The Papal Nuncio, and other bits.

Last Sunday evening, on the RTE programme ‘Meaning of LIfe’, Gay Byrne interviewed the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown. In the course of the interview, Gay asked the Nuncio about the situation regarding Brian D’Arcy and myself. Did he talk to us at any stage? Gay was clearly surprised when he said he hadn’t, and he pressed him further. The Nuncio fell back on the excuse that I have become very familiar with over the past four years. Since both Brian and myself are members of religious orders our cases were not his concern, but that of our religious superiors. (Both Vatican spokespeople and Irish Bishops spokespeople have used that line!) Then Gay asked him to clarify what exactly our situation is. When it came to me the Nuncio said:
“Fr. Flannery has been asked by his religious superiors not to say Mass publicly”.
The clear implication of all he said was that it was the Redemptorists who imposed the penalties on me.
I must give great credit to Gay Byrne for the way he challenged the Nuncio, and I wish him every blessing in his upcoming treatment for a health issue.

I have got very tired of this constant failure by the Vatican to own up to their action in my case. I wrote a letter to the Nuncio the next day, saying that I have documentary evidence that the CDF were behind it all, and asking him to correct what he said publicly. (Of course my evidence wouldn’t stand up in a court of law, because the CDF were smart enough to put no name or address on any of their documentation. Now I can see that was very deliberate policy!). I will be interested in the Nuncio’s reply.
I also wrote to my religious superiors, requesting that they make a statement clarifying exactly what happened, and to do so publicly. I have asked for this a number of times in the past four years. I am not confident that I will get a positive response.

I read with great interest today (Friday) the report from Judge Maureen Harding Clark on the Symphysiotomy controversy. I don’t know enough about pregnancy, or the medical situation at the time, to comment sensibly about it. But I have always felt that the Ryan Report (2003) into institutional abuse in religious run institutions was lacking in nuance and balance, and that the voices of the nuns were not listened to. Maybe if Judge Handing Clark had been conducting it, we might have had a more fair report.

One of the lovely aspects of life in the past four years, since I am no longer performing public ministry and have got involved with the Church Reform movement, is that I have come to know a great many lovely people that I would not otherwise have met. One such occasion was yesterday evening in Paddy Burke’s in Clarinbridge. A couple, visiting Ireland from Edinburgh, came down to meet me. We had a marvellous few hours, covering a whole range of topics, personal, religious and political. (And Paddy Burke’s, in my experience, is hard to beat for top quality food). So, Margaret and Paul, thanks for a wonderful evening.