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Vatican faces backlash after silencing dissident priest

The relationship between Ireland and the Vatican has grown stormy in recent times and could deteriorate further in the wake of the Vatican's latest move.

  • Ireland
  • April 10, 2012
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An 800-strong group of Irish priests has said it is disturbed over the Vatican's silencing of one of its members for his liberal views.

The Association of Catholic Priests has warned that forcing Father Tony Flannery to stop writing for a Redemptorist magazine will fuel belief of a disconnect between Irish Catholics and Rome.

"We believe that such an approach, in its individual focus on Fr Flannery and inevitably by implication on the members of the association, is an extremely ill-advised intervention in the present pastoral context in Ireland," the group said.

"We wish to make clear our profound view that this intervention is unfair, unwarranted and unwise."

Fr Flannery, a founder of the association, has had his monthly column with the religious publication Reality pulled on orders from Rome.

A second priest, Father Gerard Moloney, the magazine's editor, has been ordered to stop writing on certain issues.

Both priests hold liberal views on contraception, celibacy and women priests.

At least a dozen priests had already publicly declared support for Fr Flannery and Fr Moloney in messages on the association's website.

In a strongly-worded statement, the group said Fr Flannery's writings should not be seen as an attack on or rejection of the fundamental teachings of the church but a reflection on issues surfacing in parishes nationwide.

It said they also reject their portrayal in some circles as a "small coterie of radical priests with a radical agenda".

Full Story: Priests warn Vatican over move to censure Flannery

Source: Irish Examiner
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