Not Suspended, but Withdrawn

Having made enquirers as to, if I am suspended from ministry, why I haven’t got an official document stating this, I have got the following reply from my Superior.

I am not suspended;  I am withdrawn from ministry. The action is taken by the Redemptorists, under instruction from the CDF. And the position remains unchanged.They are still looking for the same statement as they were six years ago.  And in the meantime the Church has dramatically changed. The two issues they objected to — the origin of priesthood and women’s ordination — are now being widely discussed at all levels in the Church, with the encouragement of Pope Francis, who asks us to speak freely and without fear.

Dear Fr. Tony,

On December 4th, I received your email (dated December 3rd) requesting a clarification about ‘suspension from priestly ministry’. Having consulted the documents and correspondence I have in my possession, and taken canonical advice, it seems to me that you are not canonically suspended from the exercise of priestly ministry.

However, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith instructed that you were to be withdrawn from the exercise of priestly ministry, and not to publish or give interviews until you prepare and submit a statement of acceptance of Church teaching which is approved by the CDF. In subsequent inquiries to the CDF about your return to public ministry, the CDF has insisted on this statement as a prerequisite for return to public ministry.

In Christ,

Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.

The following is part of my response to this communication from my superiors:
So that is the answer to my question; I am not suspended, just withdrawn by my religious superiors, under orders from the CDF. Mind you, I thought that body had lost a lot of its power and authority in the past six years, – but apparently not in this instance. (It would still be nice if I could get a formal statement from them about my exact situation, but I expect that is too much to hope for).They are looking for the statement they wanted six years ago, even though I continue to argue wherever I go that Francis has brought about real change.

In the statement I would have to say that I accept that women will never be ordained in the Catholic Church.  The last six years has seen enormous change on that issue.  It is now widely discussed. I note that in listening exercises in Killala, Limerick, Kilmore, there were large majorities in favour of womens ordination, and of course consistently in opinion polls. With so much change in these short years, who is to say what will happen in the next ten or twenty?
Whatever about making that statement six years ago, it would make much less sense now.

And then there is the issue of accepting all Catholic moral teaching, which was another part of the requested statement. I imagine there are very few left now who would say that they accept some of the things said about LGBT in Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Not to mention the hoary old issue of Humanae Vitae. Just today I read and article by Chris Patten (how the British Parliament could do with his sound common sense now), where he said that the Church has got sex all wrong.
There is no possibility of me presenting that statement to the CDF.. (I have never been able to get my head around Des Connell’s mental reservation.)