More openness may not be a bad thing for the church
Coming so soon after its handling of the clerical sexual abuse issue was criticised, the Roman Catholic Church's decision to censure the published works of several priests including Fr. Brian D'Arcy has done little to bring its people closer to those in authority of the church.
It seems that most things in the church are discussed and decided in secrecy and here again, Fr. Brian has to live with the knowledge that an anonymous complaint was made to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who have in turn asked for future articles to be approved by them.
It's not as if a renegrade priest keeps shouting off about something he does not agree with. In this case, Fr. Brian D'Arcy sees himself - and is widely backed by many of his supporters - as expressing their views and sentiments on issues which sometimes embrace moral and ethical topics. He says it is not about him but about the voices of so many people who often feel marginalised in today's society.
The fact that many people from other religious persuasions, namely Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist also concur with many of Fr. D'Arcy's views, speaks volumes for his credibility and truth.
Society has changed considerably in recent decades but it appears the church has lagged behind to an extent that some believe it is often alienating many of its members and prospective members.
This latest controversy to hit the church might seem an unwelcome one for those in authority but it registers pretty lowly when compared with the clerical sex abuse scandal which still rages on.
Many of the church's followers would welcome its hierarchy to be more transparent about how they run the church just as Fr. Brian is about issues which he says are worrying his congregation. The cloak of secrecy and anonymity does nothing for the church's accountability or to keep its followers engaged.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 03 May 12