- 28 Sep 16
That was the headline to the article that introduced comedian Dermot Morgan’s Fr. Trendy character to the world. In the second part of our controversial interview with Fr. Brian D’Arcy, he talks about being the butt of satire, the need for the Church to move with the times on divorce and women priests, Fr. Michael Cleary’s mistakes, how being censured by the Vatican felt like being abused all over again – and why priests are revolting against the Papal Nuncio in Ireland.
Brian D’Arcy had promised to chat with me for about an hour, but we’re still going strong some five hours later. “How many fingers do you have, Jason?” he quips, when I say that I’ve only a handful of questions left.
The interview is probably the most honest dialogue ever between an Irish Catholic priest and a journalist. Back in 2012, on the basis of articles written in 2010, Brian D’Arcy was warned by the Vatican that he risked being expelled from the priesthood if he refused to remain silent. Theoretically, now, he could be booted out of the Church for speaking to Hot Press.
“I think I’ve spoken to you as honestly as I could,” he tells me in his soft Northern accent. “It may have consequences for me.”
In part one of this Hot Press interview, Fr D’Arcy spoke of being sexually abused by two priests, once as a young schoolboy and on the second occasion in the seminary. I asked him if being censured by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) felt like he was being abused all over again.
He nods in agreement. “You’re absolutely right about that, Jason. Because I wondered why it had such an effect. It devastated me,” he states, his voice filled with emotion.
“And quite soon afterwards, I had a first bout of cancer. Anyone looking at me would know that I was physically unhealthy at that time. It was only when I tried to reflect, it seemed to me and to others, that the reason I took this censure so seriously was, actually, that it brought back the previous abuse as a child: I saw this quite simply as another abuse by the Clerical Church, of me.”
He pauses for a quick breather. “And I still see it that way. There was no need for it. It was unreasonable, not only for me, but for each of the other guys as well, particular Fr Sean Fegan who died recently. The way he was treated by the Catholic Church that he loved was horrendous. An organisation that treats its dedicated members like that doesn’t deserve to have dedicated members.
“But most of all, the process was un-Christian, horrendous and not worthy of a body that calls itself Christian – and that is the most important issue. Whether I was hauled over the hot coals or not is irrelevant. I think what upset most people was that they would not see me as a heretic. They would see me as saying precisely what they were feeling. And that’s why I got such incredible support from people across the world. But, of course, none of that mattered because the hierarchy don’t listen to people.
“In my view, it certainly wrecked my physical health,” he says. “But, then again, I have to take responsibility for that – I shouldn’t have let them do that. I should’ve been strong enough to say, ‘No, this is not right’, and to stand up against it and to make sure that I would not risk my health by trying to live a lie, that I wasn’t capable of living.
“Of course what they did was wrong, but my reaction to it – by allowing it to have such an affect on my health – was also wrong and I’ve had to learn from that. I wouldn’t let them do it to me now.”
Fr Brian D’Arcy tells me to fire off my next question. Which I do...
Jason O’Toole: How did an unknown parish priest like you become such a huge national figure?
Fr Brian D’Arcy: It’s back to the pop music thing – I was always interested in music. As a student, I used to go as this funny little fella, dressed like a priest, who was interested in them, while every other priest in the country was sending them on a highway to hell!
Is it true you used to write music articles under an alias so as to avoid the wrath of your superiors!
There was a new magazine started off by Albert Reynolds, for the country market. I wasn’t allowed to even read a paper never mind write for a paper, as I was still a student. I wrote for maybe 20 years for them. After ordination, I had a little more freedom and became an editor of a religious magazine and went away and did training as a journalist. I was the first priest to join the NUJ. Today, I’ve been writing for the Sunday World for 40 years without missing an edition.
You went to a lot of gigs.
I became the Chaplain to the bands. I went around to the dance halls every night. At that stage, there were nine dance halls in Dublin, running seven nights a week.
It’s hard to picture a priest on a Honda 50 bombing around to gigs...
I left Mount Argus at 11 o’clock on my Honda 50. I’d go to around three a night, three tomorrow night, three the next night. I’d come back in about two o’clock. And enjoyed it. I’d talk to the guys in the bands. I’d talk to the people on the floor. I heard confessions, listened to them, became a counsellor. I was there till 1989 or so – 20 years of being at dance halls every night. At that stage, there were 600 fully professional bands in Ireland, employing 10,000 people. It was hard work each night on my Honda 50 (laughs).
What type of music do you like?
I like all types. I love traditional Irish music. I love some classical music. Big band music is a passion. I love Glenn Miller and the big brass music. Opera, I can take in smaller doses. I still love the wonderful music of Mozart and Beethoven. It takes you to a different place altogether. I like country music. Music does something for me that is wonderful and uplifting.
Have you ever tried marijuana?
I have not tried marijuana.
What about legalising marijuana for medicinal purposes?
I have no problem with that – it’s a medical problem and not a moral problem. If there’s stringent tests done, which prove that it’s an easy way to ease pain – if that can be proven then fine.
You inspired the late comedian Dermot Morgan’s Fr Trendy character, on The Live Mike Show – which was a precursor to his iconic role of Fr Ted.
He said the most outrageous things with a pious face. The extraordinary thing was that I was stopped hundreds of times on the street and called Fr Trendy and then halfway into the conversation they’d realise, “Oh, my God! It’s not Fr Trendy! It’s Fr D’Arcy!” It became the bane of my life. And anything I said became parodied. I could see people laughing at my sermons because they thought, “This guy is Fr Trendy.”
Did you hold a grudge against Dermot?
Dermot and myself became good friends. And very quickly afterwards it became, “If that’s all the Church had done wrong wouldn’t it be easy to live with it now?”
Were you ever offended by the caricature of Fr Jack, in Fr Ted?
(Laughs) Fr Ted was a cartoon. Everybody was exaggerated and that’s the best part of a cartoon. And it was hilariously funny. I don’t think it was at all damaging. I knew Frank Kelly, who played Father Jack, exceptionally well.
Frank Kelly had two uncles in your religious order.
Frank himself had great difficulty with doing Fr Jack. Frank was a very loyal, practising, solid Catholic, who went to mass every day himself. But to me, it was merely a cartoon form of exaggeration. It had a certain truth in it and that’s what made it funny.
The two writers of Father Ted started out with Hot Press.
Yeah, was it Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews? Dermot Morgan started off doing Fr Brian Trendy and it was obvious who he was talking about. And that happened because the late Kevin Marron – God be good to him – was editor of the Sunday World (Kevin died in a plane crash in 1984 – JOT) and was very good to Dermot Morgan, as he was to Brendan O’Carroll, long before anybody recognised their genius. Kevin Marron was always plugging the two boys. Dermot was going to call himself Fr Michael Cheery, obviously because of Fr Michael Cleary.
Pity he didn’t!
Kevin said, “He’s too old! Why don’t you call yourself after our guy?” So, the two of them came up with the name Fr Brian Trendy. In fact, I had a picture taken: Dermot was dressed as a priest and I was dressed as a priest. And the initial article that he was going to do the priest thing in the nightclubs and on the television was published in the Sunday World. The headline was: ‘A Good Kick Up The D’Arcy!’ Kevin was a genius. Wonderful journalist. Wonderful friend.
As a celebrity, you must have had loads of women propositioning you over the years?
I’m not a celebrity: I’d probably be well known. Within the Church I was always looked upon as a maverick. It was incredible for most of my life: when I’d go to a funeral, it was almost like when AIDS came in! Other priests just disappeared around the corner, away from me, in case they’d been seen talking to me!
They’d run a mile?
Recently, I met a bishop I’d known for years, at Bishop Daly’s funeral. He said, “Holy God! There’d be some scoop for a photographer if he sees Brian D’Arcy shaking hands with a bishop!” And I said to him, “Actually that wouldn’t be half as big a scoop as if they saw a bishop shaking hands with Brian D’Arcy! (laughs).”
So, no women offering no strings attached sex?
I interviewed Danny Healy-Rae recently and his attitude is, “We only live once and whatever happens between consenting adults is their own business.”
It is, if it is in the privacy of their own home. But if you’re proclaiming that you’re celibate and trying to live a life according to the Gospel, and according to the rules of the organisation that you’re joining, then it isn’t just their own business.
The Irish government are talking about introducing the so-called Swedish Model, which would mean that someone could be arrested for trying to purchase sex, rather than the sex worker. There is an argument this will drive it further underground.
I agree with that. It’s not a man against a woman thing. I think that whatever kind of sexuality you have, it must be consenting adults – both man and woman, or woman and woman, or man and man, or whatever the case may be. And I really mean consenting. I don’t mean consenting only in the sense of, “I have to do this to get money!” Somebody in the throes of poverty is not free to make a choice.
Staying with Danny Healy-Rae: What did you think of his view that God is in charge of the weather?
That’s probably true for Danny Healy’s pub and parish! But it’s not true for the rest of the universe.
Have you ever had any stalkers?
Yes, I’ve had my share of them. I think anybody in the public eye can attract stalkers. But so have most priests. I think it’s the forbidden fruit that sometimes becomes most attractive in some person’s mind.
Did you ever go to the authorities about a particular stalker?
Once, yes. I did it for the protection of the person. I had to say to the authorities, “Can we get help for this person? I can’t do it because that would be totally wrong.” So, we did get help and, though on the surface it didn’t seem so bad, it was quite a serious mental illness, as it turned out. But I read it quite quickly that it was a person in need of help.
Has your life ever come under any other serious threat?
It has. There’d be at least a dozen occasions where I have received threats but I don’t talk about that. There were some attempts to carry them out. My car was damaged quite frequently in Mount Argus. I went out one morning and two front wheels of the car were loose, with one not on them. The car was destroyed. And we kind of knew where it was coming from.
What about in the North...
There have been at least three occasions in the North. But you don’t talk about them because you’re giving credibility to a group of people who don’t deserve credibility. And, secondly, you’re actually giving a suggestion to some other crackpot to do the same thing.
You were close friends with Fr Michael Cleary, who conceived two kids.
I was absolutely shocked. Not shocked in the sense of disgusted. I wasn’t disgusted: I was disappointed that Michael, who talked to me about almost everything, felt that he couldn’t talk to me about that. As I discovered afterwards, he wanted to – but others had stopped him. And that’s understandable.
Do you believe Michael Cleary was in love?
I often think that what Michael Cleary or Eamon Casey – and others – had done was loving. It was a kind of difficult, but real, relationship that he stood by. I wish he had said that and done that in public at the time. The only thing that Mick did wrong was keep it a secret. He was somebody in a loving a relationship, who, in as far as they can, carries through the responsibility.
Some perceived him as a hypocrite.
There are many people who will say to me that Michael said one thing and did another thing. There’s a bit of truth in that. But knowing him as well as I did, he had a very difficult life. What we saw was the bubbly personality of Michael. We talked about many things – and I don’t think Michael had many happy days, let’s put it that way.
You make a mistake, marry too young and the marriage doesn’t work out. Yet you cannot get remarried in the Catholic Church. I want to remarry and will never be afforded the opportunity. I think that’s sad.
Yes, I feel the same. I hope the Church is actually, through Pope Francis, trying to work on that. No matter what the Church says, the couple have to work out their own relationship and in conscience. My view is: where love is God is – and where God is, sin cannot be. I always work with couples to do as much as I can for them. And even though I cannot have a marriage ceremony, I will always welcome them to the Church. In fact, 50 percent of my congregation here would be second relationship couples.
Same sex marriage is illegal in Northern Ireland.
If the people want to change it, it should be changed. In the North, it doesn’t take a referendum. It can be the politicians and they’re elected by the people. But it won’t happen, strangely enough, as long as you have a Unionist majority.
The argument during the Gay Marriage Referendum was that the Catholic Church’s position was extremely insulting to gays...
Exactly! But if you think that, you should try to talk to the fundamentalists – namely the DUP – and to all the other fundamentalist churches across the world, and you’ll see that, bad and all as the Church is, it’s not an extreme view by any means.
Is the Church’s attitude changing?
The Catholic Church’s official teaching on homosexuality was gravely lacking and gravely misinformed up until now. I do think there’s a growing willingness to recognise that we need to change. As society develops and our understanding of complex problems develops, we need to change our position, to ensure that we do not cause unnecessary suffering to any person of good will.
One reason people voted against same sex marriage was because they didn’t like the idea of gay couples adopting.
I don’t think it makes the slightest difference. Adopting a child is a very serious responsibility and to hand a child over to a couple who are not the biological parents is a huge thing. We should take precautions for the benefit of the child, and make sure that the couple are capable of that – whether same sex or heterosexual. But we must make sure that the child has the possibility of a balanced, good upbringing.
Could you ever see yourself presiding over a gay marriage?
In the present circumstances, no. Maybe there will be something in the future that the Church will allow it. It’s the same as I couldn’t preside over a second marriage of a person who was already married.
Would you like to do it?
If I were allowed to do it, of course, I would do it. I cannot now do a public marriage on behalf of the Church because the Church doesn’t allow that. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do everything possible to help them. It’s not a roundabout answer. I do everything I can on a pastoral level to help the couple grow in their love. But if the Church allowed it I would be the first in line to do it for them.
Do you believe that women should be allowed to be priests?
I have to be very careful to how I answer this. If I answer a straight yes – which is how I feel – then I could get the second yellow card and be silenced forever.
Do you think we’re going to see women priests in the future?
This is one of the issues that got me into trouble with the Vatican. I actually do believe that women should become priests. That’s my view after studying it for years. The Church has come to the conclusion that it’s not even a question that can be asked. I don’t agree with saying that you can’t ask a question. I think if it’s so obvious that women cannot become priests there should be very good reason theologically, scripturally and cultural for that. So, let’s hear them. But I can’t say, “Yes, definitely, women can become priests,” because that would violate what the Church teaches. But you asked me a different question: you asked me, “Do I think we’re going to see women priests?” and I say, I long for the day that when it happens. We must have a real discussion not just about ordination, but about the role of women within the Catholic Church. I think the prohibition on ordination is a symptom of the disrespect that has been shown to the vocation of womanhood in the Catholic Church for centuries upon centuries.
Do you agree that women are treated like second-class citizens in the church?
I do. Because women are the backbone of the Church and have absolutely no say. This male, clerical, celibate club known as “The Clergy” is the ruination of the Church, in my view. It’s not the priesthood – that’s a different thing. It’s the clerical club, which is this male hiearcial structure that is 3 percent of the Church and has 93 percent of the power in the Church.
Why are women not treated equally by the Catholic Church?
Sometimes I think it’s because the Catholic Church is an ancient religion, based on Judaism. And ancient Judaism was based on its particular society, which at that time didn’t see women as equal. It’s a hangover from that. I also think it’s due to one of the biggest problems in the Catholic Church: that we do not have a better theology of sexuality. That’s the basic problem that we need to look at.
And as a result, women are dismissed as incapable of doing important things like performing the sacraments?
Yeah, I think there is some element of that. But that comes from a distorted view of sexuality and is less and less justifiable.
Is that not all tied-in to the depiction of women in the bible as temptresses, who lead to the downfall of man?
If you go back, that’s not necessarily in the Bible: it’s the literal context of the time. Maybe that women were temptresses might well have been complimentary – because a temptress always has control, as you understand.
Why do good men in the Church not rebel against the discrimination and insist on the equal treatment of women?
They do. I think we do. I think what you said is a good question: why do good men in the Church not rebel against it, as well as good priests? I think the vote came to women when men decided that it was time to do it. But then again, why should women depend on men to get their freedom?
Do you believe God is a man or a woman – or possibly a bit of both?
God encompasses all humanity, all womanhood, all malehood, all goodness. God is God and that’s why I keep saying, “I don’t like referring to him or her.” Whatever way you use the word love, I think that’s where God is.
What’s your stance on repealing the Eighth Amendment?
I have so many different emotions about this. I tend to leave it to medical people. I think we shouldn’t be willing to take any life, as to the woman’s or the child’s. I think we shouldn’t take any life at any time. I think we should try to save all lives as much as we can.
I’m presuming that your beliefs on this issue are based on religious principles?
Yes, it is because of my religious beliefs. And it’s also because – and this is the most important thing – a holistic view of life, rather than making one life more important than the other.
People in Ireland find it very cruel that, in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, mothers have to go through with the entire pregnancy when they know the baby’s not going to live.
I do understand that and I have sat with mothers, night after night after night. And I have always said to mothers, “Whatever you choose is the right choice.” I always say that to mothers. My own view is that we should try to save all lives.
Do you believe the Eighth Amendment will be repealed in a referendum?
I’ve no doubt about that. I have no doubt that it is going to be repealed. But I still feel that we should try to save all lives. If some life is taken in the process of that, as a by-product of it – that’s honestly fine. There is no moral law against it at all.
The government is considering repatriation costs in abortion cases involving fatal foetal abnormalities, so that the foetus can be brought back to Ireland and buried here if the woman goes over to the UK to have an abortion.
Whatever about the abortion, I have no problem at all having respect and love and care for the little infant whose life didn’t get a chance. So, whatever we do to make the mother and father of that infant good, so much the better. I have no problem with that. In fact, I think it’s a good thing to do be compassionate and loving in that situation.
I think you will be a lone voice in the Church with this view...
The less condemnation, in any of this – and the more struggling to understand the difficulties and that everybody is a unique case – the better. You can’t make general principles about this without thinking about the individual heartaches and the individual struggles. Dante said: “To know all is to forgive all.”
A lot of women who are raped take the morning after pill, which has a 99 percent success rate. Would you have any objection to the morning after pill?
I leave it to doctors to give pills – and whatever doctors do they have to abide by their conscience.
Do you accept the theory of evolution?
Was Eve made from Adam’s rib?
No. If you want to believe that you can. But you have to put it in the historical context and in the context of that time. What they are saying is: “God made human beings – full stop.” The details don’t matter as long as you admit God did it.
Do you believe in the immaculate conception?
Yes, I have to. It’s a Church dogma, so I don’t have a choice. And yes, I do. I don’t understand it, but I believe it.
Are Catholics more right than Muslims or Moonies or Jews?
A committed Muslim, a committed Catholic, a committed Jew, a committed Hindu: I luckily have wonderful friends who are of all of those. And to me, I learn something about God from all of them. I think all of them are right for them.
So, you believe that all good people no matter what religion they are go to heaven?
Absolutely. I mean, religion is a humanity thing. God is in charge of them all. God has been saving people long before any religion was invented.
So it doesn’t matter what religion you subscribe to?
I think it does. What matters is the sense that you’re convinced that you’re in the right religion – and that religion should be helping you to find a compassionate God in the best way possible. That’s what matters.
Do atheists go to heaven?
Of course, if they lead a good life and make good choices. What they have rejected is not necessarily God, but a version of God that they can’t accept – and that’s fine. And if they accept goodness and fulfillment and love and all of the things that I have mentioned, God is all of those. They might not call it God, but that’s fine. God has ways of saving good people. And people who reject God have ways of condemning themselves.
Are all of the billions of people who we now know existed for millennia before Christ came on earth – are they saved?
I think Jesus saved all people and all humanity and all creation from all eternity, to all eternity.
Do you think there’s other species out there in the solar system or are we alone?
I don’t believe there’s anyone else out there. If something comes around, it won’t be in my lifetime. So, it won’t worry me! I find it hard enough to put up with the ones on the earth – without finding even more peculiar people (laughs)!
If there’s a heaven, I presume you believe there’s a hell too?
Yes. There is a hell. I do believe it’s of our own choosing, as heaven is of our own choosing. To choose to reject God’s love and depend on your own selfish love and your own resources – that’s what you choose, that’s what you get for all eternity. So, the choice I make, with the grace of God, and the choice that somebody else makes, differently than with the grace of God, are both our free choices. So, we choose life or we choose death and that’s your eternity: one’s heaven and the other is hell.
Do you think people burn forever in hell?
No. I don’t think that. Hell isn’t a physical punishment at all. Sometimes when I try to envisage hell, in my prayers I would say, “Imagine choosing to be without love for an eternity and to get my wish. I wouldn’t need any other punishment – and to know that I chose to do it.” And that is my definition of hell: a world without love.
Would you say hell is too good for ISIS murderers?
No. They’ll create their own hell and that will be good enough for them. Evil always creates its own hell.
Ireland is a so-called neutral country, but US military planes use it. The former protestant Archbishop John Neill told me in a Hot Press interview that he believed Ireland has blood on its hands because of warplanes using our territory on their way to wage war.
I’m getting more and more uncomfortable with that. At the time, it was a world crisis and things that we didn’t entirely agree with, you had to make choices between good and evil.
Do we have blood on our hands?
If it’s helping to kill innocent people then of course we have blood on our hands. If it’s preventing people from being killed, then we don’t.
You live in Northern Ireland. Can you see a re-run of the Brexit referendum?
I would like to see a re-run of it. But I’m not sure that it will. I’m not sure if the rest of Europe is that very pushed for Britain to remain now. I always maintain that any organisation is better off with no member than with a half-hearted member. And that goes for the Church too, by the way. I do think that Britain has decided – wrongly in my own view – that they can do without Europe.
Do you think we will see the return of the border?
This is hellish for me. Borders just make enemies, not friends. It’s bridges we should be building, not borders. And I am really frightened that, when Britain goes to negotiate, they won’t find a great welcome at the table and therefore a hard deal will be driven, which in effect will mean that there will have to be a border whether we want it or not. I dread that.
Are we any closer to unification?
It is becoming more obvious to me, as someone who spent my best years in Dublin, and am now living in the North, that there is a mental border between the North and the Republic. I used to think there was paranoia on both sides but the mental border has never been removed, and it’s causing greater problems than you think.
Would you like to see a united Ireland?
Yes. I’m for unity rather than division. The more unity there is the better. We’re too small an island to be separated. And the Northern part of the country will be worse than ever because the GAA won’t want us, Dublin won’t want us, and London won’t want us – and it’ll be just because of where we live. There’s a great danger of being an isolated community. We have to work very hard to overcome that isolation now before it happens.
What about North Ireland as an independent state and rejoining the EU?
I see no evidence that Northern Ireland could exist in any sort of prosperity or happiness as a state on its own, even within Europe. And I’m not sure Scotland can do that either – and they have more resources and more people. I think the British Isles, which I used to hate – we’re a group off Europe and we need to have a strength of unity and to build that bridge back to Europe as well.
Shortly after our first conversation, a letter was written by the association of priests, expressing great concern that the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Charles Brown, is out of sync.
For a man who’s waiting for the second yellow card, it wouldn’t be a good thing to say anything. I don’t know the man. I don’t know what he does. All I do know is that I don’t think the quality of bishops that are being chosen are helpful to the future of the Catholic Church in Ireland. And I’m not sure who chooses them, but whoever does should consult more. Everybody has been saying that for some time – and therefore I think it’s the association saying it, because for an individual to say it – he’s easily picked off. And that’s the way I’m putting it to you now – I don’t want to make it easy for them to pick me off when the association of priests is saying the same thing anyway. What I’m saying is: whoever is choosing the bishops in the country, many of them are not the kind of leaders that the Church needs at the moment.
Can you go any stronger?
The Association of Priests have said that he has done terrible damage to the Irish church with the young incompetent bishops that he’s put in place. There’s so many of them now that there won’t be a change in the Irish church for 20 years. The danger is, with some of the younger bishops he’s put in, that the possibility of changes in 20 years has been ruled out. There’s no question about that.
Would you describe him as being incompetent?
I can’t say that. He’s been very competent, according to what the Vatican has asked him to do. I think he’s been extraordinarily competent in with the Vatican has asked him to do – it’s just that what they’ve asked him to do was the wrong thing!
Two days before part one of our article hit the streets, it was announced that you’re to leave your home and parish within 12 months. Will you have to retire soon?
Normally, you don’t retire from active priesthood. Your body retires you. And just because I’m fit do to it doesn’t mean that one should do it, if you’re not in tune with the people you’re supposed to be celebrating with. I try to keep myself fresh and young mentally – even though physically I may not be. I do go to great lengths to do that, reading and studying and reflecting and being with young people, so as to learn as much as I can from the modern world. Because I think it’s a fantastic world and I’d love to just to be born now and starting off, with this great influx of information that we have and how we’ve suddenly just captured the beauty of the world through websites and the internet and all of that. This is a wonderful, magical age.
Your father and brother both died at 70. You’re 71.
The clock’s probably ticking a little bit for me! I’m the oldest male in my family. I kind of know I’m not likely to have to worry about living in an old people’s home (laughs)! I’m more likely to pop off. So, it compels me to try to live a good life and keep on the right side of God. Because you can’t just take life for granted.
Minister John Halligan told me recently that he’s putting a bill forward on euthanasia.
It is going to be a big thing in the future. I spend more than any other thing in life helping (people) to die. I helped two people to die last night. All life is sacred and we do not have the right to decide when a little baby unborn is useless or an old person is useless. We should love them that they can die in peace and comfort in the best possible way. And they do. And it happens beautifully. It’s the most beautiful experience when it happens. It’s one of the rare privileges I have in my whole life and I do it all the time. Life is sacred. We shouldn’t make unnecessary means to keep people alive, but we never kill anybody at any age.
No matter how much pain they’re in...
No. It’s not what I’m saying. It’s not in the argument either, because with proper care and with proper medicines there are very few people that have uncomfortable pain. In fact, I have hardly ever come across it in my life. If we’d spend our time trying to find ways from protecting them from pain, than that would be much better than saying, “We won’t waste money on drugs and we’ll just kill them off!” Life is sacred. And pain is part of life too. And pain is part of our journey. Mental pain. Physical pain. Spiritual pain, which is probably the worst of all. All are part of our journey. And, at that point, you’d have to say, “Lookit, passion is useless. Jesus suffering on the cross was useless to me!” And I don’t believe that.
And what’s heaven going to be like for Fr Brian D’Arcy?
(Laughs) In many ways, I can’t wait to be in this perpetual state of love with God and love with my mother and father and all my friends who’ve gone before me. I just think this state of being perfectly at peace, perfectly at love, perfectly fulfilled. I don’t know how it happens and I don’t know what it will be like, but I just think that the older I get the more anxious I am to experience that stage of peace and love and acceptance and fulfillment. They’re the only treasures worth seeking.