Belfast Telegraph

Fr Brian D’Arcy says he remains committed to the truth despite the Vatican’s displeasure over his 'liberal views'

By Adrian Rutherford

Celebrity priest Fr Brian D’Arcy has described his pain after being censured by the Vatican over his outspoken views.

The broadcaster — whose liberal stance on issues such as mandatory celibacy, the ban on women priests and contraception have caused controversy — must submit his weekly newspaper column for clearance.

It is understood the column, published in the Sunday World, has been censored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) for the last 14 months.

In a statement released yesterday, the Fermanagh-born priest said the disciplinary action had caused him distress.

“Personally I’ve been living with the pain of censure for 14 months and will have to live with it for the rest of my priestly life,” Fr D’Arcy said.

“In these difficult times, it is the price one has to pay when one is committed to the truth, which is the duty of both the priest and the journalist.”

The 67-year-old member of the Passionist Order is known for his controversial views, and is said to have been the inspiration for Fr Ted star Dermot Morgan’s character Fr Brian Trendy.

He has spoken out against priests being unable to marry and has been a fierce critic of the Church's handling of child abuse scandals.

The Vatican’s move was initiated last year but only became public after a story appeared in Catholic newspaper, The Tablet.

Fr D’Arcy said he was “saddened and disappointed”, but had “come to accept” that it is the CDF’s way of dealing with issues.

“In the interests of accuracy, however, I need to emphasise that I remain a priest in good standing and that I have continued to carry out my priestly duties with the same dedication as before,” he added.

“In 45 years as a journalist, I have never denied the legitimately defined doctrines of the Catholic religion. I respect all faiths.

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

Fr D’Arcy said the Church needs credible voices in today’s world.

“This is why I have given my life to the Church, to the priesthood and to taking my place as a professional in the mass media,” he added.

“I will continue doing so with honesty and integrity.”

Fr D'Arcy is the sixth Irish priest to be censured for outspoken views.

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