The Irish Times interview with the Papal Nuncio, Charles Brown

In last Saturday’s Irish Times there was an interview by Patsy McGarry with the Papal Nuncio, Charles Brown. In the course of the interview McGarry asked him about the Irish priests who had been censored. The Nuncio disclaimed any involvement in these cases, and in particular in mine. Can we believe him?
When the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) were dealing with my case, it seems to me that a very obvious and sensible part of their investigation would be to get somebody in Ireland to give them a local reading of the situation. I find it hard to believe that someone in the CDF didn’t at least pick up the phone and ring someone in the Irish Church and ask: “What is this Flannery guy like?” or “What might be the local implications of the action we are proposing to take here?” If they didn’t do that there were very remiss in their work.
In the event of the CDF looking for a local perspective, who were the most likely people they would ask? Charles Brown would be the obvious one. He is the Vatican representative here in Ireland, and part of his job is precisely to advise the Vatican on issues pertaining to Ireland. Also, before he came here, he had worked for some time in the CDF, so he would know them and they him.
The second obvious person to contact would be Diarmaid Martin of Dublin, again a man who had a long record of working in the Vatican world, and one who knows the Irish Church well.

In answer to McGarry’s question, the Nuncio went on to say this was a matter for the religious superiors. Some time back, when the Association of Catholic Priests approached Diarmaid Martin on the matter of censored priests, he also gave the same answer — since they were all religious it was none of his responsibility, it concerned their religious superiors only.

My religious superiors have made it clear to me from the beginning that, if it was their choice, there would be no action taken against me, but that they were acting under duress, and had no choice.
So who was responsible? I have it on good authority that the complaint against me that motivated the CDF to act came from a bishop. When I listen to Charles Brown and Diarmaid Martin washing their hands of all responsibility in my situation I am inclined to believe that, like Desmond Connell, there could well be at least some element of ‘mental reservation’ at work.