Fr D'Arcy fifth priest censured by Vatican


ONE OF Ireland’s best known priests Fr Brian D’Arcy has been censured by the Vatican over four articles he wrote for the Sunday World newspaper in 2010.

Fr D’Arcy is the fifth Irish Catholic priest known to have been censured by the Vatican recently. The others are Redemptorist priests Fr Tony Flannery and Fr Gerard Moloney, Marist priest Fr Sean Fagan and Capuchin priest Fr Owen O’Sullivan.

The four articles by Fr D’Arcy concerned how the Vatican dealt with the issue of women priests; why US Catholics were leaving the church; why the church must take responsibility for clerical child sex abuse; and homosexuality.

The Vatican is also understood to have complained about headlines on some of the articles, which would have been written by editorial staff at the Sunday World.

Fr D’Arcy has been a columnist with the Sunday paper for decades. He is also a contributor to RTÉ programmes, BBC Radio 2’s Pause For Thought, and an author.

Now, in instances where he addresses matters of faith and morals in his writings or broadcasts, he must first submit these to a third party for clearance.

In a statement yesterday Fr Pat Duffy, Irish provincial superior of the Passionist congregation in Ireland, to which Fr D’Arcy belongs, said that “last year concerns were expressed to Fr Ottaviano D’Egidio – the Passionist superior general – by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) about some aspects of Fr Brian D’Arcy’s writings.”

He added: “Since then Fr Brian has been co-operating to ensure he can make a contribution to journalism in Ireland. Fr Brian remains a priest in good standing.”

According to journalist Sarah MacDonald, writing in the current edition of Catholic weekly The Tablet, Fr D’Egidio was summoned by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the CDF (at the Vatican), 14 months ago.

“It is understood that Cardinal Levada conveyed his dissatisfaction with four articles of Fr D’Arcy’s over a 38-year output,” wrote Ms MacDonald.

Writing in the Sunday World last week, Fr D’Arcy said there were those in the church who believed that “priests like me, for example, should have ‘the party whip withdrawn from them’ as one prominent Catholic woman so smugly put it on a radio programme recently.

“Sadly in our church now, it has become impossible to be open and honest about what good people are convinced of. It’s as if merely stating unpalatable facts is in itself disloyal. For years I’ve tried to point out the perils of the growing disconnect between church leaders and the ordinary people.”

From Co Fermanagh, Fr D’Arcy was born in 1945 and ordained in 1969.