By Sarah Mac Donald - 18 September, 2016
71-year-old Passionist priest says he would have no personal objection to giving his blessing to same-sex marriages but cannot at present because the Church doesn’t allow it.
One of the country’s best known priests, BBC broadcaster Fr Brian D’Arcy, has lashed out at the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality as “gravely lacking and gravely misinformed”.
In an interview published in Hot Press magazine, the priest says there is a growing willingness in the Church to recognise that “we need to change our position, to ensure that we do not cause unnecessary suffering to any person of good will”.
One of the many controversial views he expresses in the interview which may once again put him on a collision course with the Church authorities in Rome is his willingness to back gay adoption.
He tells journalist Jason O’Toole that what matters in adoption, whether same-sex or heterosexual, is making sure the child has the possibility of “a balanced, good upbringing”.
The 71-year-old Passionist priest says he would have no personal objection to giving his blessing to same-sex marriages but cannot at present because the Church doesn’t allow it.
“I do everything I can on a pastoral level to help the couple grow in their love. But if the Church allowed it, I would be the first in line to do it for them,” he states.
Indicating that he would also like to preside at second marriages, the popular priest who is a Sunday World columnist, estimates that 50% of his congregation are people in second relationships or second marriages.
In comments likely to disappoint the pro-life movement, Fr D’Arcy says he believes that the Eighth Amendment, which gives equal right to life to the unborn and the mother, will be repealed.
The liberal priest refers to the countless conversations he has had with mothers faced with having to travel to Britain 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.’ I always say that to mothers. My own view is that we should try to save all lives,” he states.
He also backs the proposal to cover repatriation costs in abortion cases involving babies with life-limiting conditions (fatal foetal abnormalities), so that the foetus can be brought back to Ireland for burial from Britain.
“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 says.
Fr D’Arcy, who has already been the target of a Vatican investigation over his views on women priests and other thorny issues, describes the prohibition on women’s ordination as a symptom of the centuries old disrespect for the vocation of womanhood in the Catholic Church and says he longs for the day when women will be ordained.
“I actually do believe that women should become priests,” he comments, describing them as the “backbone of the Church” but having “absolutely no say”.
“This male, clerical, celibate club known as ‘The Clergy’ is the ruination of the Church, in my view. It’s not the priesthood – that’s a different thing. It’s the clerical club, which is this male hierarchical structure that is 3 percent of the Church and has 93 percent of the power in the Church.”