E MAIL TO IRISH REDEMPTORIST PROVINCIAL.
Dear Fr. Baragry,
I address you as the Provincial of the Irish Redemptorists about certain matters that have recently come to my attention pertaining to the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., who died on November 13, 2020.
As you are probably aware, I am “known” for blogging about contentious matters in the Irish church. On September 24 of this month, I blogged about that your confrere, Fr. Tony Flannery, C.Ss.R., celebrating the funeral liturgy of his late sister, Geraldine Flannery, in a private home.
Notwithstanding, the canonical prohibitions on the priestly ministry of her brother, Fr. Tony Flannery, C.Ss.R., I was, however, surprised that the funeral liturgy was not celebrated in the Redemptorist Church at Esker.
It is clear that the Flannery family in their early years were faith-filled. The fact that the three (3) Flannery brothers entered the Redemptorist Congregation is evidence of same. Two (2) of the brothers remained and were ordained to the priesthood (Tony and Peter) but Frank Flannery left became an important and influential figure as a political consultant and the Director of Organisations and Strategy for Fine Gael. And, I understand that the late Geraldine Flannery was a nun of the Mercy Congregation, who was teaching for a number of years.
The travails of Fr. Tony Flannery C.Ss.R., with the Holy See are well-known, and they are not addressed within the present. However, I do wish to address a number of issues that are brought to my attention following the publication of my blog on September 24.
To my considerable surprise and shock — several people contacted me and brought to my attention a number of very serious allegations about the behaviour of the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., and as a consequence of same the purpose of this e-mail is to ask a number of important questions of the Irish Province of the Redemptorists.
Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R.
It is alleged that the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., had a deeply unhealthy interest in young girls, and that his behaviour towards/with young girls was morally repugnant and potentially criminal? Are these allegations true?
Is it true that this alleged behaviour of the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., was widely known within the Irish Province of the Redemptorists and had been ignored/covered-up for a conspicuous period of time?
Is it true that following a number of incidences that led to complaints that the Irish Province of the Redemptorists had no choice but to commence an investigation?
Is it true that the allegations against the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., were deemed to be sufficiently serious/credible that they were delated simultaneously to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life at the Holy See?
Is it true that the competent Dicastery, i.e., the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith upon completion of their investigation upheld the allegations made against the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R.?
Is it true that upon completion of the penal process the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., was permanently stripped of his priestly faculties by Decree?
Do you know of any time during the process did the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., petition for voluntary laicisation?
Can you shed any light behind the reasons why the Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R, was not forcibly laicised?
Was this due to his co-operation with the process or was perhaps due to the fact he was at that time an older man; beset by a number of serious health conditions?
Did the Holy See exercise the prerogative of mercy with respect to the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R?
It is my understanding that in the last years of his life, Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., did not enjoy good health; hence, the prohibition on his priestly ministry was meaningless as he was not in a position to publicly minister/function as a priest due to his ill-health.
Were the allegations made against the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., referred to An Garda Síochána? If not; why not?
If the allegations have not been referred to An Garda Síochána — do you consider that they should be now referred to the force?
Did the Irish-based Redemptorist Congregation pay financial settlements to victims of the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R.?
If so; were these financial settlements approved by the Superior General of the Order? And, as an aside: were the financial settlements paid from the reserves of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorist Congregation) or by its insurers and/or a combination of both?
With the passing of time — if the actions of the Redemptorist Congregation were subjected to an independent review would you be confident that the actions of the Irish-based Redemptorists were compliant with Code of Canon Law and civil law of the Republic of Ireland?
Would the Irish Redemptorists welcome an independent review of its handling of the complaints made against Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R.?
Were the allegations made against Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., referred to An Garda Síochána? If so, to which police stations?
Do you know if an independent investigation(s) into the allegations made against the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., were conducted by An Garda Síochána? Do you know if An Garda Síochána then sent the results of their completed investigation(s) the Director of Public Prosecutions?
Are you able to shed any light that underpinned the reasoning of the director of public prosecutions not to bring criminal proceedings against the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R.?
Why did the Irish-based Redemptorists NOT make a public announcement about the allegations and invite alleged victims of the Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., to come forward?
Since his death has any other complainant(s) come forward and to make a complaint(s) against the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R.?
Following the publication of the Cloyne Report, the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny, launched a blistering attack on the Holy See condemning what he considered its obscurantist attitude. It was noteworthy that Fr. Tony Flannery C.Ss.R., was very supportive of the statement made by then Taoiseach. He is reported as saying:
“I was happy with the Taoiseach’s statement . . . Many of us priests are frustrated with the way the Vatican conducts its business”.
Are you in a position to proffer any insight why his brother, Fr. Tony Flannery C.Ss.R., has maintained a steadfast silence about his deceased brother?
Was he unhappy with the way the Holy See treated his brother?
Is Fr. Tony Flannery C.Ss.R., unhappy with the fact that the Holy See exercised the prerogative of mercy in favour of his brother?
Do you consider that Fr. Tony Flannery C.Ss.R., should publicly condemn his brother if the allegations about the late Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., are true? He has been very quick to castigate other officials in the church. Hence, I would submit that his silence on this matter is peculiar, troubling, and very surprising in light of the fact that he is willing to proffer an opinion on everything that is church-related.
Do you know if these allegations about Fr. Peter Flannery C.Ss.R., were known to his brother, Frank Flannery, was previously remarked with a significant political figure in Irish public life?
I would be grateful for a prompt acknowledgement along with answers to these questions within five (5) working days.
With prayerful best wishes,
+ Pat Buckley
My information in this matter came from a number of sources including a senior canon lawyer who has knowledge of this case.
These are important matters in the context of the need for totally transparenency in ALL cases of abuse – given the RCC’s tragic history of cover up and lack of transparency.
This is also an important case given that relatives of the deceased priest aee very prominent in Irish public life.
The Redemptorists, unsurprisingly, have not acknowledged or replied to my email.