From time to time I’ve written posts about Fr Brian D’Arcy, including a review of his recent book and a commentary on his appearance on RTE’s Late, Late Show. These posts have attracted some passionate comments. I think that many of the comments are based more on some people’s dislike of D’Arcy and what they think he stands for, rather than based on the posts themselves.
This morning a comment came through that said,
Isn’t it amazing that if you google ‘Fr Brian D’Arcy’ that this here is the only page in hundreds of thousands that has anything coming close to a fair debate about the man??
I agree, there is some substantive debate in the comments section of this post.
But I was bemused by this particular comment, because I have considered becoming a more exacting moderator and removing some of the harsher comments about D’Arcy from this blog. I’m particularly bothered by the comments that stray into personal attacks, when people claim to know D’Arcy’s ‘true’ motivations for his books or newspaper columns, or criticise his physical appearance.
In the interest of freedom of speech – people are allowed to dislike D’Arcy and his religion if they like, after all – I’ve allowed all the comments to stand. But I really wouldn’t call some of those comments ‘fair debate.’ For example:
To that I ask: Is it ‘fair’ to claim that D’Arcy ‘hates’ the Catholic Church because he disagrees with some of its positions and criticises it for turning a blind eye to, and covering up, clerical sexual abuse? Does anyone that disagrees with some Catholic positions therefore ‘hate’ the Catholic Church?
There isn’t any populist/popular/mob-driven agenda (especially with an anti-Catholic bias) that Brian D’Arcy won’t lend his support to. Why does he support Jennifer Sleeman & not the majority of women who disregarded her highly offensive Mass boycott? Are these women not good enough for him? It’s called misogyny! He should be supporting the Catholic community against RTE, & not siding with the ill-informed anti-Catholic bullies.
To that I ask: Is it ‘fair’ to accuse D’Arcy of misogyny because he has a different view on the role of women? Is it ‘fair’ to reduce basically any criticism of the Catholic Church to a ‘populist/popular/mob-driven agenda’?
He was on the late late show last Friday night AGAIN (6 months after the last time) because he had his book to plug. His hair is as dark as it’s ever been and he’s a 64 year old man. How does vanity tie in with his ‘tortured saint’ image he’s trying to create for us all?
To that I ask: Is it ‘fair’ to bring D’Arcy’s hair colour into the ‘debate’?
He also trotted out the yarn about the piles of anonymous hate mail he receives (a favoured tactic of pseudo-persecuted liberals). … I know people who have written to him (with full name & address) with reasoned defences of Pope Benedict & the Church. You’ve guessed it – no reply! But he never mentions these letters – only the anonymous ones. If you don’t conform to Brian’s distorted/intolerant world view you don’t count.
To that I ask: Is it ‘fair’ to accuse D’Arcy of lying about the mail he receives? How does the author of this comment know that this is a ‘favoured tactic of pseudo-persecuted liberals?’
I’m not a Roman Catholic, and I’ve never met Fr Brian D’Arcy. I am a Christian, who considers Christians of all denominations to be a part of the same universal catholic (with a small ‘c’) church. I care deeply about the church and the way Christians talk about each other.
So if we disagree, do we really need to call the person we disagree with ‘a self-serving, self-promoting, egotistical, whining, wishy-washy handwringer’?