Ireland's bishops have refused to meet the with six outspoken Irish priests silenced by the Vatican, claiming that their predicament was not an issue for the Irish hierarchy. As the priests in question were members of religious orders and not diocesan priests, the bishops claim they lack the authority.

Father Tony Flannery, one of the six priests censured by Rome, has just published a book highlighting the what he calls the inhumanity of the secret process used against him by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican's ultra-conservative theological watchdog.

Father Flannery, a Redemptorist, is also highly critical of Ireland's bishops saying that they consistently fail to provide leadership and are completely incapable of standing up to the clericalism in the Vatican.

Flannery told the press this week the Irish bishops provided no support to the six silenced priests who have suffered serious private torment since the grilling in Rome.

'One of the big frustrations has been trying to deal with the bishops. Trying to deal with them is impossible,' he said.

'There is no possibility of the bishops taking a stand, the Irish Bishops Conference is a dysfunctional body and there is no real leadership. The one amongst the bishops that has the most capacity to lead is Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin but for whatever reason he has not assumed this role,' he said.

Speaking of the CDF and its apparent lack of due process, Father Flannery said: 'They didn’t seem to have the slightest interest in meeting me or hearing my side of the story, I was clearly of no consequence to them as a person,' he writes.

According to the Irish Examiner the CDF never directly dealt with Father Flannery, instead using the Redemptorists' Superior General Michael Brehl as messenger.

They also ordered that their grievances with Father Flannery over his writings in the order’s Reality Magazine which they say were contrary to the teachings of the Church, were to be kept entirely secret.

In his new book Father Flannery says that his new insights into the real workings of the Vatican have led to a 'crisis of faith,' but he still has 'a great fondness for the Church' and misses saying Mass terribly.