Priest likens Vatican censure to his experience of abuse

One of Ireland’s best known priests has likened the censure he received from the Vatican to the abuse he suffered as a child and as a seminarian.

In an interview for Irish TV, Fr Brian D’Arcy, CP, said it took him years to get over the sexual abuse inflicted upon him.

“One never ever gets over the fact that they were abused and the older one gets, the worse it gets,” he said.

“I can live with it but just barely at this stage because abuse destroys your inner soul,” he said.

In 2012, The Tablet revealed that Fr D’Arcy had been formally censured by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Fr D’Arcy, who was well known for his media work, had spoken out against mandatory celibacy for priests, Church teaching on contraception and had criticised the handling of clerical sexual abuse.

In the wake of the Murphy Report into clerical abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin, Fr D’Arcy called for reformation of Church structures and accused the Holy See of using legal procedures to shield itself from criticism over its handling of abuse.

Speaking on Irish TV this week, Fr D’Arcy recalled his pain over the Vatican censure, saying it was like being abused all over again.

“It was a big burden – in many ways it kind of destroyed me,” Fr D’Arcy said.

“It took a long time and counselling to find out why I took it so badly.

“The reason I took it so badly is because it was being re-abused by clerics. It brought it to the top again, the abuse I had been dealt by clerics,” he said.

“I knew I was right to say what I was saying – to protect children and that people who have abused children should not be practising or that clerics should [not] be investigating each other.”

Fr D’Arcy was also critical of how the Church has handled child sex abuse scandals.

“We, as a group of clerics, are not able to handle child abuse because we’re old, we’re celibate, we’re away from families, we’re living in an unreal world.”


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