The Association of US Catholic Priests (AUSCP) has replaced a keynote speaker at its 12th Annual Assembly (taking place June 12-15 at the University of San Diego) with a university Theology professor who claims to be “married” to another man. Cardinal Louis Tagle had to cancel his participation in the Assembly because he had been appointed by Pope Francis as his Special Envoy to the National Eucharistic Congress of the Democratic Republic of the Congo at a time that made his presence impossible.
Replacing Cd. Tagle is Dr. Brian Flanagan, Associate Professor of Theology at Marymount University and president of the College Theology Society.
Dr. Flanagan openly admits that he is “married” to another man, boasts of his affectionate homosexual activities, publicly broadcasts his homosexual activism, his socialist leanings, and even blasphemous images of both Jesus and Mary.
The inclusion of Dr. Flanagan as a keynote speaker for the AUSCP comes on the heels of the AUSCP’s recent document, endorsed by the AUSCP Leadership Team, “BEING GAY, ORDAINED, FAITHFUL TO THE CHURCH AND APPRECIATED BY THE CHURCH – Are all these possible in today’s Church?” As reported by the Lepanto Institute two weeks ago, this document calls for the Catholic Church to ordain homosexual priests and pursue “a new Catholic ethic of human sexuality and sexual behavior.”
Dr. Brian Flanagan’s Same Sex “Marriage”
Dr. Flanagan has made no secret of his “marriage” to Nathan Paxton, policy advisor and legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Angus King. On June 25, 2020 he posted “marriage” photos of himself and Paxton, writing, “Happy Anniversary to me and Nathan Paxton! Nine Years of married adventures, involving books, dachshunds, national parks, and gin.”
Paxton corroborated this “marriage” in his profile on Harvard University’s website:
Dr. Flanagan’s social media feed features many pictures of him with his homosexual partner living together as a domestic couple.
On June 6, 2021, Flanagan wrote a guest commentary titled, “The Bodies of Christ (Not a Typo)” for New Ways Ministry, reflecting on his sexual activities “as a gay man.” He wrote:
“For me, one of the small mercies of being a gay man has been freedom from some stereotypically masculine behaviors that privilege isolation and frown on physical affection between friends. For me being a gay man hasn’t been only about sex, but about daily, embodied signs of peace and love – hugs, kisses, and embraces that go beyond norms that try to limit our physical affection. That experience isn’t limited to gay men, but for many of us the freedom to openly embrace the people we love, regardless of their gender or gender expression, was a cardinal freedom of our coming out process.” (emphasis added)
Dr. Brian Flanagan’s Homosexual Activism
It’s not surprising to find Dr. Flanagan writing articles for New Ways Ministry considering the fact that he currently serves as a member of its Board of Directors.
As a regular participant and collaborator with the AUSCP, New Ways Ministry is a homosexual advocacy group that has been officially condemned by both the Vatican and the USCCB and is permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons. According to the 2010 USCCB condemnation penned by Cardinal Francis George:
“No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination. Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.”
On December 27, 2020, Flanagan wrote another article for New Ways Ministry titled, “The Holy Family: It’s Complicated.” In this article, Flanagan blasphemes the Holy Family by calling them “queer” as he attempts to make a case that same-sex “married” “families” are also reflections of the Holy Family. Complaining that same-sex “married” couples do not fit the “seemingly heteronormative ideal of husband, wife, child,” he wrote:
“For many other Catholics, however, and not only LGBTQ Catholics, the Feast of the Holy Family is one of the hardest Sundays of the year to endure. It ranks up there with the Feast of the Holy Trinity as a Sunday when I await what I’m going to hear in the homily with fear and trembling. If your parish uses long form of today’s reading from Colossians, we hear wives being instructed to “be subordinate to your husbands.” It’s always difficult to respond “Thanks be to God” to that! And for Catholics whose families do not resemble the seemingly heteronormative ideal of husband, wife, and child – because of death, illness, divorce, absence, chosen or unchosen singlehood, lack of much-wanted children, the genders in one’s marriage, or any of the other possibilities that make our families complicated –the Feast of the Holy Family is often experienced not as a warm, fuzzy celebration but as a reminder of how we no longer or never have fit in with such a vision of the family.”
For the majority of his commentary, Flanagan trips around various liberal comparisons to the Holy Family in a winding bid to somehow fit homosexual “families” into a reflection of the Holy Family. After quoting St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he concluded:
“The “putting on” of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love like a garment – “putting on Christ,” as Paul names it in Romans – requires renewal each day, particularly in families that are experience outside threats, ecclesial suspicion, or complicated relationships. In this sense, though, every holy family – straight or gay, small or large, traditional or blended – is a family of choice.”
In addition to sitting on the board of New Ways Ministry and writing guest articles for the condemned organization, Dr. Flanagan is a signatory as a theologian on New Ways Ministry’s statement “We Will Bless Same Gender Couples.”
Dr. Brian Flanagan’s Socialist Ideology
Dr. Flanagan’s same-sex “marriage” and homosexual activism aren’t the only problem. On social media he claims to have Marxist leanings and identifies as socialist.
This December 2019 Facebook post from Dr Flanagan jokes about a political poll he took that indicates he is into “Classical Marxism,” a “Third Way,” and “Marxist Feminism” (which usually means favoring contraception and/or abortion).
However, Dr. Flanagan is clearer on Twitter. Don December 7, 2021 he tweeted about wanting to obtain a “sweet Rhode Island Socialist Flag.”
In November of 2020, after someone asked him if he’s a “Patriots fan,” he responded by saying that he is “also a socialist.”
Dr. Brian Flanagan’s Blasphemous use of Images
Perhaps most troubling of all, given Dr. Flanagan’s position as a Catholic theologian, is his appropriation of Catholic images and art to convey either homosexual or socialist messages.
For example, this June 2019 Facebook post shows Dr. Flanagan posing with an image of Jesus decked out in LGBT rainbows, a “Pride” sticker, and the pro-same-sex “marriage” slogan “Love Wins”:
This June 13, 2022 Facebook post from Dr. Flanagan’s feed states that he helped to pass out LGBT Pride rainbow Rosaries, while he was wearing a blasphemous t-shirt that shows an image of our Blessed Mother – the most humble of all God’s creatures – robed in rainbow colors and labeled “Proud Mary.”
On November 12, 2016, Dr. Flanagan posted a picture of Our Blessed Lord decked out a radical Marxist:
On December 12, 2019, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dr. Flanagan posted a blasphemous image of Our Lady, depicted as a Marxist revolutionary in combat boots while raising a clenched fist in the Socialist salute:
On August 15, 2017, he posted an even worse image showing Our Lady spraying accelerant on flames engulfing a Nazi and Confederate flag and containing the blasphemous “prayer,” Oh Mary conceived without White Supremacy, Pray for us who are trying to dismantle this shit.”
The AUSCP, both in past actions and now with its proposed statement on priestly homosexuality and this speaker invitation is clearly signaling its obstinate refusal to honor official Catholic teaching on human sexuality and instead pursue the path of Modernist rupture and perversion.
The Lepanto Institute is renewing its call for bishops to formally condemn the AUSCP, forbidding their priests from being members.
Of further note, Marymount University should be investigated for violating its responsibilities as dictated by Ex Corde Ecclesia and the USCCB’s application of Ex Corde Ecclesia by employing Dr. Flanagan as a professor of Catholic theology.
Ex Corde Ecclesia, an Apostolic Constitution promulgated by Pope St. john Paul II concerning Catholic universities and their responsibilities toward students states in Article 4, Section 3:
“In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfill a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.” [emphasis added]
The application of Ex Corde Ecclesia, promulgated by the USCCB in 2001 states in regard to faculty:
- In accordance with its procedures for the hiring and retention of professionally qualified faculty and relevant provisions of applicable federal and state law, regulations and procedures, the university should strive to recruit and appoint Catholics as professors so that, to the extent possible, those committed to the witness of the faith will constitute a majority of the faculty. All professors are expected to be aware of and committed to the Catholic mission and identity of their institutions.
- All professors are expected to exhibit not only academic competence and good character but also respect for Catholic doctrine. When these qualities are found to be lacking, the university statutes are to specify the competent authority and the process to be followed to remedy the situation.
- Catholic theology should be taught in every Catholic university, and, if possible, a department or chair of Catholic theology should be established. Academic events should be organized on a regular basis to address theological issues, especially those relative to the various disciplines taught in the university.
- Both the university and the bishops, aware of the contributions made by theologians to Church and academy, have a right to expect them to present authentic Catholic teaching. Catholic professors of the theological disciplines have a corresponding duty to be faithful to the Church’s magisterium as the authoritative interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. [emphasis added]
Given what this report illustrates regarding Dr. Flanagan’s thoughts on human sexuality and the sacramental purpose of marriage, it is clear that his thoughts and ideas are not in line with the Church. At the very least, his continued work as a professor of theology in a Catholic university poses a great risk to Magisterial teaching and good morals.