By Sarah Mac Donald - 29 April, 2016
Well known media priest Fr Brian D’Arcy is among a group of bishops, priests and nuns who have written to Pope Francis urging him to change the Vatican’s “medieval” practices for investigating unorthodox views within the Catholic Church.
The high profile international group, which includes two Australian bishops forced out of office over their willingness to discuss women priests, has decried the tactics of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF), formally known as the inquisition, which specialises in rooting out heretical views among the faithful.
They have outlined how the CDF’s procedures can be reformed to bring them into line with the needs of the modern Church.
The letter sent to Pope Francis is signed by five Irish priests, all of whom have been subject to investigation by the CDF in recent years.
They include censured Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery, well known Augustinian Fr Iggy O’Donovan, the editor of the religious magazine Reality, Fr Gerard Moloney, Capuchin Fr Owen O’Sullivan and the BBC presenter and Sunday World columnist, Fr Brian D’Arcy.
The signatories decry the practice of anonymous denunciations of clerics and religious and have asked the Pope to bring about change so that accusers and investigators can be named.
They are seeking greater transparency and accountability as well as a strict time limit on any investigation. This would prevent processes being dragged out “in an attempt to wear down the resistance of those being investigated”.
They also want direct personal face-to-face communication between the accused and the Vatican congregation which they suggest may help those being investigated deal with the “sheer rudeness” and lack of “basic politeness” and “Christian charity” on the part of CDF personnel.
Speaking to CatholicIreland.net, Fr D’Arcy said the reforms proposed by the group is “not insubordination”.
“We all love the Church and this is about methods which are undoubtedly medieval and not suitable in the modern church and are no good for anyone”.
The group claim that under the current process “extremely sick or dying people have been investigated and forced to respond to often silly accusations”.
The letter to the Pope has also been sent to the head of the CDF, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, but so far no response has been issued by him.