Why we are Hosting Father Tony Flannery

People of Conscience: A conversation with Fr. Tony Flannery

An evening hosted by Call To Action of Upstate NY

Join us for this conversation on Wednesday evening, Oct 29, 2014, at 7:00pm

At the May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society

3800 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY

Why we are hosting this talk: 

  • Fr. Tony Flannery is an example of what a priest should be: a pastoral, thoughtful, inclusive and engaging leader, yet he’s been bullied by the Vatican for working to revitalize our wounded Church.  We are inspired by Fr. Flannery’s determination to make Vatican II reforms a greater reality in the Church and excited to hear more about how lay people and priests can work together to co-create the Church we believe in. The Church we deserve.
  • The institutional Church has tried to silence Fr. Flannery and has suspended him from his ministry claiming his writings were in conflict with Catholic teaching.   Yet Fr. Flannery has refused to violate his conscience or abandon his work for justice in the Church he loves.  We too face pressure from the hierarchy to quietly acquiesce, but we know our Church needs members who believe it can be better.  We are proud of our history and inspired by the many saints who questioned authority, stood strong for what their conscience told them was right and demanded dialogue over unjust punishment.
  • For our Church to regain its vitality, we need to join together to honestly discuss the issues and work to make our Church a more open place.  The Catholic climate has changed. Priests are organizing, sisters are speaking out, and the laity are assuming their rights as expressed in Vatican II. We are ready to work together to transform the Church. We are ready for the Catholic Church to embrace the radical notion of dialogue.



  • The Catholic Tipping Point speaking tour is co-sponsored by 11 lay-led Catholic organizations, including Call To Action, Dignity and Women’s Ordination Conference.  We have joined together to bring Fr. Flannery to audiences of progressive Catholics and advocates of a more open Church across the country.  This is the second national tour which the coalition has organized to discuss the future of ministry and leadership in our Church.
  • Like many of his generation, Fr. Tony Flannery began his journey to priesthood as a teenager in the 1950s and has been a faithful servant of the Church ever since.  As a young priest his formation was infused with the values and spirit of Vatican II, and it is in that spirit that he continues to advocate for a Church that is in step with the modern world. He is “one of many Catholics who claim the freedom to find God and proclaim the God they see in the community, rather than serving a God of clerical systems and canonical limits,” writes Anthony Padovano in his book review.
  • Fr. Tony Flannery is a founder and active leader of The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), a grassroots group which acts to provide priests with an opportunity and a voice to engage in the debates taking place in Irish society and which advocates for a “full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council.”
  • In 2012, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith demanded that Fr. Flannery step down from leadership at the Association of Catholic Priests and sign an oath agreeing to official Church teachings about contraception, ordination, homosexuality and the inability of women to be priests.  He refused.
  • The CDF tried to silence Fr. Flannery but he has continued to lead the ACP, which stood with him, and to speak out for Church reform through his book, speaking tours and interviews with the media.


People of Conscience: Reforming the Church Today

The NationalCatholic Tipping Point Tour 2014

is proud to announce Fr. Tony Flannery will speak in Syracuse, NY on Wednesday Oct 29, 2014.

This event on the national speaking tour is hosted by Upstate NY CTA.

People of Conscience: Reforming the Church Today


Join us at the May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society

3800 East Genesee St.,  Syracuse, NY 13214

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Time: 7:00pm

In February 2012 Tony Flannery, a Redemptorist and founder member of the Associ­ation of Catholic Priests in Ireland, bestselling author and regular columnist with Reality magazine, was informed that the Vatican watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), was unhappy with some of his writings relating to the priestly ministry in the Church. Tony was summoned to Rome and told that until he revised his views he would not be allowed to minister as a priest or have any dealings with media. He was to step down as leader of the ACP.

Although he offered a statement of clarification and it seemed as if the matter were closed, a few months later the CDF made further demands that were unacceptable to him. He was required to issue a statement that he accepted all the moral teachings of the Church and that women could never be ordained priests. The CDF forbade him to return to priestly ministry, or be involved with the ACP, until he agree to publish this statement. He was put under €˜formal precept of obedience€™ not to attend the AGM of the ACP (He did attend it.).

During the time in question, the greater part of a year, the CDF never communicated directly with Tony Flannery. Documentation came through Michael Brehl, leader of the Redemptorists. It was on typed A4 pages without heading, stamp or signature. The CDF warned him about the need for total secrecy and threatened with excommunication and dismissal from the Redemptorists.

Tony Flannery became convinced that he would never be allowed to return to ministry and that the real target of the CDF was his role in the Association of Catholic Priests. He went public on the matter in January 2013. A Question of Conscience (2013), which reproduces the CDF documentation relating to this case, provides conclusive proof of the Vatican’s determination to stamp out what it regards as dissent, no matter how unjust and devious the methods it uses.

All CTA members and friends are encouraged to attend this exciting talk at the May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society in Syracuse.  Good will offering will be asked.  More information to come. 



Spring Thruway Tour with Diana Hayes

Upstate NY Call To Action coordinated with local venues to bring Diana Hayes, noted theologian, now retired from Georgetown University, to members and friends across the state.  During the last week in April 2014 she spoke to a full house in Buffalo co-sponsored by the UB Newman Center and CTA of Western NY.

Her talk in Buffalo was the first in a series of talks in the new Women Wisdom Series sponsored by the Newman Center.  The title of her talk in that location was “Standing in the Shoes My Mother Made: The Making of a Womanist Theologian.”

More info available at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.759147660784268.1073741835.129891673709873&type=1

Diana proceeded to Syracuse to speak at St. Lucy’s, back to Rochester to speak at the Church of the Transfiguration and then on to Albany where she spoke at the Hubbard Sanctuary at the College of St. Rose.  She reminded us that she prepared and delivered remarks at the Hubbard Sanctuary when it first was dedicated. 

“The Challenge of Renewing the Church: Pope Francis, Vatican II, and You” was her topic for the remaining three talks. 

Diana speaking in Albany.

Albany area woman ordained ARCWP Deacon in Cincinnati

Kathie Ryan was ordained as Deacon in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Cincinnati on July 19 by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan. 


Kathie Ryan on right


This is the testimonial that Mary Theresa Streck read during the ordination ceremony:

Kathleen Ruth Ryan is married with the love of her life, Edward Ryan. Kathie is a mother of two sons, and grandmother of 5 grandchildren.  For the first 15 years of her marriage, she worked at home raising her children. With the support and encouragement of her husband she returned to school in 1985 where she earned a degree in Spanish Education followed by a Masters in Social Work.

Kathie taught in a parochial inner city school and worked with the poor at the local church food pantry for a brief time. The majority of her professional career was working at Parsons Child and Family Center with sexually abused children and their families. She retired after 15 years and opened a private practice where she currently sees clients who are suffering from depression and anxiety.

Kathie has spend many years involved in church ministry as a lector, Eucharistic minister, parish council president, prayer and worship committee member, catechist and group leader in Formation for Ministry.

Kathie knew there was so much more to ministry and was pulled and drawn by the Spirit until she was lead to the Inclusive Catholic Community of Albany. She is a member of this community’s leadership circle that is creating a sustainable, inclusive, evolutionary, and spiritual community. It is with great joy that I recommend Kathie for ordination.

Mary Theresa Streck, Ed.D.

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests