'Catholic Spring' uprising prediction for Ireland over dissenting priest Father Flannery
Opposition to Vatican move to silence him continues to grow as disconnect widens
Several leading priests in Ireland are predicting a “Catholic Spring” as dissent against the Vatican decision to ban Father Tony Flannery grows.
The Daily Beast website has reported that leading priests now believe that the Vatican has gone too far in silencing Father Flannery who has been sent to a monastery to reflect on his actions.The Association of Catholic Priests, which has 800 members, has already come out strongly against the silencing.
Another leading priest, Father Sean MacDonagh, a founder of the ACP, has now strongly criticised the Vatican move.
"It is a bit like Walmart, where you have the CEO in Rome and his people there decide on policy and then insist that the bishops, as branch managers, implement that policy,” he told the Irish Examiner.
"If Rome says ‘jump’ are we simply expected to say, ‘how high?’ Operating like a multinational where the number one requirement is obedience is at total variance with the Church of Jesus," said Fr McDonagh.
He defended the calls for women to play a more active and equal role, "In the first century, it was possible to articulate the message of Jesus and not have females in leadership roles because the culture of the time would not allow it and there was a very dark perception of what women were.
But, now, in the 21st century, the Church must discern where the Holy Spirit is leading it, and the Vatican should not be leading it backwards."
"Freedom of speech does not operate here when, in fact, the Church should be an example in that respect to others," said Fr McDonagh. Meanwhile an Irish Times editorial has stated that sending Flannery to a monastery for prayer and reflection may rebound and that the Vatican is wrong to regard him as a ‘turbulent priest.’ It stated that the decision to discipline him will increase the perception of a “disconnect” between Rome and Ireland.
The Times editorial stated, “The domestic reaction, from sections of the laity and some clergy, to the Vatican’s disciplinary action has been one of regret and concern. The ACP (Association of Catholic Priests) has described the Vatican’s intervention as “unfair, unwarranted and unwise”.
And it may well, as the association has warned, increase the public perception of a significant “disconnect” between the Irish church and Rome.
Fr Flannery has spent many years developing the views that he now holds, views that were no doubt influenced and shaped by prayer and reflection. But six more weeks spent in silent isolation in a monastery engaged in further prayerful reflection may not produce the outcome the Vatican now hopes from its disciplining of one it, wrongly, regards as a turbulent priest.
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