthodox Magisterium, the Catholic Church’s teaching authority.
In a sign of hardening attitudes, the Visitation participants underlined that any dissent from the formal teachings of the Church were ‘not the authentic path towards renewal.’
Under the current circumstances, Father Flannery has been effectively silenced, with no indication of how long it will last.
On Holy Thursday Pope Benedict issued a very direct statement which slammed those priests who refuse to conform to church teachings.