'The Turbulent Priest' follows Fr. Brian's emotional journey
Published: 25 Oct 2012 13:000 comments
In "The Turbulent Priest" the cameras are given access as the news of the censure is revealed to the world's press and films as he confronts his dilemma. He asks: "Is the price of being a priest that you stay quiet, that you don't be a whistle blower, and that the price of dying a priest is that you don't speak the truth?"
In a frank and personal documentary, filmmaker Natalie Maynes follows Father Brian on a journey across Europe as he confronts the biggest dilemma of his life -- can he continue as a priest?
The documentary follows the Rector of the Graan as he reveals his struggle with the core teachings of the church including celibacy. "I would have been a much better priest had I married. I think it would have been the whole thing of sharing your life with somebody else and the whole thing of making sacrifices for somebody else and also that idea of a companion, a closeness, a friend, someone to call home," he said.
"Ask any single person who doesn't want to be single what it's like. You're a nobody in the world for a start. You have no place really you can call your own. You have no friendship you can call your own. You have given your life to everybody else and find that you have no life at all at the end of it. Where is home? At the end of my life I don't have a home. Ideally religious life is supposed to be a type of home. It isn't, not now anyway."
He also speaks openly about his own personal experience of sexual abuse in the church and the feelings that were left with him afterwards. He said: "You're afraid the secret will destroy you until you realise, hey, I've nothing to be afraid of. I've nothing to be ashamed of and I can say that clearly now, and it's the same thing when the Vatican came after me, I could say; I've nothing to be ashamed of. I didn't do anything wrong."
As he goes on a journey of discovery, he seeks out people and places which may help him find answers. One of those people, Helmut Schuller, an Austrian priest is actively lobbying for reform of some of the church's core teachings. Schuller who has been demoted from a senior post in the church to a parish priest outside Vienna remains defiant that he would never leave the church. He said: "At no moment I thought to leave church, because it is my church. I want this church to move to change, to find renewal, to find reform, and I have a lot of friends in this church. I don't want to leave it".
Father Brian also speaks to Father Brian McKevitt, editor of a conservative Catholic newspaper who has a much more traditional viewpoint. He says to Brian: "A lot of what you write is a kind of a candy floss spirituality. It looks attractive but when you actually bite into it there's kind of an absence of substance, an absence of nourishment."
As well as speaking to these key individuals, Father Brian writes a letter to Cardinal Sean Brady, Head of the Irish Catholic Church questioning him about the future of the church in Ireland. In Cardinal Brady's letter he sets out a list roles for the church including being there to "serve the poor", "celebrating rites of passage", being a "voice within ethical discourse" and being the "bearer of a beautiful heritage."
He also asks about his own role in the church to which Cardinal Brady responds: "I know that with your excellent access to media and superb communication skills are well placed to share the fruits of such reflection with others. I wish you well as you continue to do so."
Throughout the documentary Fr. Brian also speaks with Sarah McDonald, from International Catholic newspaper, The Tablet and his good friend, and probably one of the most famous priests in Ireland, actor Frank Kelly who played the infamous Father Jack from the popular comedy series Father Ted.
He also travels to Weston Super Mare to meet with Michael Carroll who was ordained with Brian but after 10 years left the priesthood. Fr.Brian seeks to find out what it was that finally convinced Michael to walk out on the Church.
Towards the end of the documentary Brian reveals to his congregation if he is going to be able to stay on as a priest in the Graan and if he feels that he is able to remain a priest and still be true to himself.
Narrator and Producer, Natalie Maynes said: "Making this film has been a unique opportunity to document an insider's take on the Irish Catholic Church, particularly at a time when it is under particular scrutiny. Father Brian D'Arcy has been in religious life for 50 years and that half century of experience has convinced him the Church should be taking its lead from the ordinary 'grass roots' Catholics he helps on a daily basis. But Fr. Brian worries the Vatican is returning to the conservative church of his youth which he believes will alienate Catholics struggling with core teachings like clerical celibacy, second relationships, homosexuality, and contraception. The worst case scenario, says Fr. Brian, is that 'we allow them to impose this legalistic church again. Look what happened - that's what led to the abuse of children, abuse of power, the abuse of the church itself'".
The Turbulent Priest is being screened on Monday, October 29 on BBC One NI at 10.35pm.
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
Get more stories from our Roundup section
24 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department
Kilkenny-man Andrew Phelan has been appointed as General Manager of the Lough Erne Resort.
24 Apr 2014 15:00 • Meadhbh Monahan
FIVEMILETOWN Co-operative Society shareholders have been offered £10,000 each from Glanbia, a shareholder has claimed.
24 Apr 2014 14:00 • Lily Dane
The Quinton family has been dealt another tragic blow with the news this week of the unexpected death of Christopher Quinton whose passing is being met with shock and sadness in the community.
24 Apr 2014 14:00 • Rodney Edwards
SINN Fein’s Phil Flanagan has discussed Jim Allister’s call for a ban on GAA jerseys from universities in Northern Ireland with the Employment and Learning Minister, Dr. Stephen Farry.
24 Apr 2014 13:00 • Rodney Edwards
The call no mother wants - read Ruby Brown's moving interview following the death of her son Richard in a motorbike accident
24 Apr 2014 13:00 • Julie Kenwell
PARENTS of Collegiate Grammar School are to make an 11th hour appeal to members of the Western Education Library Board (WELB) not to sign off on a development proposal which would see it merge with Portora Royal next year.
24 Apr 2014 10:15
BOGWOOD sculptures over 3,000 years old have been installed at the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) garden.
24 Apr 2014 10:00 • Editorial Department
Way of the Cross: Congregations walk together on Good Friday.
24 Apr 2014 09:30 • Editorial Department
The phone call no mother wants as Ruby Brown tells of the moment she learned of the death of son Richard in a motorbike accident. Read her in-depth and moving interview.
23 Apr 2014 21:30
Enniskillen Town Utd came from a goal down to book their place in the final of the Impartial Reporter Mulhern Cup with a 2-1 win over Kesh at Ferney Park tonight.
23 Apr 2014 15:35
A car was stolen during a so-called “creeper burglary” at Raceview Court near the Cornagrade Road in Enniskillen.
23 Apr 2014 13:15
LOCAL people are invited to meet at Castle Archdale at 5am on Saturday, May 3, to listen to the birds welcome the new day in fine voice.
23 Apr 2014 11:30
A radio DJ will bring her fundraising marathon challenge to Fermanagh this June in aid of Cancer Research UK.
23 Apr 2014 09:30
Arsonists are being blamed for starting around 15 gorse fires in the Garrison and Belcoo area since the beginning of April.
22 Apr 2014 17:00
Ballinamallard United slipped into the bottom two in the Danske Bank Premiership on goal difference following today's 2-2 draw with Dungannon Swifts at Ferney Park.
22 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department
The rites of passage of growing up vary from person to person but throughout my own life events such as turning 13, my first formal, my GCSE and A level results, my 18th birthday (and my first and to date only hangover that followed), getting into university and moving away from home are just a few which I imagine are pretty common landmarks among my generation.
22 Apr 2014 15:00
A car was broken into at Navar Forest near Derrygonnelly last night (Monday).
22 Apr 2014 13:00 • Rodney Edwards
FARMERS in Fermanagh are being encouraged by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) in Enniskillen to take part in the Farm Watch Scheme, an initiative endorsed by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill.
22 Apr 2014 12:00
A house in Lisnaskea has been attacked.
22 Apr 2014 11:00 • Rodney Edwards
A NUMBER of people in Fermanagh have been fined £75 for “dropping a cigarette butt or a sweet paper” on the street, according to UUP MLA Tom Elliott.