THERE is "no question" of Fr Tony Flannery facing excommunication, senior Vatican sources have said.
And the sources also insisted that the case hinges on whether the Redemptorist priest accepts the church's teaching on the nature of the priesthood.
The outspoken cleric, who has already been banned from ministering, claims he is facing excommunication for suggesting women might become priests in the future.
During a press conference in Dublin at the weekend, Fr Flannery (66) said he had been told by the Vatican that if he wants to remain in the church he must end his involvement with the liberal Association of Catholic Priests, of which he is a founder member.
However, senior Vatican sources have indicated that the Holy See has not threatened excommunication.