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The television version of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall is the latest account to challenge St Thomas More’s reputation as a courageous defender of the rights of conscience. Was he, in truth, a liberal icon, a religious fanatic or something in between?
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News from Britain and Ireland
A former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) last week defended the censuring by the Vatican of the Irish Redemptorist Fr Tony Flannery, writes Sarah Mac Donald.
Cardinal William Levada, who oversaw the initial investigation into Fr Flannery, said the priest had been censured for his views on the priesthood and the Eucharist.
“He wrote two articles in Reality magazine in which he questioned, undermined, the teaching of the Church on the Eucharist and on the priesthood. If you hold these positions you are formally in heresy,” the cardinal said in an interview with The Irish Catholic newspaper.
In 2012 Fr Flannery, founder of the Irish Association of Catholic Priests, was suspended from ministry and threatened with excommunication unless he signed a document adhering to church teaching on contraception, women’s ordination and homosexuality.
But Fr Flannery told The Tablet that he had reached agreement with the then CDF head in June 2011 and signed a statement that Cardinal Levada accepted. According to Fr Flannery, it was Cardinal Levada’s successor, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, who introduced the issue of his views on women priests and the modern teachings of the Church. He stressed that the issues over the priesthood and Eucharist had been cleared up.