Celebrity priest Fr Brian D’Arcy is the latest member of the Catholic clergy in Ireland to be censored by the Vatican.

Reports on the BBC website, and in The Tablet news magazine, claim that D’Arcy’s Sunday World newspaper columns are vetted by a church censor on a weekly basis.

D’Arcy has a huge following among young people and was portrayed in the past as “Father Brian Trendy” by famed comedian Dermot Morgan.

The reports state that D’Arcy's sometimes outspoken views on the Catholic church have been the target of  the Holy See’s main theological watchdog.

The Tablet article claims that D’Arcy’s work has been targeted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the theological watchdog.

The BBC has seen the report which suggests that D’Arcy’s column for the newspaper is now submitted to ‘a church censor’ before its publication. The article also states that none of his columns have yet been edited.

Censorship of the D’Arcy columns was introduced after an anonymous complaint and involved the worldwide superior of his Passionist institute.

The Northern Ireland based cleric has often criticized the structure of the church in Ireland and its stance on the use of contraception.

In his most recent Sunday World column, Fr D’Arcy argued for the need for the Church to pay heed to the results of a recent survey on female ordination and the right of priests to marry.

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.

The Congregation has also criticised the group representing most of the nuns in the United States, claiming that nuns were devoting too much time and work to societal and social justice issues and not enough on religious teaching.