Fr Flannery would be ‘surprised’ if bishops raise his case

Staff reporter

Controversial cleric Fr Tony Flannery has said he would be “surprised” if his case was discussed at a high-profile meeting of Vatican officials in Hungary this week.

The outspoken priest, who was suspended from ministry in 2012, said he would be “very happy” if Irish bishops attending the key meeting raised his case. He added, however, that he would be “very surprised” if they did so.

“I would be very happy if any Irish bishop would raise my situation with Vatican authorities. Since none of the bishops attending the conference have ever contacted me to ask how I am or to express an interest in my case, I would be very surprised it was brought up at the conference,” he told The Irish Catholic.

Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway and Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe are attending the meeting in Esztergom between senior members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Presidents of the European Episcopal Conferences.

The meeting is seen by some as an effort by Pope Francis to emphasise the importance of local and regional bodies and their responsibilities in dealing with doctrinal issues.

In a statement, the Vatican said the meeting indicates the will by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to support the local cpiscopates in their commitment to the promotion and protection of the doctrine of the Faith, taking into account the specific challenges facing Europe today.