An extract from his new book is published in today's Irish Times. It will be launched in the Royal Hibernian Academy on Thursday. RTE presenter Bill O'Herlihy will preside.
In the extract, Fr. Flannery admits that he struggles to know whether he should continue in religious life.
I was rather struck by this passage:
Even while attending Mass, as I do regularly, I sit there listening to the priest struggle with the new translation of the Missal, specially with the opening prayers and prefaces, and I know that whoever was behind this new translation was not motivated by desire to make the Eucharist more meaningful for the people, but instead was driven by a rigid ideological stance that had little or nothing to do with the teachings of the Gospel.
Fr. Flannery knows that "whoever was behind this new translation was not motivated by desire to make the Eucharist more meaningful for the people". He doesn't speculate, he knows. That seems like an unwarranted inductive leap to me-- to say the least. One wonders how Our Lord's words about judging others apply here.
Why should more meaningful mean easier, anyway? And surely all priests (and most congregations) should have come to terms with the new translation of the Missal by now. Is saying, "It is right and just" rather "it is right to give him thanks and praise" really such a massive leap? How is "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof" less meaningful than "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you"? It seems not only more deeply rooted in Scripture to me, but much more poetic.
I don't really understand the attitude of the Association of Catholic Priests and their supporters. They are all in favour of reform, but when there is a reform, they don't like it.
I'm not having a poke at Fr. Flannery. This passage, for instance, is rather moving:
In the meantime I have some major decisions to make. I will have to decide if I wish to stay in religious life for what time is remaining to me, while not being allowed to do any form of ministry. I do not know what effect that would have on me long term, but it may be difficult. The alternative would be to move out on my own and try to make a life for myself, but this is, quite frankly, frightening. Would I be able to cope, after living almost my whole life in an institutional setting? Who would look after me in my old age? Would I be very lonely? What about the financial side of it all? These are the real and hard questions that are occupying my mind at this time.
I wish him well, and I hope that his fears are not justified.