Catholic Reform Groups Back Embattled Irish Priest Tony Flannery; And More News

Here are some items that you might find of interest:

1) Member groups of theCatholic Organizations for Renewal (COR) netork issued a statement supporting Irish Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery who earlier this year refused to sign Vatican “oaths of fidelity” that would allow him to return to active ministry. These oaths were related to certain church teachings related to sexuality and gender, which the priest was expected to affirm in spite of his criticism and calls for greater equality. Earlier this year, Sr. Jeannine Gramick , SL, New Ways Ministry’s co-founder, said Flannery’s refusal to sign them showed “real love” for the church. The COR statement read, in part:

“These kinds of outdated and insulting oaths are damaging to priests who are being asked to choose between their God-given conscience and the Church and its people, whom they are called to serve.

“Fr. Flannery’s advocacy represents beliefs that many Catholics share and long to hear more priests speak out loud. This attempt at suppression by the CDF is a stark reminder of the institution’s resistance to any sort of meaningful dialogue towards solutions to the many crises the Church faces today.

“While the CDF may attempt to prevent Fr. Flannery’s ‘return to public ministry,’ what the congregation fails to see is that his ministry cannot be silenced, and in reality, they have not stopped him or all those who join him in following the Gospel message of equality.”

2) The Vatican’s nuncio to France, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, met with a transgender Catholic woman, Loan Rocher, in October. Crux reported this meeting was part of several one-on-one appointments the nuncio had with members of the French women’s group Toutes Apôtres!, meaning “All Apostles,” “which is dedicated to promoting equality in the Church for all baptized regardless of their gender, marital status, profession or sexual orientation.” Rocher and others pushed Migliore on LGBTQ equality in the church, as well as on the issue of women’s inclusion. Many of the Toutes Apôtres! members who had meetings with nuncio reported he was quite “open-minded” and “attentive.”

3) National Catholic Reporter recently profiled queer Catholic musician Gina Chavez, who shared about her faith life and the Catholic mentors who helped her find her way. For the full profile, click here. For Bondings 2.0’s previous reporting on Chavez, click here.

4) The incoming bishop for the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, Fr. William Byrne, told the Daily Hampshire Gazette that Pope Francis did not really endorse civil unions for same-gender couples as had been reported earlier this fall. The pope was only suggesting “no one should be marginalized for any reason or excluded from the community,” said Byrne, who would not directly answer whether he supported such unions.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, December 12, 2020

2 replies
  1. Dana Prescott
    Dana Prescott says:

    I did some research on Fr. William Byrne, the incoming Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester, where my undergraduate college (Holy Cross) is located. Byrne strikes me as very affable but hardly liberal, in the sense that we would recognize Jesuit Fr. James Martin as liberal. Nonetheless, he’s probably more tolerable than his immediate predecessor in Worcester, Robert McManus. McManus used to go around his Diocese, kick the parish priests out of their pulpits, and preach hellfire and brimstone sermons to the startled congregations. He was also once arrested for drunk driving, and spent a night in jail until his own mother showed up to bail him out! I am not kidding. The new guy is probably an affable improvement. We shall see what happens next..

  2. Dana Prescott
    Dana Prescott says:

    FYI, I should probably clarify the fact that the Springfield Diocese and the Worcester Diocese share a common border, and so they tend to behave as a contiguous Diocese, at least in many social aspects. Nonetheless, the governance styles of Byrne and McManus are vastly different. My apologies for any confusion.


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