Letter to new head of DDF

A priest, whose name I am withholding from this publication, has written this letter to the new man in the DDF. I am very grateful to him.

Dear Cardinal Fernandez:

​I am a retired priest……  First, I’d like to congratulate you on your new assignment and on your elevation to the cardinalate.  I’m of the opinion that Pope Francis only picks the best.  So, I have the highest regard for you at the outset and trust that you will make a lasting contribution to the Church.

​In the years prior to the current papacy, quite a few priests and theologians ran afoul of the Holy Office and were punished in various ways for their controversial positions.  Now, the ecclesiastical climate has changed considerably, and for the better.  The current thinking laid out by the Holy Father has to do with making theology relevant and accessible, and less of a closed book.  In a word, to be an open, developing enterprise, engaged in dialogue aimed at greater understanding among people, both inside and outside the Church. 

​To this end, I ask you to re-visit the case of the Irish Redemptorist, Father Tony Flannery, and remove his suspension.  When I was a pastor in Arizona, I met him on two occasions and heard him speak.  He is a gifted communicator, a man of integrity, and an inspiring priest.  As he shared his troubles with the Vatican, I couldn’t help but think: Why are they doing this to him?  It is obvious to me and other clergy that he has said nothing that we haven’t heard from various bishops.  

​So, please, esteemed Cardinal-Designate, investigate this injustice and set it right.  If you met and heard Fr. Flannery, you would realize that he is no threat or danger to the Faith.  On the contrary, he is a beacon of light and hope to many of us.

​Most grateful for your kind consideration, I wish you good health in your new ministry.

​​​​​Yours in Christ,