ANGER among Roman Catholic religious and laity in Ireland over the “silencing” of outspoken clerics led to a silent vigil by protesters outside the papal nunciature in Dublin on Sunday.
The vigil took place after it emerged during the week that one of the country’s most popular priests, the Revd Brian D’Arcy, had become the latest known priest to be censured by the Vatican for his views on church responsibility for child sex-abuse, and on women priests and homosexuality.
A prolific writer in an Irish Sunday newspaper, and a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio, he is the fifth priest to be so treated, and now has to submit his writings to a Vatican-appointed “censor”.
Fr D’Arcy said on Irish state radio RTÉ at the weekend: “Any system depends on the integrity of the person carrying out the system. And if the person carrying out the system is afraid to talk about this, or that, or question ‘why’ about that, then the secrecy veil comes in again, and children will not be protected.
“If people expect me, who was abused twice in my life, to be silent about issues and about the protection of children, I can’t do that.”
Sunday’s vigil was organised by the group We Are Church Ireland. Its spokesman, Brendan Butler, said that the authorities had been heavy-handed in their treatment of the clergy.
“The treatment of these priests goes against the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Church founded by Jesus. These are outstanding priests, and people are outraged by the disrespect that has been shown to them.”