Thursday, January 24, 2013

Redemptorist General Urges Irish Province to be Catholic!

Fr. Tony Flannery
Not just Fr Flannery but the whole Irish Redemptorist Province were more than ambiguous in their support of the Magisterium, in fact their support of Flannery identified them as part of the problem, not part of the solution.
”It is of immense regret that some structures or processes of dialogue have not yet been found in the Church, which have a greater capacity to engage with challenging voices from among God’s people, while respecting the key responsibility and central role of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
I have been wary of the English Redemptorists too ever since I purchased a publication for the parish which had an advertisement promoting the ordination of women, needless to say we trashed the lot and complained to the Superior General, I am not sure we got a very satisfactory result. However now the Superior General, the Canadian Fr Michael Brehl, has issued a statement outlining the history of the the difficulties with Flannery.
 “In January, 2012, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith raised concerns about some of the writings of Fr. Flannery which were ambiguous regarding fundamental areas of Catholic doctrine, including the priesthood, the nature of the Church, and the Eucharist,” Brehl writes. The priest “was instructed to undertake a period of prayer and theological reflection to clarify his positions on these matters. During this sabbatical period, he was instructed not to grant interviews or make public statements, and to withdraw from active involvement in the leadership of the ACP, especially since the priesthood was one of the matters on which he was asked to clarify his position. He was also instructed to withdraw from active priestly ministry during this period of prayer and reflection.”
According to Gianni Valente in his statement, Fr. Brehl “earnestly” urged his confrere “to renew the efforts to find an agreed solution to the concerns raised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith.” Finally, he invited his “Redemptorist confreres of the Irish Province to join with [him] in praying and working together in the spirit of St Alphonsus to maintain and strengthen our communion with the Universal Church.”

As I keep saying, "It is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate." Pope Benedict to the Bishops of England Wales. 10th Feb. 2010.

11 comments:

GOR said...

The Holy Father repeatedly has urged humility upon theologians. Contrast the attitude of two of the Church’s great saints to that of many modern theologians.

Shortly before he died in 1274 St. Thomas Aquinas, speaking of the Holy Eucharist, said: ”I have taught and written much on this most holy Body and the other sacraments, according to my faith in Christ and in the Holy Roman Church, to whose judgment I submit all my teaching.”

Three hundred years later in 1577 the great mystic, St. Teresa of Avila, who reluctantly penned The Interior Castle - and only under obedience - concluded it by saying: ”If these writings contain any error, it is through my ignorance. I submit in all things to the teachings of the Holy Catholic Roman Church, of which I am now a member, as I protest and promise I will be in both life and death.

How can lesser minds tout their ‘knowledge’ in the face of the humility of these two Doctors of the Church?

In a word: Pride – to which we are all subject through Original Sin.

RJ said...

Fr Flannery and many others may also be victims of a faulty education: what did they learn as impressionable young seminarians? Was it the 'perennial philosophy' and theology of Saint Thomas (as recommended by Optatam Totius) or the latest fad, based on philosophies incompatible with the Catholic faith?

Nicolas Bellord said...

In the business world if an employee were to start to slag off the company's product in public it would be no surprise if at the very least he was asked by his bosses to explain himself and possibly face disciplinary action. Yet when the CDF does the same there are shouts of protest.

GOR said...

The fallout from priests who tout their dissent publicly came home to me the other day. My sister in Ireland, who is very active in the parish and in Alpha (I have some concerns about that group) – mentioned that during one of their prayer sessions a woman prayed: “Let us pray for Fr. Flannery – that he may not be silenced”.

Hmmm. I don’t have a problem with the first part of that, as we should pray for everyone - especially those in doubt. But the second part of the intention – “that he may not be silenced” - demonstrates the problem.

As we have seen here in the US, priests who have garnered some following and ‘popularity’ affect many people when they go astray. The people feel shattered and their faith is impacted. “Father was such a nice man, a great preacher, very kind…” Etc. etc.

And therein lies the problem. I’m sure Arius was a ‘nice’ man when you got to know him, Nestor was probably kind to animals, Luther a great preacher and Calvin probably loved his mother.

But the Faith is not about personalities – as St. Paul pointed out pointedly to the Corinthians. The objective of the priesthood, and of all Christians, of course, is salvation – both personal and the leading of other people to God and eternal happiness in Heaven.

Priests have a particular responsibility in this – they have a pulpit. And how they use that pulpit has consequences - both for their salvation and that of those they influence. We have but one model – Our Lord. Everyone else should be ‘imitators’ – however pale. But they are ‘good’ ‘nice’ ‘great preachers’ etc. only in so far as they conform to the ideal, who is Christ, and are faithful to the Church He founded.

Bob Hayes said...

There seems to be some wider 'rebelliousness' amongst some Redemptorists. Last year the author of 11 November edition of 'Sunday Message' expressed his, 'fear that the Church is in retreat from the vision [not 'spirit'!] of Vatican II'. He then posed a series of questions alluding to symbolism and Church leadership. And I thought 'Sunday Message' was all about expanding upon and explaining the day's readings...

F Marsden said...

Nicholas Bellord is perfectly right. Think also of a Tory politician who started voting with Labour all the time (or vice versa). Very soon the whips would call him in, and soon he would lose the whip and be expelled from the party.

Fr Flannery & Co haven't "lost the whip" as yet. Rome is far more patient than the captains of industry and the democratic political leaders. But maybe we have now come to a "parting of the ways" for them.

Victoria said...

To Dissenting Priests
"It is your duty to to fix the lines (of doctrine) clearly in your minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession. This is your duty not specially as Christians or as priests but as honest men. There is a danger here of the clergy developing a special professional conscience which obscures the very plain moral issue. Men who have passed beyond these boundary lines in either direction are apt to protest that they have come by their unorthodox opinions honestly. In defense of those opinions they are prepared to suffer obloquy and to forfeit professional advancement. They thus come to feel like martyrs. But this simply misses the point which so gravely scandalizes the layman. We never doubted that the unorthodox opinions were honestly held: what we complain of is your continuing in your ministry after you have come to hold them. We always knew that a man who makes his living as a paid agent of the Conservative Party may honestly change his views and honestly become a Communist. What we deny is that he can honestly continue to be a Conservative agent and to receive money from one party while he supports the policy of the other."
--from Christian Apologetics by C.S. Lewis, Easter 1945.
(Reprinted in God in the Dock pp. 89-90)

Sixupman said...

I lived in a parish where the PP regularly preached against The Magisterium; for greater lay participation - even access to the pulpit; and his explanation of The Eucharist, to new communicants was beyond belief. The strange thing was that when locum clergy were brought-in they were of the same mind. A bit CofE, with high, middle and low churches.

A Scottish bishop whom I have met, actually preached against the Ordained clergy in favour of "house", lay led worship, He had been the rector of a seminary.

Vatican II has released a veritable 'Tower of babel' of both language and belief.

Ma Tucker said...

St Alphonsus would be disgusted with what comes out of Fr. Flannery's mouth. It is about time he was dealt with.

wretchedwithhope said...

the quote from the dissenting Lewis above aside, the ambiguities of the fundaments of the Truth are what's promulgated in the new market church - that is the market place of (theological) ideas. how many people feel the threat of the horizontal homily of heresy which permeates the every aspect of neocalvinist-catholicism? the people in the pews aren't all thickos -too many know what the Mass is about and can spot a pretender parish by the rubbish periodicals at the back of the church even before choosing a pew - even before noticing the altar has been smashed to smithereens, replaced with removable surface. when the King is absent and there's only a forgetful steward its obvious.

there's something comforting about the 'rebels' of old, they could see and accept truth as easily as the establishment; William Dunbar of the court of James IV was a rancorous malcontent, but he still wanted to get to heaven: To Thee, O merciful Saviour, Jesus, My King, my Lord, and my Redeemer sweet, Before Thy bloody figure dolorus, I schir me clean, with humble heart contreit, That ever I did unto this hour compleit, Baith in work, in word, and eik in intent; Falling on face, full low before Thy feet I cry Thee mercy, and lasar [time] to repent.

dunbar had a 'table of confession' clear and understandable, based on 1400 years of the Church passing on the teachings and workings of the Holy Spirit. teachings being dissected and sold off in the new temple market place as if nothing more than points of interest, but much less interesting than the stuff from those who see Christ from an increasingly Gnostic bent

Kevin O'Connor said...

May I humbly suggest that these priests and other Redemptorists put on their traditional habit complete with large badge, rosary and crucifix, and kneel down before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer for a considerable amount of time while they re focus on their true vocation and ask God for his forgiveness. There are plenty of good role models for Redemptorists and other religious to follow. Just think of Blessed Dominic Barberi who proudly wore the habit and who was regularly stoned while walking about. Not for him the anonymity of secular dress in case anyone thought he might be a priest.
Kevin Martin