Thursday, January 24, 2013


There is a brouhaha brewing in Ireland over a priest who has gotten into very hot water with the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and could well be excommunicated and perhaps laicized if he does not be obedient to the teachings of the Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council, especially "Lumen Gentium."

He may well experience the same fate as the former Maryknoll priest, Mr. Roy Bourgeois, who resides in the Diocese of Savannah, in Columbus, Georgia.

The following is this Redemptorist's priest's explanation (Fr. Tony Flannery and founder of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland) of what is happening to him and through his lens or filter and shared on a website called Association of Catholic Priests (in Ireland):

Some clarifications of stories that are doing the rounds in the Media.

Some clarifications of stories that are doing the rounds in the Media.

1. The Irish Catholic says that I am not threatened with excommunication.
In June of last year, 2012 I received a document from the CDF which contained the following paragraph:
“The Church’s canon law (c. 1044) calls a priest who has committed the delict of heresy ‘irregular for the exercise of orders received’, while canon 1364 says that ‘a heretic … incurs a latae sentientiae excommunication’. Before imposing the sanctions provided for in the law, it is the practice of the CDF to take steps to restore a priest to the faith, and to ensure that he is not in a state of contumacy regarding the position(s) he may have taken. Only should these remedies fail would the canonical penalties be required”
I am not a theologian, but to me that definitely reads like a threat. If the Vatican has now decided to withdraw that threat I would be very glad. Though I would be happier still if they allowed me to continue my ministry as a priest. But if that is the case I would like to get it in writing from the CDF, but this time on official paper and with a signature! Hearing it from that classic journalistic cliché of an ‘informed source’ telling the editor of a minor Irish newspaper is not totally convincing.

2. The second issue is what exactly the argument between me and the Vatican was about.
It is correct that at first it concerned a few sentences taken for various articles I had written in Reality Magazine over the years, to do with the origins of Church and priesthood. During the early part of last year I worked on this, and in June presented the following statement to the CDF through the head of the Redemptorists:

Since some concerns have been raised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith over possible interpretations of articles I have written in the past few years. I respectfully take this opportunity to clarify my views and to offer the reassurance necessary to lay those concerns fully to rest. Such words as I have written were written in good faith with absolutely no intent whatever to imply anything contrary to the truths we are all obliged to hold by the divine and catholic faith to which I fully adhere and to which I have always adhered.
I believe and accept that the Eucharist was given to us by Christ Himself; that in the Eucharist we receive “the Bread of Life”, which is “the food of Eternal Life”. I not only believe and accept this; over nearly forty years of ministry I have come to know the reality of it through my faith experience and I have been privileged to offer witness to it through my priestly ministry.
I believe and accept that the Eucharist cannot be celebrated without a validly ordained minister.
I believe and accept that the origins of the Eucharist and the Priesthood can be found in the Last Supper, where, as Sacred Scripture tell us, Jesus gave the command to the Apostles gathered around the table to “Do this in memory of Me”.
I believe and accept that the call to Priesthood, indeed to all our Church’s ministries, comes from God through Jesus Christ.
I believe and accept that the Church has both the right and the duty to teach and preach the good news of salvation as promised by Jesus Christ and that we are reminded of this mission in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. The decree on the Church’s Missionary activity tells us that the Church strives to preach the Gospel to all men, and that it is the duty of the successors of the Apostles to carry on this work. (cf ‘Ad Gentes’)
It is my hope that the clarity and intent of this letter will be accepted in full satisfaction of the queries raised.
Fr. Tony Flannery C. Ss. R.

This statement was accepted by Cardinal Levada, the then head of the CDF. I am told that the exact words he used were: “This is a fine statement”.
It was my understanding that this put the matter to bed, and would be published in Reality Magazine.
But in September the new head of the CDF, Archbishop Gerhart Meuller sent the following document:
Necessary Amendments to the Statement of Reverend Tony Flannery C.Ss.R.
The following additions should be incorporated by Fr. Flannery in his Statement, which is the basis of the article of clarification that he intends to publish:
1. Regarding the Church, Fr. Flannery should add to his article that he believes that Christ instituted the Church with a permanent hierarchical structure. Specifically, Fr. Flannery should state that he accepts the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, as found in Lumen Gentium n. 9-22, that the bishops are the divinely established successors of the apostles who were appointed by Christ; that, aided by the Holy Spirit, they exercise legitimate power to sanctify, teach and govern the People of God; that they constitute one Episcopal college together with the Roman Pontiff; and that in virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church, which he is always free to exercise.
2. Regarding the Eucharist, Fr. Flannery should add to his article that he believes that Christ instituted the priesthood at the Last Supper; that in the Eucharist, under the forms of bread and wine, the whole Christ is truly, really and substantially contained; that the Eucharist is a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross; and that only a validly ordained priests can validly celebrate the Eucharist.
3. Regarding his statement concerning the priesthood, Fr. Flannery should add to his article that he accepts that the Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and that the apostles did the same when they choose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry; and that the Church recognises herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself, and for this reason the ordination of women is not possible.
4. Furthermore, Fr. Flannery should state that he accepts the whole teaching of the Church, also in regard to moral issues.

Take note of nos. 3 & 4. These were new issues brought in at this point, – the question of women’s ordination and the ‘moral issues’. (In Church circles today that phrase most usually refers to sexual morality.
Up to this point I was happy to clarify my position, and give the Vatican the statement they desired, as I had done in June. But it was points 3 & 4 of this document that were the breaking point for me. And that is why I have stated clearly all this week that this is about the issues of womens’ ordination and sexual teaching. And I was told very clearly that the only way I would be allowed back into ministry would be to sign and publish this statement.
I hope this clear up the matter for those who are interested.

Tony Flannery


John Nolan said...

This is very interesting. The Holy Office should not have been involved at all; the heresy of this individual priest should have been dealt with at a lower level, not least with the Redemptorist order which seems to be rivalling the Jesuits in its toleration of disobedience.

There can be no doubt that under Abp Mueller the CDF has teeth. ++Vincent Nichols's decision to stop the Soho 'gay' Masses is a case in point. But it is the bishops themselves who are responsible for ensuring orthodoxy. Have they no shame?

Supertradmum said...

There is a connection. I had a post on the two women who were the first lesbian couple married in West Point and they are Episcopalian priests.

The connection is clear that of depravity, but also changing the male hierarchy of the Church into a gayarchy, outwardly, which it is inwardly, sadly in some area. I can say this coming from the diocese with the second largest sex scandal settlement.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John that is my sentiment too which I express on the Praytell blog. Why isn't this being handled by the local bishop and his superiors and why aren't they following canon law as it concerns him? I think in religious orders where these men have to live with one another, they are extremely fearful of creating animosity amongst their members that could have ramifications later in life. Perhaps the same it true of bishops, but less so I think, since there isn't usually the same hot house experiences between bishops who come from outside of a presbyterate. I would suspect that a bishop would have to have recourse to the Holy See if major discipline has to take place such as excommunication or laicization.

In terms of the gender issue and women priests and gay marriage walking hand in hand, I didn't mean it in terms of a woman actually be a Lesbian or gay men becoming priests or bishops, but more from the symbolic point of view that a priest (if we maintained our Catholic theology of sacramentality)is the sacramental sign of Jesus Christ who is the Bridegroom of the Church and the Church of course the bride. (A latinist might correct me on this, but the word for soul in Latin is "anima" which is feminine and it is "anima" for both male and female. So the Church viewed as "souls" would be feminine.

Now if we ordained women, you'd have a woman being a so-called sign of Christ the Bridegroom but the woman is still a woman and the spousal relationship would be symbolized exclusively in the feminine with a female priest.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

This is a continuation of my comment above. Having a woman priest is a perversion of Christ in the sacramental order of things, it makes Christ the Christa of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Divine in New York. And thus you have a woman Christ and the Church is feminine and you thus confirm that Lesbianism is sacramental opening the door to same sex marriage and all kinds of other types of combinations! It really is ridiculous!

Damask Rose said...

Fr McDonald and Supertradmum, you have both 100% totally nailed it.

God the Father is the Creator and made Adam in his image. Christ is the new Adam, of the order of Melchisedech. Being God-Man, He is the Hypostatic Union.

Eve was created from Adam's rib,so I've read that when women covered their heads at Mass, this meant women represented mankind, so through covering, mankind humbled himself before God.

Also you have the orientation of the Traditional Mass, being ad orientem, facing God, the silent low Mass allows God to minister to us, sends us His graces and so forth.

Novus Ordo is more anthropocentric - it's not the same.

Man has the seed, the sperm, he creates life.

Something my mother explained to me when I was a teenager re sex education was that during (um, I realise this is a priest's blog) sex, the woman receives the sperm. She is always the receiver, never the giver.

So, there will never be true equality between man and woman, no matter how hard feminists and gender theorists hammer away at it. (Also the man is always the chooser. He will only marry a woman he feels is worthy.)

Women priests = lesbianism. Absolutely.

Also I think the Church of England messed themselves up right at the beginning of Henry VIII's rejection of the True Church when the one time Catholic priests took wives. These wives were merely concubines for the alter Christus. Alter Christus already has a spouse, his church. If you base a church on divorce, sooner or later you will move up from adultery towards homosexuality ("way of perfection" of the demonic if you like), one sin leads to another, hence the recent acceptance of gay bishops by the CofE - also an exarcerbation, as Father pointed out, of women priests in the CofE, because the true gender of the priest has been distorted.

I'm sure the break-up of the family through contraception and divorce has lead to the loud prevalence of homosexuality today.

I'm convinced homosexual Catholic priests is why we have girl altar servers today on the sanctuary, women preparing the sanctuary before Mass and this dreadful liturgical dance and women running the parishes. Homosexual priests have distorted, in gender terms, the traditional apprenticeship of altar boy to ordained priest. Furthermore, I think the prevalence of abuses within the Mass are due to homosexuality in the priesthood as well. (Obvioiusly not all priests who do these things are gay.)

Heterosexual priests have been emasculated to a degree where priests can't be men in their own churches for fear of a backlash from female parishioners. Some priests won't be backed by their womanish bishops who are into community and emotive-type practices. Unfortunately homosexual and "feminine" bishops seemed to have ordained like-minded men.

Thankfully women will never be ordained priests.

Women becoming overtly involved in the liturgy lends itself to paganism. With some of the ways women have been dancing in cathedrals recently, you'd think another female liturgical dancer would lead in a bull with a garland of flowers round its neck to be slaughtered!

Here's a recent example of what I mean by genderism in the Catholic Church from Jon Sonnen's blog:

John Nolan said...

Damask Rose

I agree with most of what you say, but I know of churches where religious sisters act as sacristans, and perform their duties in an exemplary fashion.

Not long ago I was in a village in Bavaria on Whit Monday. Mass was followed by a procession of the Blessed Sacrament and the whole village, young and old, turned out. Traffic was stopped. This was certainly a great demonstration of popular Catholicism, but I couldn't help but notice that the youngish (Croatian) priest surrounded himself at the altar with nubile teenage girls; the boys were relegated to lesser functions. I don't think on the evidence that he was homosexual.