The Irish Inquisition

Domination requires certitude as a central aspect of its  will-to-power.The dominator provides a set of answers which are neither open to interpretation nor question,There is no truth other than the the truth delivered on high all of which we associate with imperialist government and tyrannical dictatorships, but in fact it is extensively practiced by the governing bodies operating within our democratic and ecclesiastical institutions.

Walter Brueggemann

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Irish Redemptorist priest Tony Flannery is the latest to be mugged by Rome for his commonsensical views on the neuralgic ecclesial issues of women priests, homosexuality etc. The popular priest was silenced a year ago after his articles appeared in the order’s  well named magazine REALITY. As with  the exiled Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois, Flannery  was supported by the rank and file of his order.It must be noted that he is a key member of the Association of Catholic Priests, a support group which the bishops of Ireland refuse to meet. And the CDF in Rome refuse to meet with Flannery.

This all seems like  a page out of Franz Kafka. Can the Roman Catholic Church in “the land of the saints” get more dysfunctional?

The Redemptorists said “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”. These views it must be stated  are matters of discipline and Church governance.They have nothing to do with the cardinal teachings of the Church. Flannery was simply expressing the deep seated beliefs of the “sensus fidelium”—views  which apparently are verboten in Rome. any challenge to this absolutism is met with the hoary chestnut RELATIVISM.

A  priest of 40 years, Flannery’s  punishment (and who can disagree with him?) is “frightening, disproportionate and reminiscent of the Inquisition.”

Rome seems ready to chop the heads off some of their most respected priests to defend what most believers see as outmoded teaching, out of synch with “the signs of the times” and a deeper understanding of homosexuality.For these Flannery was threatened with excommunication. No discussion. No face to face meeting. No dialogue. Just get out. More reminiscent of Pilate than Jesus.

Flannery’s travail is front page news in Ireland and if judging from the letters to the Irish Times, the “faithful” are not buying it. Soline Humbert for example writes from Dublin:

No priest has been excommunicated for the rape of children, nor has any bishop or cardinal for covering up those crimes.

Fr Tony Flannery, however, is being threatened with excommunication for speaking on the possibility of women priests (Front page and Opinion, January 21st). This is not the Good News of Jesus Christ, but more bad news from an institution drunk on power and bereft of genuine spiritual authority. The church,the people of God, deserves better.Time to listen to the Spirit and stand up and together for a long overdue change. Our liberation is at hand! 

Stay tuned for updates on this lamentable situation.

 
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