Father Brian D'Arcy, one of Ireland's best known Catholic priests, has been censured by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in the Vatican.

It is understood that his newspaper columns must now be approved by Catholic Church authorities. According to British newspaper The Tablet, the action against Fr. D’Arcy was taken by the CDF last year after an anonymous complaint. The disciplining of Fr. D'Arcy brings the number of Irish priests so disciplined by the Church to five.

Fr. D'Arcy has in the past spoken out against mandatory priestly celibacy and Catholic teaching on contraception. Concerning the Murphy Report into clerical abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin, Fr. D'Arcy called for reformation of Church structures and accused the Holy See of using legal procedures to shield itself from criticism over its handling of abuse.

D'Arcy's most recent Sunday World column argued that the Catholic Church should hew to the results of an opinion survey which appeared to show that the majority of Irish Catholics rejected the Church’s stance on matters such as female ordination and the right of priests to marry. His censure came as the founder of the Association of Catholic Priests, Fr Tony Flannery, is being investigated by church authorities for his views. He had been forced to give up his monthly column in the Redemptorist Reality magazine as a result.

In March, a report from an Apostolic Visitation personally appointed by Pope Benedict said there is a “certain tendency” among some Irish priests to hold and profess opinions at odds with those of the Magisterium, the Church’s superior teaching authority.

The disciplining of Fr. D'Arcy comes as the CDS also criticized the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a group that claims to represent most Catholic nuns in the U.S.



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