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"Why I would have been a better priest if I had married"

A lonely man whose heart ached for a wife and a home of his own while remaining true to his calling is the portrait which Fr Brian D’Arcy reveals of himself in a TV documentary.

  • Stephanie Bell
  • United Kingdom
  • October 31, 2012
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The controversial Catholic cleric has laid bare his soul in what is a deeply personal and at times highly emotive film charting the extent of his torment in the wake of the Vatican’s move to censor him.

The Fermanagh priest opened his heart to the BBC, who followed him during a six month journey when he questioned whether or not he could remain a priest and be true to himself.

The broadcaster, who is known for his liberal stance on issues such as mandatory celibacy, the ban on women priests and contraception, goes further than he ever has before in revealing his true thoughts in the film The Turbulent Priest. But despite his controversial views on the church, the 67-year-old member of the Passionist Order comes across as a man deeply devoted to his parishioners.

Earlier this year it was reported that Fr D’Arcy had been censured by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican, and that his weekly newspaper columns were being run past a church censor. The step was taken following an anonymous complaint to the CDF. The film starts on the day that news of his censorship breaks just as Fr D’Arcy is due to take Mass. The first of many emotive scenes is filmed as Aideen McGinley approaches the priest to reassure him in front of the church that he has the support of his congregation.

Her kind words prove too much for Fr D’Arcy who struggles to control his emotions and openly weeps.

Tears also flow when he talks about the impact of his own childhood abuse by two members of the church.

He said: “You’re afraid the secret will destroy you until you realise, hey, I’ve nothing to be afraid of. I’ve nothing to be ashamed of and I can say that clearly now, and it’s the same thing when the Vatican came after me, I could say, ‘I’ve nothing to be ashamed of. I didn’t do anything wrong.’”

Fr D’Arcy lets his guard down again when he talks about how celibacy has impacted on his life. He reveals that he was once in love and wanted to marry although he never broke his vows: “I have been in love and I did think I would get married once.

“Both of us were aware it was not just a sexual attraction and both of us felt that we could be holy and good people and be married. I would have been a much better priest had I married. I think it would have been the whole thing of sharing your life with somebody else and the whole thing of making sacrifices for somebody else and also that idea of a companion, a closeness, a friend, someone to call home.”

Full Story: ‘Why I’d have been a better priest if I’d married’

Source: Belfast Telegraph
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