We must help Irish women with abortion costs, says rebel priest D'Arcy
An outspoken priest from Northern Ireland has said Irish women travelling to England for abortions should be helped with the costs of repatriation.
Fr Brian D'Arcy made the comments in the second part of an interview with Hot Press magazine published today.
The Irish cleric says he has had "countless conversations" with mothers faced with the sometimes heartbreaking decision of having to travel to England for a termination.
"I have sat with mothers, night after night after night. And I have always said to mothers, 'Whatever you choose is the right choice'," he said.
"I always say that to mothers. My own view is that we should try to save all lives."
While insisting his views are still pro-life, Fr D'Arcy has backed the proposal to cover repatriation costs in abortion cases involving fatal foetal abnormalities, in order for the remains to be brought back to Ireland and buried if the woman has been forced to travel to Great Britain for an abortion.
"Whatever about the abortion, I have no problem at all having respect and love and care for the little infant whose life didn't get a chance," he said.
"So, whatever we should do to make the mother and father of that infant good, so much the better. I have no problem with that. In fact, I think it's a good thing to do be compassionate and loving in that situation."
The rebel priest believes it is inevitable that the Irish government will repeal the Eighth Amendment to the State's constitution - originally passed by referendum in 1983 - which gives the unborn an equal right to life with mothers in all circumstances.
Fr D'Arcy has admitted his views may mean his days as a priest are numbered.
The Passionist priest also said he supports gay couples adopting, would have no problem giving his blessing at same-sex marriages and has called on Pope Francis to allow divorced people to re-marry in the church.
In the first part of the Hot Press interview published earlier this month he claimed to know that a number of women committed suicide after suffering abuse at the hands of Ireland's most notorious paedophile priest from Belfast, Brendan Smyth.
He also had harsh words for Cardinal Sean Brady, who was aware of children being abused by Belfast-born Fr Smyth, but chose not to go to the authorities.
"The one thing you will always say about Sean Brady is that he's a decent man," he said.
"But he would probably know himself now that the system had him so brainwashed that he didn't do the right thing. He was wrapped up in this whole secrecy thing."
In the latest interview Fr D'Arcy states that half of his own congregation are in second marriages or relationships.
Having faced censure from the Vatican once before for his views, Fr D'Arcy speaks about risking his vocation. "I could get the second yellow card and be silenced forever," he said.
The interview also airs Fr D'Arcy's opinions on the way women are treated in the Catholic Church, his experience of being stalked by a female admirer and of threats made to his life.