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.