Father Bill Miscamble, CSC, Faculty Contributor
Bishop John D’Arcy knew of Christ’s love for him and he lived in light of it. He was never complacent about or embarrassed by his faith. Instead, he served as a beacon giving guidance and direction to others. He was a true shepherd of his flock and gave great and untiring pastoral leadership to our diocese. He was a man of deep courage and commitment, and sought to do in his life only what he knew to be right rather than anything that might curry favor or gain recognition in worldly terms. When I think of him my mind goes to a reading included in the breviary on the Feast of St. Thomas Becket, bishop and martyr (December 29). In the reading, St. Thomas Becket speaks of the duty of a bishop to “endeavor to destroy the reign of sin and death, and by nurturing faith and uprightness of life, to build up the Church of Christ into a holy temple in the Lord.” This, without question, is what Bishop D’Arcy did.
Bishop D’Arcy had a deep love for Notre Dame, and he prayed for and worked hard to encourage Notre Dame to fulfill its crucial mission as a Catholic university. He took a special pride in the resurgence of the Theology Department under John Cavadini’s leadership, and he valued highly the fine cooperation between the Theology Department and his diocese on a range of matters. He also took real joy in witnessing the faith of students on this campus, and he had a special regard for the students of Notre Dame Right to Life and those gathered in groups like the Edith Stein Project. He appreciated deeply the faith commitments of these students. I suspect he treasured most of all his cooperation with the students of ND Response at the time of the Obama visit. Their courage and conviction gave him a deep pride in Notre Dame, and he knew that they were the best of Notre Dame on that weekend during which he joined them. The rupture with the leadership of Notre Dame over the honoring of President Obama caused him sadness, but it revealed him at his courageous best.
I came to know Bishop D’Arcy especially well during my service as rector of Moreau Seminary. He was always truly supportive of my efforts there. His deep love for the priesthood was so evident in all that he did and it was made clear to our Holy Cross seminarians during his occasional visits. Bishop D’Arcy’s concern for the priesthood was very much in evidence in his extraordinary resolve and leadership during the long and difficult years in which the Church has dealt with the clergy sexual abuse crisis. The sound judgment that he exercised on this broad matter both in the archdiocese of Boston and here in our diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend revealed his true stature as a bishop and as a pastor concerned to protect his flock. We must draw encouragement and inspiration from the example of this faithful servant of the Lord in the months and years ahead.
Fr. Miscamble is a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame and a faculty advisor of the Irish Rover.