The Catholic iceberg is melting

In that most Catholic country Ireland,  it appears that Rome’s unilateral diktats on matters of discipline, conscience and common sense are depressing the hell out of people. Redemptorist priests  Tony Flannery and Gerard Moloney are in deep doo doo over their support of a female priesthood.In Holy Week the increasingly out of touch pope went ballistic over the nerve of such men. A tidal wave of support has bolstered these uppity priests.The following are letters sent to the INDEPENDENT

Monday April 09 2012

– I was filled with great sadness when I heard of the Vatican’s silencing of more outstanding priests, Tony Flannery and Gerard Moloney, both members of the Redemptorist Order.
It represents yet another vain attempt by the Pope and his entourage in the Vatican to hold back the tidal wave of dissent within the Catholic Church.
These priests obviously love the church as much as or more than Pope Benedict does but see its future developing in a different direction than the Pope does.
This Vatican stifling of legitimate dissent — by abusing its canonical powers against its priests and bishops — is not acceptable any longer and it’s time for us, the people of God, to demand that this silencing be stopped once and for all.
It is also time for priests to express their solidarity with their silenced brothers and show some gesture of protest against their unjust treatment.
While the Pope continues to speak against the 300 dissenting parish priests in Austria, no disciplinary action or silencing has been taken against any of them while they stand united in their demand for change in the church.
This a critical time for the future of the Catholic Church and the time for sitting on the clerical fence is over.
The prophetic church must not allow itself to become muted by the power of the institutional church.
There is an obligation on all Catholics to stand in solidarity with each other and support all those who believe that the future of the church lies in a church that will be characterised by simplicity and denuded of all clerical pomp and power.
Brendan Butler
Malahide, Co Dublin 

Church in revolt
• Unfortunately for Fr Tony Flannery, his name is not law, he is not a cardinal and he hasn’t moved abusing priests around an archdiocese.
Otherwise he would be protected by the Vatican, taken away from the scene of the crime and given St Mary Major’s to administer.
Betty Loughry 
Greenmount Avenue, Cork 
• I want to offer my support and solidarity to my Redemptorist colleagues, Tony Flannery and Gerry Moloney.
Both have contributed over the years to the debate on issues relevant to church and society and it is now very unfortunate that both have been told to keep silent.
Renewal in the church will only ever take place when we are open to dialogue and when the diversity of theological reflections is listened to and debated.
Silencing a few just won’t make the issues go away.
Fr Tadhg Herbert
Redemptorists, Teresina, Brazil

• As a doctor I was surprised by the emphatic statement from Pope Benedict stating that there will be no women priests.
If the medical and scientific world had taken the same stance we would have been denied such amazing people as Marie Curie.
I see no obvious theological or physical reason why there can’t be women priests — was it not said that we are all equal in the sight of God?
This papal statement convinces me once and for all that the Catholic Church as we know it is coming to an end and is totally out of touch with reality and the ordinary people.
Catholics today, looking at the Vatican through recently liberated and unblinkered eyes, will see it for what it is — an organisation residing in an ivory tower, controlled by an 82-year-old man who is surrounded by an exclusive elderly gentleman’s club with exclusion of 50pc of the population (women).
No matter which way the Catholic Church dresses it up, women are viewed by those in this club as second-class citizens, and as the rest of us men would tell them, this would not be the case if they were allowed to marry.
Thankfully the church is not the enormous, gold-laden-ed and copper-plated Vatican buildings, nor the senior clerics in their ornate garbs, but the ordinary laity who will decide its future and the path it takes.
There is little in the Vatican as far as I can see that any way reflects Christ’s simple life. I foresee a simpler Christian church arising which will embrace, like other churches, both men and women as equals.
Ironically the Pope made this statement on the eve of Easter, which in essence means rebirth not regression.
If, in essence, I’m proved wrong, it leaves us with an interesting theological question — like two well-known and well-heeled north Dublin golf clubs, is there a men-only section in Heaven?
Aidan Hampson
Artane, Dublin

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