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Redemptorists express sadness at Fr Flannery’s situation

By editor - 22 January, 2013

Media Statement from the Irish Redemptorists

see full statement – www.redemptorists.ie

In a statement issued on 20th January 2013, the Provincial Leadership Team of the Irish Redemptorists has stated it is deeply saddened by the “breakdown in communication” between Fr. Tony Flannery C.Ss.R. and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Fr Tony Flannery stated in an Irish Times article that he has been asked by CDF to affirm Church teachings on the ordination of women, contraception and homosexuality.

In response to Fr Flannery’s going public the Provincial Leadership Team of the Irish Redemptorists published a statement at the weekend which describes Fr. Tony Flannery as highly regarded and respected by many in Ireland, both within and outside the Redemptorist Congregation. It refers to his effectiveness as parish missioner since the mid 1970s and how this has raised matters which Fr Flannery believes need greater dialogue, debate and consideration.

“Although not all Redemptorists would accept Fr. Flannery’s views on all matters, we do understand and support his efforts to listen carefully to and at times to articulate the views of people he encounters in the course of his ministry,” they said. “As Irish Redemptorists we appreciate the difficulties this situation has created for others, especially for our Superior General in Rome, Fr. Michael Brehl. He has made every possible effort to resolve the matters which have emerged between the CDF and Fr. Flannery.”

The statement explains that the Redemptorist Constitutions require the members of the community to be obedient to God’s call. Their founder St. Alphonsus, felt that thinking with the Church was an important criterion of missionary service, but a further mandate of the Church is to listen and stay close to God’s people; to engage in missionary dialogue with the world, endeavouring to understand people’s anxious questionings; to try to discover in these how God is truly being revealed.

The statement concludes: “It is of immense regret that some structures or processes of dialogue have not yet been found in the Church which have a greater capacity to engage with challenging voices from among God’s people, while respecting the key responsibility and central role of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”

Fr Flannery has stated that he does not want to leave the Catholic Church and that is stepping down from his leadership position in the ACP while he is dealing with the issues.