Father Tony Flannery (Photo: Limerick Leader)

Father Tony Flannery of the Redemptorist Order in Ireland has earned a deserved reputation as a liberal maverick on issues such as female ordination and a role for gays in the church.

This weekend he refused a Vatican edict to apologize for some of his positions in order to remain a priest in good standing.

Flannery wrote an impassioned essay in the Irish Times explaining why he feared excommunication but he could not live with his conscience and sign the Vatican document.

But it turns out that there is one issue Father Flannery is far from liberal on. Indeed, his stance on child abuse by Catholic priests is downright medieval and shocking. Consider the following three quotes , gathered by Broadsheet.ie from his writings;

“The common assumption today is that the experience of sexual abuse does almost irreparable damage to a child, which will impact on their whole life. It would appear to be classified as the worst form of abuse. But can we be sure of that? How does one measure the damage done to a child by one form of neglect or abuse more than another?


“Does it strike anybody that it is a bit strange that we are devoting so much time, money and energy to inquiring into the abuse of children half a century ago when there is so much that is unsavoury in the lives of children today?”


“The other obvious anomaly, beginning to be highlighted by some commentators, is that all the inquiries are into the behaviour of Catholic Church institutions and people, even though their abuse, dreadful as it was, is only a tiny fraction of all the abuse of children that happened in the past.’

Not exactly the stuff of liberation theology when it comes to children being abused is it?
Ah well,  the liberals will have to look elsewhere methinks.