Dissident Irish Priests: ‘Bishops Are Spineless Nerds and Sycophantic Half-wits’

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by Rodney Pelletier  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  November 10, 2017   

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ATHLONE, Ireland (ChurchMilitant.com) - Members of a liberal priests' group are calling some Irish bishops names after claiming their views are not being respected.  

At a meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), a group of dissident priests, Abbott Patrick Herndon asked the priests to stop calling bishops "spineless nerds and sycophantic half-wits," claiming that type of language is not helping their cause, adding "even the most junior politician and unseasoned diplomat would tell them that they are going about it the wrong way."

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The priests are complaining that Irish bishops have "a clear lack of leadership," adding that they believe they are "reluctant to follow the example of Pope Francis."

The group also discussed the increasing pressures of being a priest in Ireland, claiming that mental illness and depression are claiming some of them due to overwork and increasing isolation. In the last 10 years eight Irish priests have committed suicide.

The ACP's founder, Fr. Tony Flannery, has been censured by the Vatican over his promotion of women priests. He is refusing, however, to recant his position.

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Fr. Tony Flannery

Flannery told The New York Times, he will not be "terrified into submission," going further to add, "If I signed this, it would be a betrayal not only of myself but of my fellow priests and lay Catholics who want change.”

The ACP advocates for many practices violating the doctrine, tradition and discipline of the Catholic Church, including married priests, the ordination of women to the priesthood and the diaconate, calling for the "redesigning of Ministry in the Church, in order to incorporate the gifts, wisdom and expertise of the entire faith community, male and female."

Their constitutions also call for the "re-evaluation" of Church teaching on sexual morality, "inclusive" liturgical celebrations and the "[f]ull acceptance that the Spirit speaks through all people, including those of faiths other than Christian and those of no religious faith, so that the breath of the Spirit will flow more freely."

The Catholic Herald commented members of the ACP tend to be "rather elderly" and its proposals "are largely the same ideas that were fashionable in the 1970s and that have failed to breathe new life into the Church across much of Europe."

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Rodney Pelletier

Rodney Pelletier is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com.

Follow Rodney on Twitter: @RodPelletier