Fr Brian D'Arcy, the popular journalist who is being censured by the Vatican, has said he has never questioned the defined doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Fr D'Arcy claimed he had been told by his provincial in Ireland that the move by the Vatican 14 months ago was prompted by a headline on an article he had written for the Sunday World - a letter on homosexuality which he had published in his column and criticisms of the Catholic Church's response to clerical child sex abuse scandals.

Asked about the Vatican ban on the ordination of women priests, he dismissed Rome's argument that Jesus had never ordained a woman.

Fr D’Arcy pointed out that Jesus had not ordained a black man either, but that black men are allowed to be priests.

The cleric said he is a voice for people that have no voice at all.

He added that some of the blame for the sexual abuse of children must go back to Rome. Fr D’Arcy said he cannot be silent about issues surrounding the protection of children.

He said if there is secrecy, and no questioning mind within the Catholic Church, then no child will be protected.

Fr D’Arcy said if he had to stop writing about issues such as homosexuality and the sexual abuse of children, he would have to leave the priesthood.