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Thursday 29 September 2016

Fr Smyth's sex abuse led to victims 'taking their own lives', says D'Arcy

Fr Brendan Smyth Picture: Steve Humphreys
Fr Brendan Smyth Picture: Steve Humphreys

Outspoken cleric Fr Brian D'Arcy has said he believes people have taken their own lives as a result of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

Fr D'Arcy said he would not have become a priest if he realised the extent of the scale of the sex abuse in the Church at the hands of priests.

"There have been people, young women, who took their own lives because of what Brendan Smyth did to them," he said in a new interview with Hot Press.

"I know this personally. They took their own lives because of what Brendan Smyth did to them."

He is also highly critical of Cardinal Sean Brady, the man who took the confessional notes from Smyth yet chose not to go to the civil authorities.

"The one thing you will always say about Sean Brady is that he's a decent man. But he would probably know himself now that the system had him so brainwashed that he didn't do the right thing. He was wrapped up in this whole secrecy thing.

"But there was more than him to blame," Fr D'arcy adds, with the then-head of Smyth's Norbertine order also coming in for tough criticism.

The priest also weighed in on the recent controversy in Maynooth, where it emerged that some seminarians were on gay dating app Grindr.

Fr D'Arcy said seminarians using Grindr were "only codding" themselves if they thought they could suddenly stop being sexually active when they qualified for the priesthood.

He said that preparation time for priesthood should be a time to see "if you can do without being sexually active".

"If they're searching on Grindr, putting themselves forward as partners or looking for partners, yes, I do have a problem with it," Fr D'Arcy said.

"You can't suddenly decide that after four years training everything disappears and I'm going to stop being sexually active - that doesn't work.

"You're simply codding yourself if you thing that's what's going to happen. And what damage are you doing to yourself?

Married

"You're a sexually active human being and all of that means, or should mean, in a loving relationship - in which case, at the present time you can't go on to the priesthood because you can't be married and be in the priesthood," he added.

However, Fr D'Arcy reaffirmed his views that he didn't believe sex between gay couples was a sin. He said he had no issue with sex between gay couples, once they were in a committed relationship.

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