...and his disciplining by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is not a subject I am going to discuss any further on this blog. At this point, I see nothing in the subject but a temptation against charity for me.
A lot of traffic to this blog right now is through internet searches for "Tony Flannery" and related keywords. So I do feel called upon to say something; as little as possible.
I am literally unable to understand how the Assocation of Catholic Priests can reconcile their priestly vows and vocation with the agit-prop activities of their organization. I genuinely don't understand how they and their lay supporters can't see the contradiction and the futility inherent to their dissident views.
I am not calling them idiots, but I certainly think they are fulfilling the role of "useful idiots" that Lenin supposedly (and probably apocryphally) awarded to those naive Western liberals who defended the Soviet Union. The journalists and editors who write admiringly of the Association of Catholic Priests do not want to see reform in the Church. They want to see the Church (and Christianity) weakened and destroyed, and they very rightly see the ACP as a useful Trojan Horse to this end.
But then, anyone who reads even a handful of posts on this blog could guess my stance.
It is very easy to rebut the arguments of the ACP. Here two salient points:
1) They consistently appeal to the Second Vatican Council. I recommend anyone who finds the arguments of the ACP convincing to actually read the documents of the Second Vatican Council. They offer little or no support to the dreams of these dissident clerics. Take, for instance, these words from Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution adopted at Vatican Two: "In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church". Do the ACP stand by that?
Those who appeal to the Second Vatican Council as a supposed justification for radical reform in the Church often try to get around the actual words in the actual documents by appealing to "the spirit of Vatican II". But a "spirit" can be whatever you want it to be.
2) They claim to seek radical reform in the Catholic Church as a means to halt the decline in Mass attendance, vocations, and so forth. The argument is that a Church which is more open and more accommodating to the spirit of the age will be more likely to flourish. However, the Church of England (for instance) has embraced pretty much all the reforms that the ACP urge on the Catholic Church-- female ordination, acceptance of contraception, liturgical modernization, and so forth-- but this has led to no revival in its fortunes. In fact, attendance at Church of England services has now fallen below attendance at Catholic Mass in England.
It is not liberal Christianity but evangelical, charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity which is flourishing in Europe and America. And young, passionate Catholics are much more likely to be orthodox than liberal.
I will continue to pray that the members of the ACP have a change of heart. Apart from that, I am going to say no more about the current controversy.