By Shelley Marsden
Speaking on the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ appointment and launching his own annual vigil, Fr Brian D’Arcy has said a huge disconnect remains between Church teaching and the lives of ‘real people’.
Fr D’Arcy, whose annual Novena of Hope at The Graan, Enniskillen celebrates a quarter of a century this year, said this gap has become all the more clear following responses from dioceses worldwide to the Vatican’s survey on family and sexuality.
He told the Irish World: “By and large, the results are the same across the globe– people want far more compassion towards gay people, they feel it is wrong to exclude gay people and deny them their right to some form of dignified relationship.
“On artificial contraception, there is a very small uptake on the church’s view on that – I’d say less than ten per cent. That is solid, ordinary people of faith saying no, this doesn’t correspond with our life practice. I’d be very disappointed if the Church decided not to deal with the facts it has in front of it now.”
But on the ‘Pope Francis effect’, Fr D’Arcy has no doubts, commenting that the Argentinian Pope has made a huge difference, to the Church, not so much through physical change but in the atmosphere surrounding the institution.
He said: “There is less weariness, fear and depression. As Pope Francis himself has said, sometimes we Christians go round like ‘sour-pusses’ and asked why, when we should be going around happy, and full of hope? Hope is what the Novena has always spoken of, since it started. He has, at least, lifted that heaviness that has surrounded Catholicism for so long.”
The Novena of Hope, which begins on March 22 and continues until Monday March 31, boasts some inspiring speakers this year – mostly lay people and all of whom have been through their own personal tragedies. At the event, they share how they overcame those great difficulties with the help of their faith.
For the full article, see this week’s Irish World newspaper (issue 15 March 2014).
Visit www.thegraan.com for full details of all Novena services.