Celebrity priest Fr Brian D’Arcy has released a statement expressing his regret about being the subject of Vatican censorship over articles he penned in 2010.
According to the Irish Times, D’Arcy said he was “saddened and disappointed” over his work being subject to examination by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and that he had been enduring “the pain of censure for 14 months and will have to live with it for the rest of my priestly life.”
D’Arcy went on to say that he fact-checked his work and “never denied the legitimately defined doctrines of the Catholic religion.”
The popular priest went on to say that he has continued to write since receiving the admonishment from the Vatican and that he would continue to do so.
His weekly column for a Sunday newspaper is now reportedly submitted to “a church censor” before its publication. D’Arcy has a huge following among young people and was portrayed in the past as “Father Brian Trendy” by the late comedian Dermot Morgan.
The Enniskillen resident is the latest high profile victim of the Vatican clampdown on criticism.
Fr Tony Flannery, founder of the Association of Catholic Priests, has also been investigated by the Vatican for his liberal views. His monthly column in the Redemptorist Reality magazine has now been shelved.
An Apostolic Visitation, personally appointed by Pope Benedict, has reported a "certain tendency" within some Irish priests to hold and profess opinions at odds with those of the Magisterium, the Church’s superior teaching authority.
D’Arcy has strongly defended his writings on church issues. Speaking of his columns he stated; "One of them was that I was critical of the Vatican, in particular the Pope, about views on how the sexual abuse of children should be handled, and that I seemed to be pointing that all the blame was going back to Rome," he said. "Now I never said all the blame was going back to Rome, but if we're honest about it, I think some must go back to Rome. And that is a sort of self-obvious fact. How can anybody be criticised for saying a self-obvious fact?
"I must also take responsibility as a man who lived through this - and in some cases lived with men who abused and didn't see it - God you know, that's what keeps me awake at night now I have to say. This is where the secrecy, the non-questioning mind - and therefore anybody that speaks out at all is bound to be silenced or gagged, or whatever word you want to use, censured is the word I prefer - if you go back to that, no matter what other structures you put up around the protection of children, it won't work.
"Any system depends on the integrity of the person carrying out the system. And if the person carrying out the system is afraid to talk about 'that, or that, or question why about that', then the secrecy veil comes in again, and children will not be protected."
He added: "I speak strongly about this and I will make no apologies. I don't mean it to be an offence to anybody when I say this, but if people expect me, who was abused twice in my life, to be silent about issues and about the protection of children, I can't do that."