Fr D'Arcy: I have prostate cancer
Priest is feeling 'fine' as he battles to overcome illness
One of Ireland's best-known priests has revealed he is fighting cancer.
Fr Brian D'Arcy said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year.
The 69-year-old, who is also a prominent columnist and broadcaster, said he was overcoming the illness and was feeling "fine".
"[I was diagnosed] earlier this year, but I don't really like saying too much about it," Fr D'Arcy told the Belfast Telegraph.
"It's prostate cancer, which any man can get at any stage.
"I haven't said much about it because it's putting yourself in the limelight, but thankfully I'm overcoming it."
Fr D'Arcy was speaking during an in-depth interview. The Enniskillen-based priest also said:
- He disputes claims by Pope Francis that one in 50 priests are paedophiles, believing the true figure is actually closer to one in 12;
- The Pope would be wasting his time coming to Ireland;
- The priesthood must review its position on male celibacy if it is to survive for future generations.
Fr D'Arcy entered the priesthood when he was 17 and is Rector of St Gabriel's Retreat in the Graan, near Enniskillen.
He is also a well-known broadcaster, and has written a weekly column for the Sunday World for nearly 40 years.
However, in April 2012 it emerged he had been formally censured by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which wrote to the Superior General of his religious order, the Passionists, accusing him of being "a source of great scandal".
Fr D'Arcy said the matter caused him huge distress.
"It caused me serious ill-health and within a year-and-a-half or so I had cancer.
"I'm not saying it caused it but it certainly didn't do me any good," he said.
"In the end I said to myself, am I going to let a crowd in Rome destroy my health?" Fr D'Arcy said he was doing well and had not let the matter affect his work.
"As far as I know I'm fine, but then I thought I was completely fine beforehand," he added.
"I'm old enough to realise that when you think you're fine there is probably something wrong.
"Not many people have been aware of the fact I've cancer, I never hid the fact, but very few people have referred to it."
"As far as I know I'm fine, but then I thought I was completely fine beforehand. I'm old enough to realise that when you think you're fine there is probably something wrong.
"I haven't let it affect me. Not many people have been aware of the fact I've cancer, I never hid the fact, but very few people have referred to it."
Father Brian D'Arcy