Supporters Rally around Dismissed Pastor

By J. Michael Parker
San Antonio Express-News [Texas]
October 14, 1997

A day after the announcement that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio had removed a longtime pastor from its largest parish, church leaders rallied behind the pastor.

Meanwhile, archdiocese officials on Monday refused to elaborate on unspecified allegations against him.

Archbishop Patrick Flores announced Sunday in a letter to parishioners that he had asked Monsignor John A. Flynn to leave the 5,700-member St. Matthew's Catholic Church, 10703 Wurzbach Road, until the allegations are clarified.

The letter said the allegations were made by an adult woman and referred to "events that occurred many years ago."

Tom Fox, a permanent deacon at St. Matthew's, said he and other parish leaders know nothing about the allegations beyond the contents of Flores' letter.

"Our reaction is shock, disbelief and concern. Everyone I know is rallying around Monsignor (Flynn) because he's done many wonderful things for them and for this parish," Fox said. "When people have gone through difficulties, he's been there for them."

A check of Bexar County Courthouse records showed no criminal or civil charges have ever been filed against Flynn.

The archbishop had no comment about the allegations Monday but plans to have an open meeting with parishioners at the church at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

"I'm not certain any further information will be available even then," said Monsignor Lawrence J. Stuebben, director of administration for the archdiocese.

"But we want to help the people of the parish through this, and part of that would be sharing more information with them when it's available," he added.

Several pastors in other parishes said they learned of Flynn's removal during the past week, but knew no details.

Only one would speak on the record, but all said they knew nothing more than the information published Monday in the San Antonio Express-News.

"I've known John Flynn since 1959, when I first came to San Antonio, and everything I know about him is good. He's one of the hardest-working priests in this archdiocese," said Monsignor Liam Brosnan, pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Church.

"I worked with him on the tribunal for 19 years. He was completely compassionate, very understanding and very gracious to people," the priest said.

"He's been long known for doing many good things for people. He's just a good, decent man," Brosnan added.

Flynn, 69, was ordained for the Archdiocese of San Antonio on June 12, 1952, in Waterford, Ireland. He served in St. Ann's, St. Henry's and St. Mary Magdalen parishes in San Antonio; Sacred Heart in Halletsville; St. Michael's in Cuero; and Sts. Peter and Paul in Meyersville.

He was pastor of St. John's in San Antonio from 1969 to 1974 and pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Selma from 1974 until his appointment as pastor of St. Matthew's in December 1980.

Flynn became a monsignor in November 1984.

He's served on the archdiocese's board of consultors, presbyteral council, school development board and tribunal.


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