Liam Flannery was born in Rear Cross, Co Tipperary. When he joined the Dominican Order in 1943 he was given the name Austin, by which he was known for the rest of his life. First profession as a Dominican, in September 1944, led to studies in theology at St Marys Priory, Tallaght, and then at Blackfriars, Oxford, before he was ordained a priest in 1950.
After further studies at the Angelicum in Rome, he was sent to teach theology at Glenstal Abbey, Co Limerick.In August 1957, he began what was to prove his lifes work when he was appointed editor of the monthly magazine Doctrine and Life. During the years of Vatican Council II (1962-1965) he focused on the council documents and how its decisions were to be implemented. Since then, the magazine retains an interest in the need for reform.
Over the years, Fr Flannery founded three other magazines, Religious Life Review (1962), Scripture in Church (1970), and Spirituality (1994). His Vatican Council II: Constitutions, Decrees, Declarations is now the standard English-language version, often cited in footnotes simply as Flannery.