Fr Brian D’Arcy and his Critics: How Should Christians Talk about each Other?

imageFrom 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:

Gladys, you should read D’Arcy’s autobiography. Then you would really wonder WHY he stays in a church that he so obviously hates.

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?

Or,

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’?

Or,

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’?

Or,

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’?

34 Responses to Fr Brian D’Arcy and his Critics: How Should Christians Talk about each Other?

  1. shane January 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    Anti-liberal rhetorical vehemence is most definitely a feature of conservative/traditionalist Catholic discourse, but it doesn’t spring from the impulses Tanya suggests. One of the most significant developments within the Church in the last few years is the flowering of the Catholic blogosphere. The Catholic blogosophere is distinguished as having a predominantly traditionalist composition, in striking contrast to the predominantly liberal Church Establishment (bureaucracy, episcopacy, media). Since the disastrous Second Vatican Council traditionalist and conservative voices have been marginalized, while the heterodox have been in the ascendancy. For a long time, that was simply taken for granted. The internet changed that, and we are now beginning to see the effects. Blogs provide a venue for the release of compressed anger and, yes, it can get quite ugly. The tone and character of the comments Gladys reproduces above will be familiar to anyone who reads Catholics blogs, but have to been seen in the context of a growing internet-led backlash against the excesses of the last 49 years.

  2. Martin January 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    I sent a note to Fr Brian after reading his latest Sunday World column online:

    In response to your latest online commentary, I offer the follow observations, as a young man, which address key issues in the Church.

    1. Liturgical madness: the Mass made into a talkshow, with a clerical focus on the personality of the priest.
    2. Refusal of some priests to preach faith and morals. Make that most priests, whether it is because they are shamed and silenced by abuse scandal, or they just don’t believe in the faith themselves.
    3. Lack of sacrality and reverence at Mass. People desire an experience of sacred mystery, not the banal, day-to-day casualness of many priests, with disrespect and disregard for the words and rubrics of the Holy Mass.

    People have a real thirst for God. But they may not recognise it, nor may they realise what the solution is. It is up to priests to bring people to sorrow for their sins (essentially futile attempts to satisfy and fill ourselves without God), offer the remedy, and allow them to experience the true joy of knowing Christ. So whilst they may reject such-and-such teaching of the Church, they do not know why it is that their sin separates them from God. It is up to the priests, at Mass at least, to let people experience the faith in its purity and fullness – to act in the person of the Divine Physician.

  3. Martin January 10, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    Gladys: I respect your publishing our comments. Many sites don’t and many newspapers won’t. You are to be commended for this, it is truly freedom of speech.

    On the other hand, people should be charitable in truth and not resort to ad hominem attacks. I am not saying people haven’t been here. Having said that, remember Our Blessed Lord used some pretty harsh terms: den of vipers and whitened tombs being just two. Oh, and hypocrites.

    People do get upset when they see what Fr Brian does. We are miffed. We love the faith and we see what he does, it does break our Catholic hearts.

    Shane is SPOT ON with his comments.

    [this comment has been moderated at the request of the author]

  4. Tanya Jones January 10, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    Thank you for this quotation, Martin. According to its definition I’m very happy to call myself a true conservative.

  5. Martin January 11, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    Father Darcy would do well to read this short article:

    Suppose We Had a “Liberal” Pope | By James V. Schall, S. J.
    http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/schall_liberalpope_apr05.asp

    It never ever ceases to amaze me how the liberal mind must work. I’d love to sit down with one some day and just go through it with them. That would be most interesting.

  6. Martin January 11, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    (I should point out that the article continues on after the little advert in the middle of the article.)

  7. Paul January 11, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    No one Church has the full truth. We are all human and prone to indulge in our own truths. If Roman Catholics would just examine Church history they will see why the Roman Catholic Church dealt with the abuse scandals as they have done. If an authority has lied and lied and covered up such wrong doing then how can it expect its declarations on God to be trusted. At what stage can the truth be recognised if you are known to lie on issues where it suits you to lie. It seems the RC Church left Jesus and God out of the equation. Again read the history of the Church and you will see why the Reformation was necessary and why it occurred. Another Reformation is due and perhaps another look at Vatican 2. Most commentators should pray for guidance to the truth from the Holy Spirit before writing their comments. Judging some of the comments I recognise only the human element and no sign of Christianity. The mishandling of the abuse scandals is a warning that something is seriouly wrong within the RC Church and needs correction. A full and enlightened overhall is required or else the Church will lose people to God. In its present set up I cannot see that overhall coming nor a change that is good. The Church itself it not the priority, God is and when that is recognised perhaps good will conquer over evil. Educate yourselves in the way of the Lord and in the way of the Church. You will see where the paths have diverged. Finally all of us should try to walk in the footsteps of Jesus for none of us in any denomination are fit to tie His sandles.

  8. bangorgal January 11, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    I’ve just discovered that the facebook feature I put on this blog only seems to show the comments if the viewer is logged into facebook (I may therefore remove this feature). So some of you may not be able to see Tanya Jones’ earlier comment, which came through as a facebook comment. It should read:

    As you’ll know from my previous comments, I agree wholeheartedly with what you say here. But I wonder whether we are maybe somewhat naive in expecting ‘Christian politics’ to be significantly different from other political issues. The anger that I see in the comments you quote seems to me to be similar in kind (though not, emphatically, in intensity or consequence) to that of the climate change ‘sceptics’ who flood online environmental articles and to that of the Tea Party movement, espeically in view of the tragic events this weekend in Arizona.
    It seems to me that when those of us who could roughly be described as left-wing or liberal become angry at what we see in the world, we attribute blame principally to organizations – oil companies, the military, church hierarchies. We interpret events and situations as being a result of the power and wealth concentrated within these organizations and the focus of our anger is directed towards them. We may feel hostile towards particular individuals (Sarah Palin being my own bete noire) who seem to encapsulate what is wrong but we generally recognize that they are only figureheads for a much more culpable system.
    But when people whose world-view is fundamentally conservative look around them and see suffering and injustice, they have a more difficult experience. Believing in the essentially benevolent nature of institutions – the church, the army, capitalism itself, they are forced to posit some kind of infiltration, conspiracy or treachery to explain what is going wrong. They have a few institutional targets, mostly the public media (the BBC, RTE etc.) but even they sense that these are essentially feeble in comparison to their privately-owned rivals. It is necessary therefore for conservatives to focus their anger upon individuals, especially those, such as radical priests, who can be viewed as traitors as well as enemies.
    In saying this I’m not, again, equating the views of conservative Catholics (among whom, to drag out a cliche, I number some of my dearest friends) with either climate change deniers or unbalanced anti-health care fanatics, but only to suggest a partial explanation for the vehemence with which a few express themselves and for the seemly unbridgeable gulf between two ways of seeing the world.

  9. Eric Conway January 11, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    It’s very very ironic that you berate so-called conservatives for ” anti-liberal rhetoric ” ( a loaded pc cliche, if ever there was one ), & then join in the vile/hate-filled innuendo regarding Sarah Palin & events in Arizona. Since Sarah Palin emerged on the political scene, the left-wing/fascist press have indulged in a non-stop stream of hateful rhetoric ( if you can’t beat them, join them ) against her ( primarily because of her anti-abortion views ). One could more justifiably contend that the assassination attempt on President Regan was fuelled by the liberal media villification of him. You are right though, we should desist from personalised comments. A previous comment is correct, in that until now the predominantly liberal/left media had a monopoly on comment. Most of it was viciously anti-Catholic, & largely promoted only commentators/clerics who towed the pc line. Now that this monopoly is broken, & those who don’t blindly swallow liberal/left dogma have found a voice, the media cant take it. The result is an attempt to demonise the dissenters. They particularly despise Fox News in the US ( & to extent Sky ) because it has broken the liberal/feminist hegemony of the media in the US.

  10. Tanya Jones January 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    As you’ll know from my previous comments, I agree wholeheartedly with what you say here. But I wonder whether we are maybe somewhat naive in expecting ‘Christian politics’ to be significantly different from other political issues. The anger that I see in the comments you quote seems to me to be similar in kind (though not, emphatically, in intensity or consequence) to that of the climate change ‘sceptics’ who flood online environmental articles and to that of the Tea Party movement, espeically in view of the tragic events this weekend in Arizona.

    It seems to me that when those of us who could roughly be described as left-wing or liberal become angry at what we see in the world, we attribute blame principally to organizations – oil companies, the military, church hierarchies. We interpret events and situations as being a result of the power and wealth concentrated within these organizations and the focus of our anger is directed towards them. We may feel hostile towards particular individuals (Sarah Palin being my own bete noire) who seem to encapsulate what is wrong but we generally recognize that they are only figureheads for a much more culpable system.

    But when people whose world-view is fundamentally conservative look around them and see suffering and injustice, they have a more difficult experience. Believing in the essentially benevolent nature of institutions – the church, the army, capitalism itself, they are forced to posit some kind of infiltration, conspiracy or treachery to explain what is going wrong. They have a few institutional targets, mostly the public media (the BBC, RTE etc.) but even they sense that these are essentially feeble in comparison to their privately-owned rivals. It is necessary therefore for conservatives to focus their anger upon individuals, especially those, such as radical priests, who can be viewed as traitors as well as enemies.

    In saying this I’m not, again, equating the views of conservative Catholics (among whom, to drag out a cliche, I number some of my dearest friends) with either climate change deniers or unbalanced anti-health care fanatics, but only to suggest a partial explanation for the vehemence with which a few express themselves and for the seemly unbridgeable gulf between two ways of seeing the world.

  11. Martin January 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Paul, you offer a lot of harsh and judgmental criticism, but have you got any positive suggestions?

  12. Peter Owen January 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I don’t know D’Arcy or his work; I don’t really know if I’m ‘left’ or ‘right’ these days.

    I suppose that we can understand our isolation and mutual hostility as an expression of what we christians agree to call our fallen nature. We’re lost in it and our private lights fail to show us the way out. If we knew the way out we wouldn’t be in exile here.

    Christ came to us – exactly – as a fallen race; so I tend to read ‘where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’ to imply also, ‘in the midst of their disagreements’.

    Perhaps there are ways of not agreeing with each other that still allow Christ’s presence to infiltrate the stony ground of our shared intransigence?

    It might even be that in our disagreements we do actually feel ourselves to be faced with our enemies. But if we do, so what? Even this extremity can’t be the end of the matter for us if we call ourselves christians; we’re not told to have no enemies – we’re told to love them.

  13. Tanya Jones January 11, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    Thanks, Peter, you’re entirely right, and I am humbled. What you say maybe connects with something I felt at Mass on Sunday, saying the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father. When it comes to ‘as we forgive those…’ I often feel awkward, reflecting that there is no one who has done me any real harm. But on Sunday I suddenly asked myself, a trifle bizarrely, whether I had forgiven Tony Blair, and realised that I hadn’t. I think we can, and maybe must, forgive not only those we know personally, but also those whose actions hurt us at a distance; those who have injured those we love, those who make us feel ashamed of our allegiances and those whom we feel have let us down, even those whom we feel have betrayed our God. It might be that the person we need to forgive is not actually morally at fault: but maybe that isn’t the point; all of that calculation, if calculation is any longer necessary under grace, is left to God; the important thing is that we allow mercy to pass through us. In this way, maybe some of us need to forgive the Pope, others Brian D’Arcy, others Martin Luther, others Sarah Palin, all of us those who hurt us, even in words writ on the water of the web…

  14. Martin January 12, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    If you can imagine a sower going out to sow, and then behind him some enemy comes along and kicks through the soil and messes the whole thing up, and the birds of the air come and eat the seeds which have now been exposed, and then the sower reaches the other side of his field and realises he’s going to have to go back and undo all the damage that the enemy has done, then you may begin to understand how the hearts of faithful Catholics break at the sight of dissident priests and bishops ruining the harvest field of the LORD. This is how we share in the sufferings of the good shepherd. As His Sacred Heart is wounded, so too are our poor hearts able to share in His suffering and anguish. Accepting my share is what I am currently struggling with.

  15. Peter Owen January 12, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    I was at a ‘mental health training day’ last week when the guy running it made a comment about aliens landing on Earth perhaps thinking – since there’s no ‘proof of God’s existence’ – that all the folk who go to church are mentally ill.

    This made me seethe internally but one of my colleagues didn’t opt for silent fuming. She launched into a robust ‘No! You must accept Jesus, accept the love of God; God will bring you joy, will make you smile!’ response.

    I couldn’t bear hearing this and responded to her in a very grumpy fashion, in effect saying, ‘For god’s sake, shut up, why don’t you?’

    But she didn’t stop (to her credit) but instead started to take the tack ‘Christians know joy, know love and know peace!’

    ‘Look, I AM a bloody christian’, I said ‘I’ve bought the ticket – give it a rest, eh?’

    She wasn’t persuaded. Then (and she’s African, I should mention) I found myself for some reason saying ‘Look, Christianity doesn’t end up bringing you a lot of peace and love if you’re gay and living in Uganda, does it?’

    ‘What they’re doing out there it totally wrong’, she said, ‘it’s against love,…’

    I carried on. I just couldn’t bear the style of her bearing witness and I did my best to shut it down, ridicule it and attack it as much as I could.

    Now of course I feel ashamed about it and I feel as though I owe her an apology.

    In short – it’s all well and good me pontificating about ‘loving your enemies’…

  16. Eric Conway January 12, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    We are enjoined to love our enemies ; or love the sinner, but hate the sin. The bottom line is that the Church’s message is essentially counter-cultural. That’s why it is hated/despised so much by the establishment elites. That is why they promote/encourage the type of clerics who will compromise with the prevailing culture. To illustrate via example, the media lionise someone like Hans Kung, but attack people like Pope Benedict & at home such as Fr. Vincent Twomey. The easy option of course is to give in & assent to the world. But the Church wants us to be better than this. It recognises our weakness & via the sacraments ( confession/penance ) provides a safety net for us to try & start afresh. Catholicism is very simple really, theres no real need for so-called scripture scholars to intervene. It’s simplicity is its very beauty. Read ” Jesus of Nazareth ” by Joseph Ratzinger for a beautiful expositionof same. God bless.

  17. Paul January 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Martin, my comment was neither harsh not judgemental. I cannot pretend that I know it all or that I am fully right. I am (trying) to tell it as it is. The reality is there for all to see. I do not ignore the good that is within the Church for that is what is keeping it alive. As for constructive suggestions, where do I start. There are so many to name so I’ll give a few. Involve the laity fully. Give knowledge of the Bible to the people in full. Allow priests to marry. Remove the inventions of Papal infallibilty and excommunication which are really tools of ulimate control. Get back to the ways of the original Apostles. Stop inventing Saints, the pace of which has increased in recent years with certainly questionable choices being made. The structure of the Church in terms of the pomp and status accorded to the Pope, the Cardinals, the Bishops etc is abnormal. Sometimes they are treated as though they were God. They behave according to the status of the rank they have been elevated to. As they move upwards they appear to be further removed from the original ideas of the first Christians. They are just ordinary mortals, each one as sinner like me. There are some notable exceptions (dare I suggest Dr Diarmuid Martin as an exception. He appears to know what is needed for renewal but is looking more isolated as time moves on.) The Church does not recognise the prophets within and sometimes uses its considerable power to silence what could be the Holy Spirit speaking)
    I like your post dated 12/1/2011. Sometimes the enemy is within such as an unworthy priest or Bishop etc, or human pride and selfishness and is working alongside but against those of good intent! I feel for and pray for those Catholics who have been betrayed by a structure and authority which is distant from God in real terms albeit with some exceptions. It is those exceptions that are holding the Church together.

  18. Martin January 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Paul

    BIble – Yes. Pope Benedict called for all to read and study Bible and priests and bishops to teach. Read Verbum Domini.

    Married priests: bad idea. The people harping for married priests, imho, are faithless priests who do not believe and so need the consolations of marriage to go with the house, car, and nice cushy number of being a priest. Married priests would lead to more clown priests. Note I am not criticising the Sacrament of Marriage, just those who would misuse the Sacrament for recreation sex and consolation from a lonely life as a priest who has no real relationship with the Lord which would actually provide all his emotional and spiritual needs.

    Papal infallibility is part of the Church doctrine. Excommunication is a penalty we see used in the Church in the New Testament and beyond.

    Saints: the Church can declare saints.

    Costumes and pomp – Catholics love this and it gives glroy to God and it is all part of the experience of being Catholic. Sure it might look a bit silly but it’s cool. It’s also humbling for our Cardinals and the people like it.

    Archbishop Martin – he’s on first name terms with Pope Benedict – read LIGHT OF THE WORLD – he gets a personal mention.

  19. Martin January 12, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    Paul, one other thing occurred to me as I was eating my steak and chips: costumes mean something. Look at the legal profession: wigs and gowns. But nobody calls for them to be dropped. Do you think a successor of the Apostles should go around in t-shirt and jeans?

    Where’s your tolerance? Where is your acceptance of difference?

    (This is a bit tongue in cheek, but I think it’s about time we Catholics turned the tables on the diversity agenda and began to re-appropriate their own language.)

    Benedict made this point in his book when he said it was intolerant of folks to try and force the Catholic Church to

    If the Church wants its bishops and cardinals to wear fancy dress, who are you to say they shouldn’t? I think you might benefit from some diversity training!

    From Benedict XVI’s book, Light of the World, this extract, which is available online:

    ‘When, for example, in the name of non-discrimination, people try to force the Catholic Church to change her position on homosexuality or the ordination of women, then that means that she is no longer allowed to live out her own identity and that, instead, an abstract, negative religion is being made into a tyrannical standard that everyone must follow. That is then seemingly freedom – for the sole reason that it is liberation from the previous situation.

    In reality, however, this development increasingly leads to an intolerant claim of a new religion, which pretends to be generally valid because it is reasonable, indeed, because it is reason itself, which knows all and, therefore, defines the frame of reference that is now supposed to apply to everyone.

    In the name of tolerance, tolerance is being abolished; this is a real threat we face. ”

  20. Paul January 12, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    I am a former member of the RC Church and lapsed well before the abuse scandals broke. My faith has been renewed by a Reformed Church and that renewal tells me that God is everywhere. Ironically it was a married cleryman that , through the Holy Spirit brought me back to Christ .I have yet to meet a clown married clergyman for usually they minister to married people with a inner knowledge of what marriage and children is truly about. That something you can only gain through experience. The RC Church has of course bent its own rules to allow married clerymen from the Anglican Tradition to become Catholic priests. Infallibilty and excommunication are inventions which suit the purpose of power within the Church and were not part of the early Church. They were later additions that were and are still used to control dissent. Thats man applying God powers to himself. Do you think that any man has the right to distance another person from God. As long as the people and the Authority within the Church ignores the failings and errors of its teachings it will push people away from a belief in God and that is a bad idea. This goes for all Churches. And wearing fancy dress does not a good or bad Christian make ! Its when they stop living the Christian message thats its bad. Women featured well in the New Testament in so many circumstances that to treat them as second class Christians is to ignore the early Church. The Church is out of step with the teachings of Jesus. It needs a thorough review of its standings. This is not to deny the efforts of many good Christians within the RC Church to live the Gospel message.

  21. Martin January 12, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    Paul, let’s have your top ten changes to Catholic teachings? I want to hear this. Bear in mind this is just an intellectual exercise – the Church can no more change her teachings than she can change the nature of God.

    BTW, Excommunication was used in the early Church and features in the New Testament. It obviously developed from there.

    I was talking about marriage for the wrong reasons. Most of the priests harping on about women priests in the RC Church are men of weak faith who probably should never have been ordained as priests. They now yearn for the consolation of marriage in a confused and desperate bid for some shred of ‘happiness’ or comfort. I am not talking about mature men who are married and who convert from Anglicanism to RC and get ordained as priests whilst keeping their wives.

    You have to just leave the Catholics to it. You might not like how we do things or what we believe, but you have to tolerate us. You have to accept us just as we are. We have a right to exist and we have a right to run the Church as we, guided and directed and protected by our God, see fit. Don’t force your ideals and preferences on us. Be tolerant. That is all we ask for. Let us ‘be Church’ in the way that we believe that God has established us.

  22. Paul January 12, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    Martin, come back to me for more discussion when you’ve had a thorough read through of the history of the RC Church which must be done through the perspective of an open mind. You should then be able to identify where changes are required. I see mans hand guiding the Church more than I can see Gods.No Church can claim to be perfect for man is not perfect. Man has created the differences we see in the Churches. From my reading of the Gospels God sees neither Catholic nor Protestant . God sees His people, followers of Christ. The main question for all Christian Churches is is that Church truly Christian. The RC Church might have a problem with the proofs required. It is not alone. For my part I also only see Christians and not the tribal brands truimphed about. On this subject enough said as we have diverging views which are going round in circles. By the way I do admire Father Brian Darcy though I would not necessarily agree with him on all issues. If the Irish Bishops had listened to and respected people like him sooner then the damage caused by the abuse scandals in particular might not have been as grave especially for the victims of the abusers and those who shielded them. Not forgetting that the handling of the issues was copied world wide with the paths all leading to Rome where some say that God speaks directly to the man in charge. Nobody was listening ! For pitys sake nobody was listening. Martin, without a doubt much prayer is needed for us all.

  23. Paul January 12, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    Eric, “But the Church wants us to be better than this.” I would think that it is God and Jesus wants you to be better than this. While all Christians are becoming a minority in a secular world we cannot blame the views of that world when our own actions and moreso the actions of the Church bring God into disrepute. A Church that lies when it deems it necessary cannot blame others for the faults revealed. We all sometimes forget that the Holy Spirit can speak to us through people like Hans Kung. All of us are so caught up in our own ways that we are deaf to the truth when we shouldn’t be.

  24. Martin January 13, 2011 at 1:14 am #

    Fr Brian Darcy is said, on one of his Late Late Show appearances, that he had been abused. But he didn’t report it. Why not? Why didn’t he scream it from the rooftops? Was he part of the culture of silence at the time? I am surprised nobody seemed to notice this.

  25. Martin January 13, 2011 at 1:16 am #

    Paul, why did you bring Hans Kung into it? Did you know that he supports abortion?

    Google ‘An Open Letter to Hans Küng, George Weigel’ for a good article on him.

  26. Paul January 13, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Martin, see Eric Conways post re Hans Kung. I’ll google as you say. Now lets all move on as really we are only small cogs in a very big wheel!

  27. Eric Conway January 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Paul, Catholics believe that the Church is the bride of Christ, & that the Pope is in direct succession to St. Peter, Christs annointed one, & is entrusted with maintaining the truths of Christs Church. We don’t make the distinction between each that the reformation church’s do. I respect your membership of your church & am glad that it has given you solace ( it goes without saying that I have serious theological & intellectual problems with the reformed church’s ), but please also respect the teachings of our Church & it’s spiritual leader, Christs Vicar on earth, Pope Benedict. As a Catholic, free will is a central core of my religion, therefore people are absolutely entitled to disagree with the Church & to leave it, as you have done. However, please do so with good grace, & having left desist from attacking it. Incidentally, apart from Pope Benedict, my favourite theologan is Scott Hahn ( ” Rome Sweet Home “, etc., ), who converted to the Church from Lutheranism. God bless.

  28. Martin January 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Good point Eric. I think it is also a fair point to make that those who do not agree with the Catholic Church are not forced to be members, yet they should have tolerance for those who do believe the RCC is the true Church. So people may not agree with our teachings or our fancy dress, but I would just say to them – let us be. Let us be Catholic. Please don’t try to force us to change so we become like you. Tolerance, ain’t that the buzz word now-a-days?!

  29. Eric Conway January 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    Agreed Martin. Another interesting point is that I read recently the testimony of a number of new converts to the Church, & a deciding factor in their conversion was the constant media attack on the Church & the Pope. These were people from Protestant Church’s & they knew that their Church’s also had abuse issues ( as do all areas of society ). However the media were concentrating exclusively on the Catholic Church. The media obviously hates the Catholic Church more, because it wont conform itself to the world, & agree to the ” liberal ” agenda – abortion ; euthanasia ; homosexual marriage ; & that other great longed for liberal wish – a married clergy ( is’nt it ironic ; they get all touchy-feely about a married clergy, yet they are also quite keen on divorce ! ) . For the converts, this was the most convincing, deciding factor.

  30. Martin January 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    The thing that I find most amusing, yet also frustrating, is that the liberals seem to be under the illusion that the RCC can change its teachings on sexuality and priesthood. So the Church says today that gay sex is immoral, but tomorrow it says ‘Actually, gay sex is not immoral. We got it wrong.’ How can they be serious? I can only put it down to the blindness of pride and the concupiscence of the flesh.

  31. Ed February 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    Hi all,
    I’m the one Gladys meant in the above article and most of the quotes are mine. I’m sorry if I offended anyone. I guess I’m very passionate about what I believe in and sometimes go over the top (to others) while feeling justified in my anger (to myself). I would just like to say to anyone who wants to comment about Fr Brian to read his book first like I did.
    A far more important matter is the so called human rights group ‘Amnesty’. They are on our radios and in our papers daily looking to recruit members. Amnesty, in 2007, decided that it was going to support ABORTION. More recently, at the end of 2010, it called on Latin America to decriminalise ABORTION. Please Gladys, start a thread on Amnesty because a lot of people don’t even realise what is going on. Will abortion be so ‘normalised’ soon to the upcoming generations that it will be like going to get a tooth out???

  32. Tanya Jones February 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    As Ed says, this is an important and serious subject which probably requires a separate thread to be discussed in anything like sufficient depth. It might, however, be a good idea for those interested to see what Amnesty themselves say about their position and the nature of the cases they are concerned about.

    http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=17378

    http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=18351

  33. Steve February 14, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    I recently read the account of a priest who was clinically dead for some time. His journey since has been the opposite of Mr D’Arcy’s. Just a thought.

  34. Rev Des Williamson February 15, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Having only ever heard of Brian D’Arcy on Radio 2 can I say his thought for the day slots are inspirational and uplifting. I looked him up for sermon ideas and helps as the man is clearly in tune with God. I was shocked to see so much negative and hateful commentary. Having been a ‘conservative’ christian for many years I can honestly (and with repentance) say it can be a place of great negativity, a place where I at least thought I was honouring God and Jesus but in reality I was spiteful, bitter and twisted – that does sound like Jesus to me! Yes, Jesus did say some harsh things – white-washed tombs, hypocrite etc but read the stories – he said them to the religious conservatives of his day! Jesus’ compassion was directed to the sinners, the downtrodden, the people who religion looked down on!
    Please for the love of God, people, would you think about what your saying before opening your mouth and issuing a stream of abuse about a man who speaks of the love of God, the graciousness of God, the compassion of God – all the things that your own words deny.
    The question boils down to – Is God a celestial bully with a big stick waiting to beat the hell out of us or is God a loving Father? I know which answer my Bible gives, I also know which answer most Christians would give if they stopped to think before speaking.
    Let’s be honest – does the God really need people to protect the church and faith from the likes of Brian D’Arcy? I think God can manage without folk further sullying their own souls with vindictive hate filled comments – God has enough to forgive without Christians adding to the load!!!

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