An Irish Catholic lay group held a silent vigil last night in front of the Holy See’s Nunciature in Dublin, to protest the Vatican’s censuring of priests.
The group, several of whom wore yellow and white Vatican coloured gags handed a letter at the gates asking the Vatican to revoke these disciplinary measures and replace them by dialogue, reports the Irish Times.
“We are very, very angry, indeed shocked, at the way the priests have been treated, and we want to express solidarity with our silenced priests”, said Brendan Butler, the group’s spokesperson.
The protest came as it emerged late last week that yet another Irish priest, Fr Brian D’Arcy, has been censored by the Vatican.
D’Arcy, who writes for the Sunday World, where he has been a regular columnist since 1976, was censured by the Vatican in March 2011, for articles he wrote in 2010.
As part of his punishment, D’Arcy must now get prior approval to cover topics dealing with church doctrine.
It is also understood the Vatican complained about headlines on some of the articles, which would have been written by editorial staff at the Sunday World.
D’Arcy says he intends to continue to speak out on controversial matters, despite being rebuked by the Vatican.
In a strongly worded statement, he said he was “saddened and disappointed” by the reaction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to some of his journalism, but it was the price he had to pay as someone “committed to the truth”.
“I have continued to write and broadcast since the news of the Vatican’s displeasure was filtered down to me in March 2011,” said D’Arcy.
“I shall continue my ministry in communication because I believe that the church cherishes freedom of speech.”
As a newspaper columnist and a broadcaster, Fr D’Arcy has been a vocal critic of church policy on clerical sex abuse, celibacy and contraception, however the Passionist priest told the Irish Times he never denied the legitimately defined doctrines of the Catholic religion and checked his facts as thoroughly as is humanly possible.
“I have been extraordinarily careful throughout my life to never, ever, ever contradict what is a defined doctrine of faith in the church and never even question it. That’s the way I worked. I would be very careful, even to this day, not to talk about that.”
Fr D’Arcy is the fifth Irish priest known to have been censured by the Vatican recently.
The others are: Redemptorist priests Fr Tony Flannery and Fr Gerard Moloney, Marist priest Fr Sean Fagan and Capuchin priest Fr Owen O’Sullivan.
News category: World.