Colum Kenny: Might of Rome descends on an unlikely heretic priest
When Fr Tony Flannery uses the word church, he does not just mean the bishops or the pope
Tony Flannery is an unlikely heretic. An Irish Redemptorist priest, he is now being threatened with excommunication from his own church.
So who cares? According to some media reports last week, a new survey of Irish public opinion ranks religion last among 119 priorities. But the survey and the reports about it were misleading.
Rome has let Flannery know that his opinions on the priesthood, and on the role of the laity, "are clearly contrary to the defined teaching of the Church" (as Rome sees it). He was stripped of his column in the Redemptorists' Reality magazine, forbidden to administer the sacraments and now has one last chance to recant before being excluded from the institution to which he has given his life.