Fr D'Arcy 'saddened' at Vatican censure over articles


FR BRIAN D’Arcy has said he was “saddened and disappointed” at his censure by the Vatican over articles he wrote for a Sunday newspaper.

The cleric and media commentator writes for the Sunday World, where he has been a regular columnist since 1976.

It emerged yesterday that he had been censured by the Vatican over four articles he wrote in 2010. 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 had to 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.

Currently, 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 released yesterday, the 67-year-old said he had been living with “the pain of censure for 14 months and will have to live with it for the rest of my priestly life”.

In a strongly worded statement, he said he was “saddened and disappointed” by the reaction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to some of his journalism, but it was the price he had to pay as someone “committed to the truth”.

The Passionist priest had “never denied the legitimately defined doctrines of the Catholic religion” and checked his facts “as thoroughly as is humanly possible”.

He added: “I have continued to write and broadcast since the news of the Vatican’s displeasure was filtered down to me in March 2011.

“I shall continue my ministry in communication because I believe that the church cherishes freedom of speech.” As well as being a newspaper columnist, Co Fermanagh-based Fr D’Arcy is a contributor to RTÉ programmes and to BBC Radio 2’s Pause For Thought. He is also the author of 10 books.

News of the Vatican’s reaction to the articles was revealed in the current edition of Catholic weekly the Tablet, which reported that Fr Ottaviano D’Egidio, the Passionist superior general, had been summoned by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the CDF, who had conveyed to him “his dissatisfaction”.

Fr Peter McVerry branded the Vatican’s actions as “horrific”.

“They are terrified that if they speak publicly they will get their heads chopped off,” he said.

Fr D’Arcy is the fifth Irish 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 Seán Fagan and Capuchin priest Fr Owen O’Sullivan.