Galway priest silenced by Vatican is set to return to public ministry
June 14, 2012 – 7:30am
By Bernie Ní Fhlatharta
A Galway Redemptorist priest who was silenced by the Vatican because of his criticisms of the Church in relation to their response to clerical sex abuse in Ireland will be returning to public ministry next week.
Fr Tony Flannery, who is based in the Redemptorist Monastery in Esker, will be welcomed back by his congregation and colleagues there on Tuesday with the start of the Order’s annual Novena.
Fr Flannery, along with two Redemptorist colleagues, Fr Brendan O’Rourke and Fr Patrick O’Keeffe, will be preaching at the Novena, which focuses on the virtues of living a good Christian life.
The Attymon native publicly supported Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s call in the Dáil for the Catholic Church to apologise for its handling of clerical sex abuse. Fr Flannery was a regular contributor to the Redemptorist magazine Reality, in which he aired his views and support of the Taoiseach.
Just before Easter, Fr Flannery was ordered to take time off for spiritual reflection, which he did. Part of that dictat was that he stop writing for Reality, after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith objected to some things he had written in various articles and on the Order’s website.
Following almost two months away from his ministry, negotiations with his Redemptorist superiors have led to his return.
This week, Fr Flannery told the Connacht Tribune that he was looking forward to returning to public ministry.
“I haven’t ministered since Easter but I will be returning next Tuesday on the first day of the Novena and I will be preaching at that every third day, alternating with my colleagues,” he said.
About a month or so ago two really great friends pretty much sat me down and talked to me. They told me after all I had gone through in life, I was still an incredible person. That I actually still cared and felt pain at the problems and wrongs of the world and other people. They told me though that even with my charm, people could feel the anger, hatred and pain around me every time I either opened my mouth or walked into their store. One of these friends were quite blunt to me. Either I do something about all of this hatred and anger that I had about what this priest did to me or I would die soon of either a heart attack or a stroke.
A few days after this I was having fun with slamming some bigoted and self serving christians I had met on a blog when one of them actually said something that I learned from. I could not say I honestly took control of my life back from the priest unless I forgave him for what he did to me. I also had to forgive god and jesus christ too because they really did not have any control over what the priest did to me due to free will.
This would be one of the hardest things I could ever do. How could I ever forgive this priest for what he did to me? To me he destroyed everything I knew and believed in up until that time. Sure I was a teen having my own doubts of faith with the Roman Catholic Church and it’s teachings, but I was still basically a Roman Catholic at the time of the rape.
How could I forgive the christian god and jesus christ? They never heard my prayers, my cries and my pleas to make this priest stop doing to me what he was doing to me. I grew up learning that at your darkest hour, God and Jesus Christ would answer your prayers and pleas. Here was one of their own priests raping me and they did not hear me.
My hatred towards the priest, god and jesus christ along with the church, has grown and festered for over 37 years. Like a cancer it grew, taking what was left of my soul. I felt that the night that this priest raped me, god condemned me to hell. That jesus christ felt shame towards me that I did not physically fight back this priest while he was raping me, that is why he did not answer my prayers.
Couple all of this with the fact I got an erection and ejaculated, and the shame and guilt that was on my shoulders and in my heart and soul, were overwhelming. Not only was I found guilty by this priest of breaking the 5th Commandment: Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Even the Lords Prayer and the Hail Mary were never the same to me and I can barely even say each of them without getting physically ill from doing so. Up until recently I could barely go into a Roman Catholic Church without suffering a panic attack and the day I went to my fathers funeral at St Charles Parish in Dover NH was one of sheer terror and nightmares for me. I went out of love and respect for my father, yet if it had not been my father’s funeral, but the funeral of someone else, I would have never stepped foot inside that church that day. When I got home that night to my tent I suffered nightmares so severe I literally shook the tent down around me. I was so bathed in sweat and had such terrors that I had to go out and walk around Willand Pond for a couple of hours and sit in one of my all time favorite birch copses just so I could calm down again.
My hatred for god and the church is described in my blog about it. Yet that hate is very real.
I ended up doing a Pagan ritual to deal with a lot of this hatred, guilt and pain. It is one in which you write down the names of all the persons who ever caused you harm in your life. I wrote out the priests name along with the popes. I then burned the paper and scattered it to the winds. I released the hatred and pain. I released everything I could with this situation. I felt a lot of peace in my heart and soul afterwards. Even friends and relatives tell me I am much more calmer and peaceful than I have been in years.
Am I still pissed off at the Church? From this blog you can see obviously I am. I do not know if I will ever get all of this anger out of me for what this priest and what the Roman Catholic church has done to their victims. What his Unholiness the Papal Bullshitter Pope Benedict Arnold said at this christmas address still pisses me off to no end. Some of the responses I have gotten via email from another board I am posting about this, are down right evil in themselves. Two even said I enjoyed what happened to me because I got a boner and I shot off.
The shame and guilt does not belong on my shoulders, nor do they belong in my heart or soul. They belong in the priests who raped me. They belong to the Unholiness Papal Bullshitter Benedict. They belong to the bishops and other church leaders who knew what these priests were doing and then taking these priests who were raping children and moving them to a different parish so they could rape again. It belongs to the church lawyers who fight us victims every step of the way, who continue to do their best to shame us into silence with their non disclosure clauses to their settlements. Their lovely little settlements that do not amount to shit compared to the living hell their own priests put us through.
I imagine this Papal Bullshitter, the Pope Benedict, sitting right now in his fancy robes, with his fancy shoes, all of his little choir boys around him singing his praises. His staff serving him on the finest of china, eating the best of foods. Going to sleep on his soft, king size bed covered in the finest linens. I consider this sick pricks life. How he thinks that child pornography is normal and that sex between an adult and a child is not evil. Then I do something I rarely do. I pray for him. I pray he chokes on a chicken bone and goes to the hell he so richly deserves for all the harm he cannot see with his very own eyes.