Rome Lifts Sanctions on Silenced Irish Priest

Rome Lifts Sanctions on Silenced Irish Priest April 30, 2014

The term for this is “mercy”. The essential paragraph:

“It was reported at the weekend that the CDF’s change of stance towards Fr Fagan was because “he loves the Church in spite of all its weaknesses: that he accepted his censure and observed his restrictions; and to his advanced age.”

He has been seriously ill for years and is 86 years old. This is mercy – to allow him to die in good standing. I like a Church of mercy.

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  • Humphrey

    Good for him, even do he doesn`t like all the pesky Church teachings i am glad they have done this.

    OK,maybe i would object, but i am not 86 and ill so…

  • BillyT92679

    Pat Archbold is, natch, ripping this a good one.

  • BillyT92679

    I’m not trying to be flip/glib. Patrick Archbold is seriously in need of stepping away from blogging. I’m not a huge Fr. Z guy and I think he tends to be a bit passive-aggressive in his views toward the Holy Father, but he does defend Francis. Pat Archbold is far more vociferous and it’s problematic.

    • chezami

      No argument from me.

  • Matthew

    WIll it do Fr. Fagan’s soul any good if he dies in “good standing” with the Church and yet dies still holding on to his belief that abortion is okay? These penalties were at one time seen as a warning that one stood at serious risk of losing one’s soul. Are we, the Church, really helping Fr. Fagan step back from that brink or are we only giving him the impression that he is stepping back??

    • Humphrey

      This is a act of mercy, don`t look for anything else.

      Yes, this will scandalize some catholics,but then again samo catholics are always scandalized and some other catholics will take this as Church approval of theirs and Fr.Fagans beliefs, but then again they would think they are right anyway.

      • Matthew

        Humphrey: Is it mercy to let a man die thinking he has reconciled with God when he has not? That seems the most unmerciful thing imaginable.

        • We should be careful to avoid equating lifting excommunication with reconciliation. That is surely not the teaching of the Church nor, I imagine, the intention of Pope Francis….which we would do very well to avoid guessing! Here there be dragons, and all that.

          If we had to guess (and given the dearth of verifiable facts, that’s all we’re doing here), it would be more feasible to guess that the excommunication was lifted as an encouragment to seek the sacrament of Reconciliation, not as a substitute for it.

          [UPDATED April 30, 2014, 1640]
          As Athelstane points out in a comment below, its not clear that Father Fagan was ever excommunicated. I apologize for my assumption that he was.

          • Athelstane

            Was Fr. Fagan in fact excommunicated?

            I didn’t think he had been.

            • Guest

              Yikes. There’s a point that ought to be confirmed amidst all of the blogsphere commentary! Thanks for pointing it out.

      • Athelstane

        You talk so lightly of scandal, but scandal is a real concept, and sometimes there’s genuine cause for it.

        If a pipefitter from Cork can go to hell for contracepting or procuring abortion or having homosexual sex without repenting, what should we say of the priest who told him it wasn’t a real sin? Or the theologian who formed that priest and encouraged him? Well, Fr. Fagan is both of those, and he dissents, noisily, on a broad range of Church doctrines, including big ones like whether Christ founded the Church.

        So who looks out for the welfare of the flock when the shepherds turn into wolves? That’s supposed to be the Church, when it does unpleasant things like discipline (or even excommunicate) priests. We will never know, in this life, how many souls were helped along their way to hell because of Fr. Fagan and priests like him. We pray a merciful God will extend mercy on those of the flock so badly led. But these are the stakes. Misguided mercy can do more harm than good (and it is not an infallible act). We had better all pray that’s not what’s happening here.

        • Trust the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church & Her leaders – especially the Pope. And pray for Father Fagan, who is surely closer than most to his final reward.

  • Thomas Boynton Tucker

    Couldn’t we at least torture him a little bit first?

    • Thomas Boynton Tucker

      With handguns?

  • Athelstane

    And yet as of this posting, the Holy See has made no official comment on this whatsoever. All we have so far is a public statement by the Marist Order that gives little information, and the unnamed sources that the Irish Times talked to – and so far this is the only original reportage on this story. All other outlets are citing the Times story.

    In short, the Holy See has declined to officially confirm this development, let alone characterize the reason why it was taken. Fr Fagan’s age and health are cited in passing by the Times, but it’s not given as an explicit reason. Perhaps it is. The difficulty, however, is that the same concerns were present when Pope Benedict had the CDF take action ( and even threaten laicization) against Fr Fagan in 2010. So was Pope Benedict heartless then? Or has Fr Fagan shown signs of repentance? The fact is, we don’t know. You’re simply offering speculation about why this was done.

    And there is plenty of that going around. The dissident Association of Catholic Priests (which shares Fr Fagan’s views on women’s ordination, homosexuality, and contraception) is claiming that it believed “that a concerted effort by the orders and congregations, supported by the Irish bishops, could lead to the lifting of similar restrictions on other members of the ACP colleagues of Fr Fagan, and from the Marist congregations.” Mercy doesn’t seem to factor into their speculation, however.

  • Claudine I. Ferraro

    After just short of a decade long respite, it’s fun to sit back and watch RadTrads have conniptions over stuff like this. Praying Francis pardons more

    • Steven Cornett

      So in other words you’re wishing our Holy Pontiff would cause more scandal and division by pardoning more dissenters who spread confusion about the Faith?

      That’s wishing evil on those who take the Faith seriously on top of the damage promoted by such pardons. Where is the mercy in that?

      Or is scandal what you’re hoping for? Like watching a car accident scene?