VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said his office sometimes has the “very unpleasant” obligation to take action against theologians in order to safeguard the faith.
Cardinal Luis Ladaria, the prefect, was asked specifically about the case of Irish Redemptorist Father Tony Flannery, 73, who was told by the congregation in July that he could not return to active ministry unless he signed a statement provided to him “regarding his positions on homosexuality, civil unions between persons of the same sex, and the admission of women to the priesthood.”
Father Flannery was removed from public ministry in February 2012 after the congregation questioned several columns for a magazine published by the Redemptorists in Ireland.
Responding to a question at a Vatican news conference Sept. 22, Cardinal Ladaria said, “We did everything possible to dialogue with Father Flannery; it was not always easy. We did what we could; at a certain point we had to take some measures, which never involve making a judgment about a person — that always is reserved to our Lord to do — but regarding teaching or behavior.”
“We always tried to maintain our respect for Father Flannery, but the obligation we have according to the disposition of the church is to safeguard the faith and, so to indicate when something does not conform to the faith,” the cardinal said. “This is a very unpleasant responsibility of (the Congregation for) the Doctrine of the Faith, very unpleasant, but it is our responsibility and we would be lacking if we did not fulfill this responsibility and say something when, often painfully,” the congregation must act.
Writing on his website about the congregation’s decision, Father Flannery said Sept. 16 that the issue of the ordination of women is now “freely discussed in the church,” saying he has been “on record for many years now in supporting, indeed emphasizing the necessity, of full equality for women, including ordination. How could I possibly sign that first proposition?”
In 1994, St. John Paul II said women could not be ordained because Jesus chose only men as his apostles. Pope Francis in 2016 affirmed the stance.
Father Flannery also described “official church language on homosexuality and homosexual relationships” as “appalling. I could not submit to it. As regards same-sex marriage, I voted in favor of it.”
Church teaching holds that a valid marriage can exist only between one man and one woman.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103