A FORMER rector of the Redemptorists in Limerick and a best-selling author believes his “days of being an active priest are over” - unless “the unpredictable” nature of Pope Francis turns in his favour.
Fr Tony Flannery has been barred from his ministry by the Vatican over his written views on women priests, contraception, celibacy and homosexuality.
The 66-year-old has been a Redemptorist priest for over forty years and was rector at Mount Saint Alphonsus in Limerick for six years. Speaking at the Limerick signing of his book Question of Conscience, he said his future as a ministering priest lies in the hands of the Pope.
“I have been forbidden to administer as a priest for the last 18 months, and the conditions that they have laid down for me to come back are such that I cannot accept, as I have laid out in my book. I don’t see the circumstances arising where I will ever come back into ministry again. The one proviso is that it’s a bit unpredictable what Pope Francis will do. Maybe there’s a glimmer of hope but I’d say that’s about all. The likelihood is that my days of being an active priest are over,” he said.
He was summoned to Rome last year by the Vatican watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and told that until he revised his views he would not be allowed to minister as a priest or have any dealings with media.