Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry has indicated that Irish bishops may soon ‘reach out’ to six priests censured in the wake of the Vatican’s ‘visitation’ of the Irish Catholic church in 2012.
Asked in Dublin by a reporter for the US ‘National Catholic Reporter’ about the plight of priests such as Fr Tony Flannery – who is banned from priestly duties such as the Mass – Bishop McKeown responded: “We have to be constantly reaching out — that is the job of followers of Christ. What form that will take as regards to the individuals you talk about is another thing.”
Asked by NCR what form this reaching out might ideally take, Fr Flannery responded: “My answer to that is simple. All I have ever looked for in relation to myself and others who are accused of ‘dissent’ is a process that is fair, just and transparent.”
However, as the process that led to the censuring of these priests was controlled by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it will take a radical shift in the church’s disciplinary process for any ‘reaching out’ by Irish bishops to effect a change in the status of those priests.
For the full NCR article click here.