Irish Priest Tony Flannery Begins 18-City US Tour on Conscience & Church Reform

Fr. Tony Flannery

Irish Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery, who defied Vatican attempts to silence him, begins an 18-city speaking tour in the US this week that lasts through November 22nd.

Flannery, a Redemptorist who is a founding member of the Association of Catholic Priests, refused to sign a Vatican document last year which demanded his adherence to the hierarchy’s teachings on homosexuality, contraception, and women’s ordination. His refusal led the Vatican to silence the priest and strip him of ministerial powers. Dennis Coday, editor of the National Catholic Reporter, noted:

“For most of 2012, Flannery was forbidden to minister as a priest as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reviewed his writing. In January 2013, he said he was threatened with excommunication unless he made a clear and public statement — preapproved by the doctrinal congregation — fully supporting official church teaching.”

Rather than being “terrified into submission,” in his words, Flannery began speaking out. He published a book, A Question of Conscience, and spoke about the draconian process of his investigation and attempted silencing. His Redemptorist community, along with Irish and Austrian priests dedicated to church reform, have made their support known.

Now, Fr. Flannery will speak in 18 cities about his life, the importance of conscience, and topics of sexuality and church reform that led to his attempted silencing. The Catholic Tipping Point, which last year hosted Austrian reformer Fr. Helmut Schüller, is hosting Flannery. Both New Ways Ministry and DignityUSA are among the sponsors of Fr. Flannery’s visit. Other sponsors include American Catholic Council, Call to Action, Catholics in Alliance for the Common GoodCORPUSFutureChurch, the National Coalition of American Nuns,  the Quixote Center, and the Women’s Ordination Conference.

LGBT people, their loved ones, and their allies are among those harmed by exclusionary church policies, and these issues will be part of his speaking agenda on the U.S. tour. For a full schedule and more information, visit or see below:

  • Washington, DC – October 22
  • Baltimore, MD – October 23
  • Philadelphia, PA  – October 24
  • New York City – October 25
  • Warwick, RI – October 26
  • Boston, MA – October 28
  • Syracuse, NY – October 29
  • Cleveland, OH – November 1
  • Detroit, MI – November 3
  • Minneapolis, MN – November 5
  • Memphis, TN – November 8
  • Sarasota, FL – November 10
  • San Antonio, TX – November 12
  • St. Louis, MO – November 13
  • Phoenix, AZ – November 15
  • Sacramento, CA – November 16
  • Portland, OR – November 18
  • Seattle, WA – November 19
  • To read more about Fr. Flannery, see the ‘Related Articles’ below.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

Related Articles

September 2013: Fr. Tony Flannery Further Refuses Vatican Silencing with New Book

January 2013: Irish Priest’s Refusal to Be Silenced is a Beacon of Hope for Church Renewal

January 2013: Irish Priest Receives Support from Near and Far in His Vatican Struggle

11 replies
  1. Friends
    Friends says:

    Has Pope Francis PERSONALLY “signed off” on his silencing, and the suppression of his priestly ministry? Or is this basically something which dropped off the radar — as the newly-seated Pope Francis (who replaced the arch-conservative Benedict) was just getting his bearings, and starting to chart the agenda of his Papacy? I strongly suspect the latter to be the case. Pope Francis clearly had an enormous plate of issues to deal with in his first year. If anyone has additional information, please post it. At this point, it might be fruitful for Fr. Flannery to re-appeal his removal from priestly ministry. The dismissal by Pope Francis of Cardinal Burke from BOTH of his “power positions” in the Vatican is a very positive and hopeful sign.

  2. freecatholic808
    freecatholic808 says:

    Reblogged this on Dawn Morais and commented:
    If more priests would do as this brave priest and the nuns and many lay Catholics have done, we could save the church from the grip of bishops mired in medieval thinking. As the battle within the Synod has just shown, Pope Francis needs the help of people in the pews, in parishes and in schools to put an end to conservative opposition and advance his efforts to make the Church more like the body of Christ, not the Club of Costumed and Confused Cardinals.

  3. Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM
    Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM says:

    I need a clarification and I hope someone on this blog can respond. It is my understanding that bishops and cardinals decide who may minister in their (arch)diocese. This seems to me to indicate their ownership of church properties. But can anyone stop a priest from performing priestly functions? I don’t think so. I believe that, although a priest can be prevented from performing in a venue “owned” by the institutional church, the priest cannot be stopped from ministering. I think it is important that we clarify the role of a priest and not confuse it with the “power” of the institution.

    Also, I am glad to see more religious and clergy discerning prayerfully and speaking out their conscience. I am glad that more communities are supporting their brothers and sisters in community. I often need to remind myself of the importance of inviting all our brothers and sisters in the Church to discernment and dialogue. The dialogue needs to include those who are traditional or conservative. The temptation to shut them out, ignore them or dismiss their voices is seductive. When I do that, then I succumb to the dominant culture of winners and losers. It is difficult to make the invitation, especially when so much physical, emotional and spiritual violence has taken place. But we weren’t promised that following Jesus would be easy.


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