In the last few weeks of Lent and even at Holy Thursday events, the Vatican has been cracking down on dissent. Pope Benedict might have thrown a word or two about 'discussion' in his take down of the Austrian priests movement, but other Vatican actions indicate those words were spin. What's been more interesting to me is that these actions have finally generated some push back from other clerics and theologians. The following article is from the Irish Examiner and deals with the support being extended to Irish Redemptorist priest Fr. Tony Flannery, but this isn't the only example. There is also the group of Spanish theologians who wrote in defense of Spanish theologian Rev. Dr. Andrés Torres Queiruga, who received a notification from the Spanish Bishops Conference at the end of March for views of his which deviated from the Catholic Catechism. (Special thanks to Rebel girl at Iglesia Descalza for her translation of this Spanish brouha.) My thoughts on Dr. Andres Torres Queiruga come after the following:
Silenced priest receives global support
By Claire O’Sullivan and Jimmy Woulfe - Irish Examiner - Saturday, April 07, 2012
The Irish priest muzzled by the Vatican for his liberal views has received overwhelming support from colleagues worldwide, with a senior member of the Irish Redemptorist order saying liberal priests are being subjected to FBI-like attention from ultra-orthodox "Catholic agents".
Fr Adrian Egan, who heads the order’s Mount St Alphonsus monastery in Limerick, went on radio in Limerick yesterday to deliver a stinging attack on the Vatican. ********************************************
Speaking in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the Redemptorists, he described himself as "dismayed, disappointed, flabbergasted, amazed, and hugely disappointed at the action by the Vatican".
In a forceful interview, Fr Egan claimed priests were being subjected to FBI-like attention from Catholic agents who wanted to silence anyone brave enough to voice their opinions from the pulpit.
Fr Egan said: "The reality is that there are people sitting in churches on a daily basis that are almost listening to hear you express an opinion, that might be seen as dissenting and they will report you."
It also emerged yesterday that Fr Tony Flannery, a brother of Fine Gael’s top strategist Frank Flannery and founding member of the Association of Catholic Priests (IACP), is not the only member of the Redemptorist Order in Ireland who has received a rap on the knuckles.
Fr Gerard Moloney, who edits the Reality magazine in which Fr Flannery’s columns have appeared for 14 years, has also been informed that not only is Fr Flannery’s column to be halted but any content which may run contrary to the Church’s teachings should not be commissioned.
Fr Flannery was first informed of his censure by Rome two months ago and has travelled there to argue his case.
Hailed for religious retreat work, he spent most of Lent on retreat in Galway, Limerick and Belfast.
It is understood that Fr Flannery has been inundated with phonecalls and emails from priests inside and outside the Redemptorist Order.
The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith first contacted the Redemptorist Order in Rome with an order that Fr Flannery no longer be allowed to write in the Irish order’s Reality magazine or on the IACP website.
He was also forbidden to do any media work. The dictat was then passed on to the Irish order.
Fr Flannery is still allowed to say Mass.
Fr Flannery has written several books and been a vocal critic of the Church’s opposition to artificial contraception, the ordination of women, and celibacy.
He also backed Taoiseach Enda Kenny when he made his controversial Dáil speech lambasting the Vatican for its role in covering up the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.
Just recently, Fr Flannery said that bishops and priests taking part in the Eucharistic Congress next June should wear a modern take on "sackcloth and ashes".
"Bishops and cardinals wearing mitres, surrounded by hundreds of vested priests, will give out the wrong message," he said.
"The celebration would be simple and humble, asking forgiveness not just for the abuse of children, but for the other abuses of power perpetrated by Church people in the past."
Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/silenced-priest-receives-global-support-189765.html#ixzz1rTzZ3mkT
Pope Benedict and this Vatican sure seem to have a double standard when it comes to dissent. In looking at their treatment of dissenting reactionary Anglicans and the schismatic SSPX the message is loud and clear. It doesn't matter how reactionary you are the Vatican will have 'discussions' with you, but try being even a little bit curious on the left side of things, and some dicastery or another in the Vatican comes after you hard and fast. Just ask Bishop William Morris of Australia who is exhibit number one of what Fr Egan referred to in the above article as "being subjected to FBI-like attention from ultra-orthodox "Catholic agents"."
And speaking of Bishop Morris, it seems his Vatican appointed inquisitor Archbishop Chaput is now claiming he didn't think anything in his report would lead to the sacking of Bishop Morris. I can't help but wonder if this is a case of AB Chaput having conscience pains or reinventing history to make himself look less like Machiavelli. It could be the second because Bishop Morris has never been given Chaput's report to read.
As with Sr Johnson, Fr Queiruga was writing about the possibility that our official definition of God might be lacking. And like Sr Johnson, the Spanish Bishops Conference has not extended much of an opportunity for Fr Queiruga to defend his writing, confront his accusers, nor was he given any advance notice.
It's not surprising that when theologians speculate on a nature for God which develops or is in conflict with our current definition that the Vatican gets defensive and paranoid. What is surprising the level of defensiveness and paranoia. If readers click the link to Iglesia Descalza you can read the points of dispute the SBC had with Fr. Queiruga's writing. I encourage readers to do this because they amply demonstrate how much of Church dogma and doctrine are dependent on a definition of God in which man is corrupt, God is angry about his own creation, and Jesus existed for no other reason than to sacrifice Himself to His Father so that God's creation would not be quite so offensive to God and therefor might possibly be saved from eternal damnation. In this view God is completely outside His own creation. He intervenes in a sort of random capricious way. The Church is the sole repository of supernatural grace and dispenses it through an ordained priesthood. Jesus didn't come to teach us much of anything about human potential or human relationships. He came to die, rise from the dead, justify humanity to His Father, and lest I forget, start the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. One needs a very angry God the Father to hang all that on. Then there is the very important corollary that all of this salvation stuff only works if one is obedient to one's superiors. Just like Jesus was obedient unto death and was rewarded by the Father with His resurrection and His Ascension into heaven. None of this has much to do with love, which is funny since Jesus had a great deal to say about the importance of love and how much His Father loves us all.
The trouble with love is that it's not predictable or controllable and doesn't need a hierarchy to dispense.