Fr Brian D’Arcy ‘would have voted yes’ to same-sex marriage

Priest believes marriage is between man and woman but was in favour of referendum passing

 Fr Brian D’Arcy on falling in love with a woman: “It was the most lovely thing to ever happen to me; it made a man out of me.”  File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Fr Brian D’Arcy on falling in love with a woman: “It was the most lovely thing to ever happen to me; it made a man out of me.” File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Fr Brian D’Arcy has said he would have voted yes in the same-sex marriage referendum.

Fr D’Arcy said while he still believes marriage is between a man and a woman he would have voted yes.

“I still think a marriage is between a man and a woman but the State has made an equivalent arrangement between same-sex people so I’m quite happy to allow that to happen,” he said.

Speaking in an interview with journalist Eamonn Mallie, he said he is annoyed that living north of the Border, he can not vote on constitutional issues.

“Had I a vote, I probably would have voted yes to it because it was the State saying we have to look after people that nobody else is looking after.”

Fr D’Arcy said he regrets not getting married but he could not be a married priest.

“I would have loved to have been a married priest but I couldn’t so I had to be a celibate priest,” he said.

Fr D’Arcy said he did fall in love with a woman in the past but “didn’t break any of his vows”.

“It was the most lovely thing to ever happen to me; it made a man out of me,” he said.

“I’m so delighted now they’re talking about John Paul II being very much in love with a woman for 30 years of his life. I think that’s the most attractive thing I know about John Paul II and how he wrestled with that,” he said.

Fr D’Arcy said although he was abused as a young boy and as a trainee priest he never blamed God.

“I never took anything out on God regarding that,” he said.

He said it took him years to get over the sexual abuse he suffered.

“One never ever gets over the fact that they were abused and the older one gets, the worse it gets. I can live with it but just barely at this stage because abuse destroys your inner soul,” he said.

“I put it in the back of my head as all victims do and didn’t really approach it until I was in my late 30s and my father died and that’s when it really hit me. I was left alone had nothing to look forward to and had nobody left really in the world that I was close to.”

He was also critical of how the church has handled child sex abuse scandals within its ranks.

“We as a group of clerics are not able to handle child abuse because we’re old, we’re celibate, we’re away from families, we’re living in an unreal world.”

Fr D’Arcy said the Vatican’s attempts to censure him for his perceived liberal views was like being abused again.

“It was a big burden – in many ways it kind of destroyed me. It took a long time and counselling to find out why I took it so badly. The reason I took it so badly is because it was being re-abused by clerics. It brought it to the top again, the abuse I had been dealt by clerics,” he said.

“I knew I was right to say what I was saying – to protect children and that people who have abused children should not be practising or that clerics should be investigating each other.”

The interview with Fr D'Arcy was conducted for the Eamonn Mallie Meets programme, which airs on IRISH TV on Monday at 8pm.