Irish priest silenced by Vatican to speak Saturday in Independence

Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A well-known Irish priest who was suspended and muzzled by the Vatican is visiting Cleveland this weekend on an 18-city speaking tour.

The Rev. Tony Flannery, who is marking 50 years as a member of the Redemptorist order in County Galway, was suspended from public ministry in 2012 for suggesting that “the priesthood as we currently have it in the church” did not originate with Jesus.

He began to speak publicly on the need for church reform after refusing a year later to sign a statement saying that women can never be priests and that he accepted all the stances of the church on contraception, homosexuality and refusal of the sacraments to divorced and remarried Catholics.

He will speak on “Repairing a Damaged Church” at 7 p.m. Saturday at Independence Middle School, 6111 Archwood Drive, Independence. He is being sponsored by a nationwide coalition of reform and progressive Catholic groups including Lakewood-based FutureChurch.

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