Radio silence?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Nov 05, 2014

Don’t you immediately see the problem with this headline from St. Louis Public Radio?

Priest Silenced By Vatican Shares His Story

If Father Tony Flannery is “sharing his story” on the air, he isn’t being silent, is he? As a matter of fact, if the Irish priest is traveling across the ocean to give a talk, he’s not acting very silent at all.

It’s conventional to portray the Vatican as the dark power, punishing all critics. But it’s important to keep in mind that the Vatican actually has very little power in this world. The Vatican might have tried to silence Father Flannery. It didn’t work. So now he travels the world as a minor celebrity, giving public speeches about how he has been silenced.

In St. Louis, by the way, he’ll be speaking at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Does that name ring a bell? Last year the rebellious administrators of that parish settled a long-running legal dispute with the Archdiocese of St. Louis, in which they agreed that they would no longer present the parish as a Catholic church. Thus the priest who will not follow a directive from the Vatican will be speaking to parishioners in a congregation that won’t follow directives from the archdiocese.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: kwonbbl1 - Feb. 21, 2017 4:36 PM ET USA

    Time is for a separate Gay Catholic Church?

  • Posted by: feedback - Feb. 17, 2017 7:31 PM ET USA

    The only way to put an end to erroneous theological opinions on human sexuality is to reinstate strict ban on ordinations of homosexuals. This becomes especially pressing issue today - in the age of gender identity "confusion" and the so-called "gay marriage." Ordaining homosexuals does not serve the good of the Church, or even the good of the homosexual individuals. It endangers souls.

  • Posted by: MWCooney - Feb. 17, 2017 1:52 PM ET USA

    Archbishop Fulton Sheen often told a story that recalled Judas' protest against "wasting" precious oil that could be sold to increase their treasury and, ultimately, to help the poor. Sheen said that Judas was actually a thief, and that his feigned concern for the poor was used to disguise his thieving. Here we see the same "pious" protestations against the "rigid" adherence to the divine law disguising the celebration of a grave sin. Yet so many pay attention to these people.