Fr Brian D'Arcy: ‘The Pope says we must help people, we don’t have a choice’
Claire McNeilly talks to Fr Brian D'Arcy about his views on abortion and the Catholic Church in the light of recent developments.
Q. What is your position on abortion and the Catholic church?
A. My view is that following Pope Francis we don't have a choice. The only choice we have is to try to bring the message and compassion of Christ and the love of God to people most in need of it, especially those in need of that compassion - somebody in trouble, somebody struggling to do what is right even though they're not perfect, the love of God encompasses and must be reached out to them wholeheartedly and generously. We do not control the love of God. God loves who God wishes to love.
Q. Would a Catholic couple's support for abortion preclude you from officiating at their marriage in a Catholic church?
A. Why should it? If they're willing to ask for a Catholic marriage and have the sincerity to do that, then I'd do my best to reciprocate. I'm not going to give a yes or no answer because it isn't a yes or no question. Each person is different, each case is different. You can't take a theoretical case and presume that that represents anybody. It doesn't, everybody has come to their conclusion in their own life for reasons that only they know.
Q. So you wouldn't necessarily not officiate at such a marriage?
A. I'm not saying yes or no, I'm saying I'll do everything in my power to ensure that they experience a loving encounter with God through whatever ministry I would give them. It's not a yes or no answer; it's such a crass thing to say about anybody, that you would give them a yes or no answer. I don't control anyone's life. All I control is that I have to ensure that when people come to me I have to ensure they go away as best I can experiencing a compassionate loving God who loves them no matter what they've done.
Q. Do you think it's a bit harsh for a priest in today's paper to have said that Catholics who are pro-abortion shouldn't be married in a Catholic church?
A. That's his view, I don't know where he gets it from, it's not the Pope's view. The Pope says we must help people. We don't have a choice. To experience God's love. He says specifically they should not be dealt with with Canon Law but with the law of the Gospel, which is a law of love.
Q. So it is possible that under certain circumstances ...
A. I'm not saying yes or no to that question. It doesn't enter into it. It's vital to understand that we don't use the sacraments as weapons.
Q. Are you uncomfortable with how things are being portrayed?
A. I talk about it on my terms. I'm not answering bishops or priests or anybody else priests abut bishops or priests or anybody else. I'm saying what the pastoral approach to people must be. That's all. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with what anybody else says. I deal with people who come to me as people - not as problems.