Flynn Working in Longview

By J. Michael Parker
San Antonio Express-News [Texas]
November 20, 1999

A former San Antonio priest who resigned from the city's largestCatholic parish in late 1997 after being accused of misconduct witha young woman more than 20 years earlier is working at a mission inLongview, his bishop said.

Monsignor John A. Flynn has been celebrating Mass and performingother priestly functions at St. Matthew's Church, a small missionof St. Anthony's Parish in Longview, Tyler Bishop Edmond Carmodysaid.

Carmody, a former San Antonio priest and auxiliary bishop who hasheaded the Tyler diocese since 1992, said Flynn, now 71, has noassignment in the diocese and has sought none.

"He's not a pastor or a parochial vicar. He simply helps out at St.Matthew's Church, which is a mission of St. Anthony's Parish inLongview. Father Ben Smylie is pastor of both churches," the bishopsaid.

"John (Flynn) says Mass there and does other things you'd expect apriest to do. He also works with the diocesan tribunal as he hassince he came here," Carmody said.

Smylie, reached by phone, referred inquiries to Monsignor GavinVaverick, chancellor of the Tyler diocese. Vaverick was out ofstate and could not be reached for comment.

Flynn was pastor of St. Matthew's Parish in San Antonio, thelargest Catholic parish in South Texas, for almost 17 years. InOctober 1997, Archbishop Patrick Flores shocked the parish byannouncing the archdiocese was investigating allegations involvingsexual misconduct with a woman more than two decades earlier.

A month later, after treatment at St. Luke's Institute in SilverSpring, Md. near Washington, D.C., Flynn resigned as pastor andretired from the active priesthood. St. Luke's is a treatmentcenter for priests with sexual problems.

No criminal charge or civil suit was ever filed against Flynn.

Carmody, a friend of Flynn's for many years, said he invited theretired priest to stay with him in Tyler after Flynn's return fromSt. Luke's, but Flynn now lives in Longview.

The bishop said Flynn is not a threat to anyone.

"We're all sinful. When we confess our sins and have a firm purposeof amendment, we receive forgiveness and go on with our lives to dogood.

"John recognizes the mistakes he made and his need for God's help.He intends never to commit that sin again."

Carmody noted Flynn's alleged misconduct occurred decades ago,adding:

"We're about to enter a jubilee year, and the meaning of jubilee isforgiveness. It's time to forgive and go on."

Flynn was ordained for the San Antonio archdiocese in 1952 inWaterford, Ireland.


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