Fr Brian D’Arcy: 'I fell in love with a woman, but I didn't break my vows'
One of Ireland’s best-known clerics has revealed how he fell in love with a woman and questioned whether he should leave the priesthood.
Speaking to journalist Eamonn Mallie in an interview for Irish TV, Fr Brian D’Arcy said: “I did fall in love with a woman but I didn’t break any of my vows. It did come down to a should you or should you not leave the priesthood.”
The controversial cleric from Enniskillen revealed that the relationship happened after he joined the priesthood in 1962 and although he decided to stay, it has had a lasting impact on him.
“It was the most lovely thing that ever happened to me. It made a man of me,” he said, “Everyone that’s normal should fall in love and everyone should understand that’s an opening out of your spirit. What’s the sacrifice of being a priest and being celibate if you don’t know what the sacrifice is in the beginning and you don’t know what you are giving up.”
Fr D’arcy has been spoken out throughout his career about his beliefs that priests should be allowed to marry if they want to.
He explained: “I definitely regret that I couldn’t get married. I would have loved to have got married. I would love to be at a stage now where I’m talking continuously about my grandchildren, like most of my contemporaries. I think I would have left something to the world after that. As I go now, I’ll drop out of it and maybe not have left all that much but if that’s what God wants, that’s what God wants.”
He revealed that this was one of several moments where he questioned his life in the priesthood. He said: “I’ve had to look at my vocation at least five or six times in a 50 year period.”
But he added: “I still go to Knock and I still pray and I still am convinced that God wants me to be a priest.”
In the interview, he also spoke out about same-sex marriage after a referendum in the Republic of Ireland on the issues.
He said: “I still think a marriage is between a man and a woman but the State has made an equivalent arrangement between same-sex people so I’m quite happy to allow that to happen.
“Had I a vote, I probably would have voted yes to it because it was the State saying we have to look after people that nobody else is looking after.”