Tuesday, September 10, 2013

More from Fr. Tony Flannery

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.

1 comment:

  1. I have no sympathy for these dissenters, and I'm not saying that because I view myself as better than them. However, just like Fr Brian D'Arcy, these priests love acting the secular-reformist heroes in the newspapers, and then when things work out for the worst they run to the anti-catholic media to cry about oppression and how their feelings are hurt for trying to do what they see as "right".

    They're nothing but a bunch of fork-tongued spiritual thieves. They spit in the face of what it means to be Catholic yet have the gall to act like the innocent nice guys, saying how they understand why the Church does what it does, though their conscience cannot allow them to agree. If you don't believe me then just view the comments sections for these stories. Non-catholics and idiot-should-be-catholics rush to praise these apparent "brave" men for standing up against the "tyrannical" Church.

    Nobody is a perfect Catholic, but I don't proclaim that my faults should be acceptable because I'm too weak to overcome them. You are priests. If you are incapable of doing your duty then leave, and stop being vainglory-seeking cowards. These men are disgraces to Catholicism in general, never mind the priesthood.

    It is time something was done about people like this. Damned be the consequences. The Church is viewed as an oppressor anyway, and what could it possibly have to lose from removing them aside from a few heresies. If other people leave the Church as a result then so be it. Neither lay nor clergy will benefit from living a false version of Catholicism where they claim they can do whatever they want and still get to Heaven. There are rules for a reason...