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Silenced cleric steps down from leader role

CENSURED Irish priest, Fr Tony Flannery, who has been threatened with excommunication by the Vatican, has revealed he is to step down from his leadership role in the Association of Catholic Priests at its AGM at the end of October.

Fr Flannery is a co-founder of the association, which has seen its membership rise to over 1,000 Irish priests.

Last January, Fr Flannery (66), who has been a Redemptorist since 1964, revealed that he had been threatened with excommunication over his views on women priests, contraception and celibacy.

"What does it mean to be a priest if you are not allowed to minister as a priest?" he asked.

"The longer it goes on with me out of ministry, I suspect, the more I will become controversial," he said, adding that this would "not be good for the Association".

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