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Interview with Father Brian D’Arcy September 1, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…in Hot Press. Conducted by Jason O’Toole some intriguing stuff in there. He didn’t come from a family that was keen for him to become a priest – indeed he says they went ‘berserk’ when he raised the idea. But by 17 he was in a monastery and this after he was abused by a priest as a child and later in the monastery. And there’s this:

Sex abuse was brushed under the carpet. How will history view Cardinal Sean Brady – who took the confessional notes from the paedophile priest Brendan Smyth and chose not to report him to the authorities or police?
The one thing you will always say about Sean Brady is that he’s a decent man. But he would probably know himself now that the system had him so brainwashed that he didn’t do the right thing. He was wrapped up in this whole secrecy thing. But there was more than him to blame. There’s an awful lot more than him to blame.

Speaking of the Catholic Church and ‘clericalism’ he terms it dysfunctional.

So, what’s dysfunctional about it?
As things developed, the institution became its own survival and its original mission was forgotten. The institution now is hell-bent on saving itself. Sometimes many of the institutional movements actually forget what their mission should be, mainly spreading the compassion of Christ to a world in need of it. It’s very helpful when the present Pope says precisely the same thing. He said, “I don’t need clerics who are more interested in their own self image. What I need is clerics who, like a good shepherd, will have the smell of sheep off them.”

And he suggests this:

So, out of sheer desperation, unsuitable candidates are being accepted.
That’s the issue here more than anything else. What kind of Church do we want and what kind of priesthood can best serve that Church? That’s the question – not “should we pray for more vocations?” There are plenty of vocations all around us, but we’re not using
the vocations that God sent us. So is it any wonder we’re a dysfunctional Church because we’re going against God’s will? God is sending absolutely wonderful laymen and laywomen and they are rebutted at every turn.

No fan of Grindr either it appears… or at least seminarians going on Grindr. Though he’s no fan either of ‘compulsory’ celibacy. He doesn’t believe sex between committed gay couples is a sin either ‘Promiscuity is wrong, but committed love is rarely wrong”.

I find this very interesting in a way, the manner in which some of those inside the Catholic structures are attempting to come to terms with both those structures and the actuality of life as it is lived outside of them. And beyond that as O’Toole notes, and D’Arcy agrees, there’s now an existential crisis facing the Catholic Church here.

And only three future priests!
There’s 99 parishes in Dublin and you’ve only three priests to come in over the next decade! Is that not a bigger issue? So it doesn’t matter where he puts them – it’s not going to work. We simply have to have the sense to reappraise first: what message are the people receiving from the Church at the moment – and it’s not a healthy one. And so we have to work extremely hard. The Hot Press group who are reading this, I’m sure there’s not too many of them who are interested in what a Church man says about anything! And I understand that, because it’s not talking to their world and we simply have to find ways of speaking to their world.

I’m not being facetious when I say some of the problems facing the RCC sound oddly familiar.

Part two next week…

Comments»

1. ivorthorne - September 1, 2016

On a sidenote, how on earth is Hot Press still in business? There are few Irish magazines that turn a profit and I can’t figure out who buys Hot Press in the numbers required to keep it going.

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fergal - September 1, 2016

Ivorthorne- it’s absolutely riddled with ads- and I mean absolutely and not the ones you see in the local papers- full page glossy stuff

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Ivorthorne - September 1, 2016

Cheers Fergal.

Wasn’t it Hot Press that went to court over prostitution adverts back in the day? Seems like a different universe.

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6to5against - September 1, 2016

I think that was In Dublin?

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Tomboktu - September 1, 2016

Yeah, I too thought it was In Dublin.

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ivorthorne - September 1, 2016

Ah yeah, that sounds right.

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Dr. X - September 2, 2016

That was definitely In Dublin. HP may have carried some ads that were close to the knuckle, but ID went all the way up to the elbow.

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2. roddy - September 1, 2016

He may be trying to sound radical but as far as politics go ,he is an uncle Tom.His Sunday world column spouted the same anti Republican shite as his Sindo colleagues and he used his Radio Ulster slot to fawn over the likes of Ken Magennis.

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3. Geraldus Galwensis - September 1, 2016

Fr. Brian D’Arcy is certainly no political radical. He has always sought the safe centre. In social terms he has sometimes expressed, or hinted at, opinions on contraception, gay sex, divorce and related issues that media liberals find dissenting from RC doctrinal orthodoxy. In that interesting autobiography, Crummey v Ireland, written with feminist author Anne Stopper (2009), retired social activist Frank Crummey notes that Fr. D’Arcy was usually the only priest in South Dublin who expressed sympathy with his efforts to help young people, prostitutes, homeless families and others in trouble with the gardai during the 1960s through the 1980s. I am intrigued whenever I buy a copy of the Sunday World and read lots of stuff about crime and gang warfare, celebrity gossip, occasional exposes of business sharp practices and Fr. D’Arcy’s light musings about contemporary society flavoured with a sprinkling of Sunday pulpit lite. A couple of pages later there is a full page of Dirty Sex Talk telephone advertisements. D’Arcy has also enjoyed a long career as chaplain to the showbiz industry.

Hot Press is an interesting commercially succesful pop music magazine. It promoted sexual liberalism from the start in the mid 70s, and used to carry a regular column by one Michael D Higgins TD in the 1980/90s. I suppose it continues to attract enough advertising revenue from the pop and entertainment industry to keep going.

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4. sonofstan - September 1, 2016

“how on earth is Hot Press still in business? ”

Regular wins on the horses?

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5. Tomboktu - September 1, 2016

What did he say about Grindr?

I think it’s perfectly fine for him to be opposed to seminarians using Grindr — it kinda goes with the territory of being a seminarian. But if his opposition to it goes beyond that, then he would need to be told to fuck off with himself and let consenting adults do what consenting adults want to do so long as it’s not on his altar.

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6. oliverbohs - September 1, 2016

Hot Press presumably has brand loyalty in its favour and a continuing sense of familiarity with the same people turning up regularly in it. Fr D was prob getting interviewed by them 30 years ago as was Geldof and Pat Kenny etc etc. It’s in a better state than the NME, though it was always more comparable with Ireland’s Own. Does Niall Stokes still pen The Message in it for the Youth?
If the C church really believe they can find a way of speaking to young people they ought to pray for an asteroid to hit Earth or a Third World War to break out. Seriously, what else is there? Always thought Father Ted put the final nail in the coffin, by not making priests targets for opprobrium but merely to be pitied, while you laughed at them

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ivorthorne - September 1, 2016

Funny isn’t it how that generation came to dominate the “youth” media long after those characters fell into their 40s. It’s like with 2FM, they accidentally became the station of 40 something’s simply by continuing to focus on the audience interests of people who were teens in the 80s. New personalities or formats were rare.

A bit like the Labour Party really.

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WorldbyStorm - September 1, 2016

NME is a disaster now. Has been for years. For me the worst was seeing Melody Maker decline in the late 90s. And I guess before that the late lamented Sounds going to the wall. But MM was the one I bought on a weekly basis and it just became nothing. A pale shadow of itself.

IT that’s a really intriguing point. How did they manage it. Was it because they were ‘safe’ in some way?

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ivorthorne - September 2, 2016

I think they probably were considered safe. Sure, Gerry Ryan might eff and blind occasionally, but that was tolerable.

I suspect that part of the issue was that there was little choice. The “youth” became defined as people who didn’t listen to Radio 1. Eighteen year olds ended up listening to Dave Fanning playing U2’s greatest hits because there was nothing else on. When choice became available, younger people migrated online. There were options there beyond radio friendly chart, indie bands and singer songwriters.

Even now though, if you look at those writing reviews in our national papers, they’re mostly 40-60 years old and still focusing on the same old stuff.

Look now at the Labour Party and tell me how they’ve changed since the 80s. The social issues they champion are still, largely, the same. The faces are largely the same. The sections of society they represent are mostly the same.

In the meantime, the views of the populace have changed. The country has become more anti-austerity and anti-establishment and yet over the last few years, any views left of the Labour Party were not supported by broadcast or print journalists.

The general rule in Ireland when it comes to the media is if it isn’t popular in the nicer parts of South Dublin then it doesn’t count.

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gendjinn - September 2, 2016

There’s been a similar trend in the US, well in the alternative/indie/rock music stations. R&B, HipHop and Hispanic stations are doing great.

There’s been a noticeable uptick in stations switching to Spanish format in the last 10 years. In the rust belt the manufacturing jobs left, the kids left to find jobs, Hispanics came for the jobs the kids wouldn’t do. The stations switched. There’s the root of a chunk of Trump support right there “I want my country back!”

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7. Brian Hanley - September 1, 2016

I haven’t bought Hot Press in years, though I still flick through it in the shops (me stopping buying it might be more to do with age than anything else). However in the early 80’s it was the only magazine that would do half-decent interviews with a range of political figures (from Gerry Adams and Tony Gregory to Peter Barry and Charlie Haughey) and maybe more importantly would ask musicians what they thought about politics; sometimes their views were predictable, sometimes not, but almost any ‘pop star’ interviewed by the magazine was likely to be asked about what they thought about the North, or Reagan or Thatcher or whatever.

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WorldbyStorm - September 1, 2016

I always thought a real strength of it was and is the non-music stuff. But yeah, it definitely asked people who they voted for – U2 came out as WP inclined at one point IIRC.

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Tomboktu - September 2, 2016

Do you remember when Gloria won a HP readers’ vote to get ab annual music award, when she had that single (was it ‘One Day at a Time’?) in the charts for over 52 weeks? At the award ceremony, she did say her selection for a rock music awards showed HP readers had a sense of humour. (Her vote wasn’t quite in the same category a Boaty McBoatface’s, but it was before easy internet voting when you had to pay the price of a stamp (and, I think, use the coupon in HP).)

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irishelectionliterature - September 2, 2016

Pretty sure I have one of the Haughey Hot Press interviews lying around somewhere.

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Dr. X - September 2, 2016

I recall (he said, stroking his long grey beard) reading an interview with Germaine Greer in the HP in the 1980s – after denouncing Dylan as a phoney, man, the interviewer showed her a copy of the mag itself, which GG immediately recognized as an underground magazine of the type commonplace in Swinging London and similar places in the late ’60s.

G-d I feel old.

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8. Jolly Red Giant - September 2, 2016

D’Arcy is one of those deluded fools who tries to sound radical while displaying an utter contempt for all things anti-establishment.

I still remember the utter crap he spouted in his ‘expose’ of The Clash.

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ivorthorne - September 2, 2016

I thought you were talking about Ray for a moment.

Father Trendy is a joke. There’s no substance to his views beyond let’s all try to be nice and sensible. Also, look at me.

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9. Jason o'Toole - September 2, 2016

I am biased here. But I don’t know any other Irish magazine that will run 7,000 word interview. look in the last few editions John Halligan, Lynn Ruanne, Archbishop Eamon Martin, paschal Dinohoe, Finian McGrath,… Danny Heaky-Rae,… All 7/8 pages articles. I don’t see any other publication doing that, so I think credit Is due where credit is due, I spend a full week of these articles, working on the features that deseerve be read in full, rather than snippets in tabloids. Love this site. Keep up the good work,

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CMK - September 2, 2016

That’s fair enough, Jason, but do we really, really need to hear more from some of these characters? I mean Pascal Donohue is never off the radio or the TV, ditto for McGrath and Healy-Rea. Lynn Ruane is certainly worthwhile but the others? Any chance HP would do a 7-8,000 page article on the Left intellectual culture in this society? There are dozens of Left commentators who write and speak well but, were it not for social media, are rarely heard from. Case in point, Conor McCabe who writes one of the definitive books on Irish political economy in the 20th century, taking a very critical perspective, yet is completely ignored by the mainstream media here when the Apple story breaks this week. I appreciate the work you put in to those pieces but I personally could care less what Pascal Donohue thinks on this or that issue.

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Michael Carley - September 2, 2016

Actually, I find it interesting to hear or read well-known people with a lot of exposure talking at length, so you get some idea of what their detailed thinking is, rather than having to interpret an extract from a soundbite or a one minute statement with interruptions from an interviewer who’s not as smart as he thinks he is.

You’re right about Conor McCabe though: he should be given a television series.

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Jason o'Toole - September 2, 2016

I’ll keep that in mind. I’m pushing hard to interview Sean Garland.you should note that in the Hot Press interview I don’t ask those easy pre-agreed questions. In fact, one senior minister pulled out of an interview last week because I wasn’t willing to supply a list of of questions! Another minister refused for years because he knew I’d ask the proverbial elephant in the room question about his sexuality. So, I take your point, but I’ll equally defend my corner and say Reese are unique interviews with a lot of unorthodox questions thrown into the mix. These interviews are abut getting under the skin of our politicians and finding out what really makes them think. The Paschal one was a good one in point: there was plenty of new and unusual info in it.

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Jason o'Toole - September 2, 2016

I meant really makes them tick

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Dr. X - September 2, 2016

There is a snowball’s chance in hell of McCabe getting his own TV series. How about we (les enrages) crowdfund a Michael Moore type documentary film for him?

(Has he ever expressed any interest in doing something like that?)

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ivorthorne - September 2, 2016

Not based in Ireland these days Jason, but I’ve seen excerpts online and the extra effort shows. Yes it’s nice to get extended interviews that can help you get a better impression of somebody, but is this not something that would lend itself better to an online format where length is not an issue?

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Jason o'Toole - September 2, 2016

I don’t know about you but I love the feel of a paper or a mag in my end sitting with a pint at the end of the bar. Call me old fashioned! But I hear what you’re saying.

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ivorthorne - September 2, 2016

I know what you mean but I got over it eventually. Kindles are just too convenient.

Comics are pretty much the only thing I buy in print (aside from Phoenix and occasionally Village due to their crappy web presence) and that’s because digital editions don’t capture the experience as the artist intended. That said, if I’m in a pub with a comic I’m always terrified that I’ll spill something on it!

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Alibaba - September 2, 2016

Have to agree with you about the tactile thing, with a cuppa in hand in my particular case. Fair dues Jason if you ‘don’t ask those easy pre-agreed questions’. But I am puzzled by your decision to ask a minister ‘for years’ about his sexuality. I always take the view that a person’s sexuality is nobody else’s business. If public interest issues arise, I think otherwise of course. Was that relevant here?

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Alibaba - September 2, 2016

Meant holding the magazine

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Jason - September 3, 2016

I pint on this question was : if he was afraid to be honest, I knew he would fudge other issues too . I wasn’t going to bother interviewing some who was just going to tell him bare faced lies

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10. Geraldus Galwensis - September 2, 2016

Why are left magazines so boring and so paltry in circulation? They lack some ingredients found in Hot Press and that awful Sunday World.

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11. Ed - September 2, 2016

I think Hot Press also has a little stable of trade publications that they produce for this or that customer (the magazine for the Dublin-Belfast train, that sort of thing), so that probably helps with the finances.

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12. Brian Hanley - September 2, 2016

From a historians point of view all the 1980’s Hot Press interviews, with politicians of any stripe, are fantastic source material. Haughey was hardly under-exposed in 1983 yet the HP interview did throw up new stuff. Two interviews with Tomas MacGiolla in 1989 were the only places I saw him describe in detail his early life and influences. I recall interviews with Brendan McGahon, Tony Gregory, Danny Morrison, all of them worth revisiting for a snapshot of the time. A lot of the political questions given to bands were just as interesting- I remember Geldof denouncing the miners strike and a few years later describing workers who went on strike as c***s- confirming that the man himself was indeed a prick of the highest order.

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Michael Carley - September 2, 2016

Geldof here:

No, I don’t think so. People started doing things afterward, because they wanted to contribute their bit. But the thing is, all elements of this were crucial: I wasn’t a threat, I had time, I saw the thing, I knew the people. And also, this was a subject that was beyond any argument. Is it right to help people? Yes. Is it wrong to help people? No. There is no moral quibbling about this. And the political argument does not enter the arena whatsoever. English pop music is highly politicized. Records come out in support of a strike, and they do not do very well. Let’s take the coal-miners strike, which was viewed outside this country possibly as this great struggle, which it wasn’t.

http://davidbreskin.com/magazines/1-interviews/bob-geldof/

and here:

That’s what yuppies are . . . and yes, I understand that the value they put everything on was money. But, nonetheless, there’s an awful lot of bollocks about the Seventies. The late Seventies were immensely selfish and greedy and you had Britain brought to its knees by a bunch of c***s who wouldn’t even bury dead people. Like I lived there when the streets were piled up with litter for a half-per-cent extra pay. That’s greed. It isn’t revolution no matter what way you cut it.

http://www.hotpress.com/music/interviews/Another-Side-Of-Bob-Geldof/415828.html

“English pop music is highly politicized”?

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sonofstan - September 2, 2016

Compared to now it probably was – I remember it was a problem for some Irish bands in the 70s/80s when it got to the first big NME interview and they weren’t prepared for the questions; especially about Ireland. Don’t forget, the HP line of questioning was likely to be on social issues, that Irish stand in for the political, rather than class war, and when you compared them to the likes of the Redskins or the Mekons to pick two random examples, Irish bands tended to be more of the ‘we just play our music for ourselves and if other people like it, it’s a bonus’ ilk . Now of course, almost all (white) pop musicians are as middle class as Geldof and clueless about anything.

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13. soubresauts - September 6, 2016

I’m a bit late to this discussion and I don’t have particular thoughts about Brian D’Arcy, but I have to say that Hot Press showed itself to be way beyond the other mainstream media when it did a massive exposé of the Irish fluoridation scandal. It was a series of feature articles by Adrienne Murphy showing fantastic investigative journalism as well as editorial willingness to stand up to the Irish medical and political establishment.

Here is one telling example:
http://www.hotpress.com/archive/9708554.html

Of course it was ignored or disrespected by Irish politicians, particularly those who call themselves “socialist” (with the honourable exception of Sinn Fein).

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