'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
8 Dec 2013 14:30 • Editorial Department
A 32-year-old pregnant mother of three has lost her baby while in prison awaiting trial for the burglary of the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.
8 Dec 2013 12:00 • Editorial Department
First place in this year’s Soroptimist International Enniskillen and District Annual Youth Award Public Speaking Competition was awarded to Siobhan Kerr, a pupil at Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School.
8 Dec 2013 09:00 • Editorial Department
The first woman to be appointed a bishop in the Anglican church in the British Isles, has local connections.
7 Dec 2013 20:30 • Editorial Department
A 23-year-old man had his teeth knocked out in what he claimed was a “sectarian” attack in Lisnaskea last Christmas.
7 Dec 2013 19:49 • Meadhbh Monahan
“I was beaten with a baseball bat with nails on it, in the dark, at 4am; [deciding whether to protest at a frack site] is a big challenge for parents and a big decision to make.” That was one message given to over 100 people who attended a Ban Fracking Fermanagh meeting in the Railway Hotel today (Saturday), from Tara Canon from Bundoran, who protested for two years against a motorway going through The Hill of Tara in County Meath.
7 Dec 2013 17:16
Ballinamallard claimed the points at Ferney Park today as Davy Kee's 69th minute goal earned them the victory against Ards.
7 Dec 2013 14:15 • Rodney Edwards
A man in his early fifties has died following an accident in Lisnaskea this morning (Saturday).
7 Dec 2013 14:00 • Editorial Department
FERMANAGH District Council has vowed to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the workers at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in Enniskillen following the news that the organisation has introduced a voluntary redundancy scheme.
7 Dec 2013 11:30 • Rodney Edwards
A YOUNG mother struggling to keep her home warm turns the heating off when her children are out and wears an extra jumper.
7 Dec 2013 09:00 • Editorial Department
HEALTH Minister Edwin Poots says he will continue to challenge the Western Trust when he needs to get answers on issues in Fermanagh.
6 Dec 2013 21:30 • Julie Kenwell
A substantial infestation of Japanese knotweed could spell “dire consequences” for Fermanagh property owners, a weed management company has warned.
6 Dec 2013 18:00 • Lily Dane
‘One hundred years young’ would certainly be an apt description for sprightly centenarian, James McDonnell, from outside Irvinestown.
6 Dec 2013 17:00
Our photographer John McVitty captured this stunning rainbow which appeared over Cornagrade in Enniskillen this afternoon.
6 Dec 2013 16:55
"Preditory sex offender" John Michael McDermott already serving over nine years for his involvement in the abuse of eight children, stands to be sentenced again in the New Year after pleading guilty today (Friday) to abusing a ninth victim.
6 Dec 2013 16:30 • Editorial Department
A selection of topical, amusing, noteworthy tweets from Fermanagh and beyond. Check below to see if you have been featured this week...
6 Dec 2013 14:00
Tomorrow (Saturday) is Small Business Saturday; a day when shoppers are encouraged to support local businesses in towns and villages across Fermanagh.
6 Dec 2013 12:30 • Rodney Edwards
IT appears relations between political opponents Arlene Foster and Phil Flanagan are improving after one of them suggested going for a coffee with the other.
6 Dec 2013 12:30
Goalkeeper Ronan Gallagher has become the latest Fermanagh player to bring the curtain down on his inter-county career.
6 Dec 2013 11:30 • Editorial Department
Irish police officers colluded in the IRA murder of a senior policeman from Kinawley, the final report of the Smithwick Tribunal has found.
6 Dec 2013 09:30
A 21-year-old man with mental health problems threatened to shoot police after they took him to hospital for treatment.