Thursday 23 October 2014

Liberal priest censured by Vatican

Published 26/04/2012 | 17:45

Pope Benedict XVI has warned priests of speaking out against Catholic teaching

High-profile priest and broadcaster Brian D'Arcy has become the latest Irish cleric to be censured by the Vatican.

The popular BBC Radio Two contributor, author and newspaper columnist was disciplined after concerns were raised about some of his published work.

It is understood the action by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) means the Co Fermanagh priest, regarded as liberal within the Catholic church, must now submit his writings and broadcasts to an official censor.

The 67-year-old member of the Passionist Order has spoken out against mandatory celibacy for priests and has been a fierce critic of the church's handling of child abuse scandals in Ireland.

Dublin-based priest Pat Duffy, Provincial Superior of the Congregation of the Passion (CP), confirmed that the CDF had acted. The move was initiated last year but has only become public after a story appeared in Catholic newspaper, The Tablet.

"Last year concerns were expressed to Fr Ottaviano D'Egidio CP - the Passionist Superior General - by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about some aspects of Fr Brian D'Arcy's writings," said Fr Duffy. "Since then Fr Brian has been co-operating to ensure he can make a contribution to journalism in Ireland."

Fr Duffy insisted Fr D'Arcy remained "a priest in good standing". Fr D'Arcy was unavailable for comment.

A number of Irish clerics have recently been disciplined by the church for expressing liberal views.

Father Tony Flannery was forced to stop writing for a Redemptorist magazine. Fr Flannery, a founder of Ireland's Association of Catholic Priests, had his monthly column with the religious publication Reality pulled on orders from Rome. A second priest, Father Gerard Moloney, the magazine's editor, was ordered to stop writing on certain issues.

Meanwhile, in a Holy Thursday homily at St Peter's Basilica in Rome earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI warned that the church would not tolerate priests speaking out against Catholic teaching.

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