Irish priest in showdown with Vatican

An Irish priest and the Vatican have engaged in a showdown over his ability to publish liberal views at odds with Roman Catholic Church doctrine.

Fr. Tony Flannery of County Galway told a press conference in Dublin on Sunday that he would not sign a pledge agreeing to adhere to church orthodoxy regarding women priests, contraception and homosexuality. Now he is being threatened with excommunication.

Here is a portion of Fr. Flannery’s statement in The Irish Times:

I either put my name to a document that would be a lie, and would impugn my integrity and my conscience, or I face the reality of never again ministering as a priest. I have always believed in the church as the community of believers and as an essential element in promoting and nourishing the faith. I have enjoyed my years of preaching, the main work of Redemptorists, and never had any doubt that Christ’s message was one worth proclaiming.

But to give up on freedom of thought, freedom of speech and most especially freedom of conscience is too high a price for me to pay to be allowed minister in today’s church.

The online reader comments below Fr. Flannery’s column offer a wide range of views both for and against his stance. As of 10:30 Monday morning (USA EST) there was no coverage of the issue on the Vatican news site.