Threatened with Excommunication, Tony Flannery holds firm to his beliefs
[this interview was conducted just prior to Fr. Flannery’s visit to Syracuse]
Margery Eagan, spirituality columnist, is a writer and commentator on current affairs.
October 29, 2014
Tony Flannery has done what few of us could. He sacrificed his career and his passion for his principles. It’s been anything but easy.
All four of the Galway Flannerys joined religious orders. The three priests and one nun were the children of an ambitious Irish mother who well understood that an affordable religious education was her best hope of saving them from poverty.
“So I was third on the conveyor belt,” says Flannery, now 67, who grew up to love his Catholic faith, his Church, and his work as a Redemptorist preacher traveling from Irish parish to Irish parish holding revivals to renew that faith. He would have celebrated 50 years in religious life this year, save for this: For years now, he has very publicly spoken out against the Church’s stands on the origins of the priesthood, ordaining women to it, contraception, and gays – some of the same issues cardinals debated and commented on publicly at the synod in Rome.