150 people picket Papal Nuncio's residence over 'shabby, unjust' treatment of gagged priest

Fr Tony Flannery

More than 150 people picketed the residence of the Papal Nuncio in Dublin this afternoon in protest at the Catholic Church's treatment of well-known Irish missionary Fr Tony Flannery.

Last week Fr Flannery said he had been censored by the Vatican for his views on homosexuality and women priests, and called the Vatican's systems "unfair and unjust".

The 800-strong Association of Catholic Priests previously warned that forcing Father Tony Flannery to stop writing for a Redemptorist Order magazine would fuel belief of a disconnect between Irish Catholics and Rome.

Fr Flannery, a founder of the association, had his monthly column with the religious publication 'Reality' discontinued on orders from Rome.

Brendan Butler, the spokesperson for the 'We Are Church Ireland' group which organised the protest, said he was happy with the turnout today.

"Any amount of people who are willing to stand up and confront the Vatican over their shabby and unjust treatment of Fr Tony Flannery is very welcome," he said.

"I think it is very important that we stand with him, because he has had the courage of his convictions and he is paying for that."

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