I have just been reading about the Irish Redemptorist Tony Flannery, who has been for sometime been denying the priesthood [and Episcopacy] was instituted by Christ. Fannery is one the founders of the Irish Association of Catholic Priests, which claims to represent a quarter of Irish clergy.
The New York Times reports:
...the Vatican objected in particular to an article published in 2010 in Reality, an Irish religious magazine. In the article, Father Flannery, a Redemptorist priest, wrote that he no longer believed that “the priesthood as we currently have it in the church originated with Jesus” or that he designated “a special group of his followers as priests.”Flannery has a history of this type of teaching, in fact it seems to be very much part of the founding theology of the ACP and does not seem entirely alien to some of the statements of certain Irish Bishops, who have only recently retired.
Instead, he wrote, “It is more likely that some time after Jesus, a select and privileged group within the community who had abrogated power and authority to themselves, interpreted the occasion of the Last Supper in a manner that suited their own agenda.”
I really do believe "The Vatican" should not be correcting heresies of priests like Flannery, who locally might be influential but on the international scene are really quite insignificant. The fact he and priests like him have had such an influence in Ireland is yet another sign of the failure of the Irish Epicopacy. A judgement by the CDF against a priest like Flannery is an indictment against the bishops who fail to "oversee". As the successors of the Apostles it is their role to "teach and refute error", before it developes into a gangrene that affects the whole body of the Church.
The simple fact that Flannery and his ilk are suddenly shocked by an intervention from the CDF demonstrates that the Irish bisops have fallen down on the responsibilities for years. Such obvious deviations from the Catholic faith should be dealt with at a local level, the failure to both identify and react to beliefs that are contrary to faith handed on by the Apostles is a very serious reflection on the health of a local Church.
Personally, I hope for the day when Bishops are appoint locally, which is one of ACP's demands, but that can never be unless the local Church holds the faith of the Catholic Church.