Fr Brian D’Arcy: ‘Why I’d have been a better priest if I’d married’

Well this is one show I won’t be watching. He has been controversial and a dissident catholic priest for years, needless to say the anti-catholic newspaper, wrote a ‘long’ article about him.

** In a fascinating documentary to be shown next week, Fr Brian D’Arcy opens his heart as never before. Stephanie Bell reports

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

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.*

How can someone give 100% of himself to God and His Church, and 100% of himself to his wife? You can’t, and you certainly shouldn’t split it 50/50.

I don’t agree with how this priest is airing his story.

By your reasoning no one should marry since we*** all*** owe 100% of ourselves to God.

Priestly celibacy (not chastity you will note) is a canon law which could be repealed tomorrow. It owes more to the early medieval church desiring to to keep hold of Parish Priests property than it does to much else. I could not care less if a priest is married or not (indeed many former Anglican priests now Catholic are). Why is it such a problem I wonder. We could simply have secular priests who have the option to marry and religious who choose chastity.

i come from England…

the thing is when are people going to get it,i mean really get it…

if i was a conservative and didn’t like there policies,and thought i would change them to a new labour way of thinking,exactly like there policies i would be thrown right out of the party.or i would have to leave.

thats the same with the R C C…

they have rules and regulations… of the highest order possible… not man made but of God…

he probably wants his ego stroking or some attention…like the vast majority of people who are in the media…

i could have been a better man if i wasn’t married… how soft and self centred is that for a statement… he has probably got a bung to do this to take the focus of jimmy saville…


No one can truly give themselves 100% to God if they are encumbered with spouse, children, outside job, pets, etc. That’s why priest, nuns, monks, etc. are special people to be called as they are to that life.


We all owe to God more than we can possibly repay Him.

Priests aren’t trying to pay off some sort of debt by serving Him, yet they have very difficult jobs that might be compromised by marriage.

Exactly. When I meant “give 100% to God and His Church,” I meant as a practical/physical way, not spiritual. How can someone be there for both is family and for his parishioners?

By your reasoning no one should marry since we all owe 100% of ourselves to God.

But here it is how we owe ourselves to God. If we are called to the vocation of marriage, the best way to serve him is to bring up a faith-filled family. If we are called to the vocation of priesthood, then the best way to serve God is to minister and teach the people of the parish and the community. Being a dedicated father in a family and being a dedicated priest in the community are hard to do if you are trying to do both.

This reasoning is flawed. We owe 100% of ourselves to God by the means of our respective callings. Man is to give fully to his wife and family, giving all to God. Woman is to give fully to her husband and family, giving all to God. Those called to religious orders give fully of their time, giving all to God. Priests give fully to their parishioners as a shepherd of the flock, giving all to God.

If you were a priest, whose first responsibility is to your parish, what would you do if an emergency anointing of the sick call came in, but your wife was in labor at the same time? You can’t say no to the parishioner. That is your first obligation. You can’t just abandon your wife who needs you, that is your first obligation. You can’t have two first obligations.

I totally agree. If he decided to become a priest, then he should accept the conditions of doing so. If he wished to enter into the sacrament of marriage and potentially educate his children into Catholicism, ‘if’ he were actually blessed to have children’, then he could have chosen that vocation. He had a free will and it was his choice to make.

You said a very good thing. I’ll add to it…we owe 100% of ourselves to God in any case,( married, celibate, consecrated virginity, doctor, nurse, fireman…etc.

However, I still believe that celibacy is best, unless the legitimate authority decides to change that discipline.

Hopefully young men in the seminary (6 years) have ample time to determine if they want to continue to become a priest. No one is holding a gun to their heads saying they must remain in the seminary, they are free to leave at any time and pursue the vocation they believe the Lord is calling them to.

I need to add that marriage is a wonderful Sacrament and vocation as well, and couples have the opportunity to become holy with the grace of the Lord. They have to be willing to receive that grace, no matter the cost.

I do pray that this priest will have a change of heart. It would give great glory to God. Right now he is the enemy, but the grace of God can change that. We don’t want the evil one to win, we need to move into the Victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Priesthood shortage? Vocation shortage?

These numbers tell a different story:

That study claims to have found several hundred thousand people who have discerned the priesthood or other types of Holy Orders. And, the conclusion is basically that the Church hasn’t been doing near enough to help foster these people’s discernment.

IE: The Church doesn’t need to worry about numbers, or the quantity of people interested in discerning. The numbers of people are already there. The Church doesn’t need to get people interested in vocations, there is already significant interest… the Church needs to worry about how to give these people quality help to discern. Discernment groups, spiritual directors, etc. … perhaps even some homilies on it.

I know at least 10 people here in college who have discerned, or are still discerning the priesthood, or religious life, and to my knowledge none of them have a spiritual director, or had a spiritual director. So, I can see what this article’s saying on a firsthand basis.

Are you applying this rule as a blanket rule to the myriad married priests in the Catholic Church? Now applied with discretion it may have some value as those parts of the Church where priests can marry prior to ordination are often different culturally. However remember there is nothing intrinsically wrong or antiethical in priests been married prior to ordination, it is merely the discipline that priests in the west do not do so and it is Father D’Arcy’s rejection of a discipline he must have been well aware of that is the major problem underlying the matter here and indeed his rejection of discipline is at hear the major problem overall with his attitude I would say.

I understand it is a discipline, and I understand that Orthodox and Eastern Catholic married men can become priests. And I accept that completely. However, when someone says “I would’ve been a better priest if I were married,” I answer with that statement.

That’s not to say, of course, that married priests are “worst” than celibate priests; I simply say that the job of an unmarried priest would be much, much easier (in this case, a good thing!) than the unmarried priest. Less distractions, and less troubles with family/parish relations. I also think it is a greater sacrifice.

This is all my opinion, of course.

Two thoughts really. Within political parties dissent exists. Many Tories are pro capital punishment but their party policy is not. They are not thrown out. Political policies evolve with debate. And Priestly celibacy is 100% a man made (or Church law) as opposed to a natural law or divine positive law. Your reference in this context to Saville is a rather bizarre and ill mannered comment which added nothing but a gratuitous insult. Quite odd

I must say the notion he is been bribed to offer his opinions at thist time to take the opinion of Saville strikes me also as a most unpleasant and uncharitable proposition to put forward.

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