By editor - 18 November, 2014
Inability to cope with the stress of church censure "gave me cancer”.
Popular media priest, Fr Brian Darcy, was in philosophical mode in his interview with Joe Duffy in the first edition of the new series of ‘Spirit Level’ broadcast by RTE1 on Sunday.
Fr Darcy has had a number of health problems in recent years, with his gall bladder removed, stents inserted for a heart problem, knee replacement and he also contracted prostate cancer.
In addition, he was ‘silenced’ by the Vatican for some of his writing.
He is 45 years a priest, but he admitted that he had “tried to leave four times. And I didn’t because so many people told me ‘you would let us all down if you did, a voice of sense would be gone’.”
Fr Darcy, who was introduced as a priest, journalist and broadcaster, said that he was a priest first, “but when you get to a crisis you have to face yourself. I was trying to get the Church to enter the modern world. We must try and make the mercy of God present where it is needed.”
In his view, “the institution has got so caught up in its own survival that it has forgotten its mission,” but he sees hope for the Church in Pope Francis.
Asked if his silencing had affected his health, he said: “The Vatican really upset my health. The cancer came from that. It was my inability to cope with the stress (of that situation) which gave me cancer.”
In a downbeat mood, he confessed: “I cried an awful lot. I was a broken man, miserable and communicating misery. It was an awful thing, you can’t be a priest and communicate misery.”
Fr Darcy, who is based in the Graan in Enniskillen, is a Life Member of the NUJ, having been a member of the Dublin Freelance branch for the past 42 years.
On the same programme, Joe Duffy discussed death and the afterlife a panel which included Lorraine Whyman, a young woman with incurable brain cancer who recently married the love of her life. She has been told that she may have only two years to live.
She was joined by Susan Delaney, a bereavement councillor with the Irish Hospice Foundation as well as Fr Pierce Cormac, the Chaplain to the Mercy Hospital Cork who was also involved in comforting relatives of the victims of the Union Hall drowning tragedy.
The panel also included Tom Inglis, a sociologist in UCD, who has written about the death of his wife and son in his book ‘Making Love’.
The programme also broadcast a report from Temple Street Children’s Hospital, and spoke to two parents about how they coped when their children died.
The Spirit Level, RTE1, Sunday 5pm.