‘From Belief to Unbelief’ documentary on RTE Radio 1, Sat. 13 October, 2012.

I’ve spent more than six months working, with Nicoline Greer from the Documentary on One team at RTE Radio 1, on making a 40-minute documentary called ‘From Belief to Unbelief’.

It charts the story of my journey from belief to unbelief, and also that of two fellow novices, John O’Sullivan and Declan Wynne, who entered the Marist Fathers’ seminary at Mount St Mary’s, Milltown, Dublin, in September 1980.

Of the twenty who entered that year, only three remain in religious life.  I left after nine years. Declan after ordination, having spent thirteen years in the order. John is the most recent to leave: he was a member of the order for some thirty years.

We each speak of the insights, realisations and key events in our personal paths starting with our sense of a call to the priesthood and religious life; entering the seminary; our challenges, questions and crises; our deeply personal and painful decisions to leave religious life; and our contented lives today as unbelievers.

The documentary is not only the personal story of three men: our lives may be seen as a microcosm for the transformation taking place in Irish society in the last 20, 30 or even 50 years. In the early 1980s there were some 40 seminarians in the Marist Fathers’ seminary in Ireland alone. Nowadays, there are no Irish seminarians in the order and Mount Saint Mary’s is no longer a seminary. The chapel which once reverberated to the sound of many young vibrant seminarians now lies silent and is rarely used. As recently as the early 1980s, the houses of the Marist Fathers in Ireland boasted full communities of priests, compared to the small and aging communities remaining today.

Thirty-two years after entering the order, I revisit the former seminary in the company of Father Denis Green SM, now in his nineties, who used to be my spiritual director.

Documentary maker: Joe Armstrong.

Production supervision by Nicoline Greer.

‘From Belief to Unbelief’ is scheduled for broadcast in the Documentary on One slot on RTE Radio One, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, 13 October. It will be repeated the following evening at 7 p.m. From broadcast date it can also be listened to online or downloaded from www.rte.ie/radio1/doconone as an mp3 or Podcast. If it isn’t on the front page of that link, simply search for ‘From Belief to Unbelief’ in the RTE Radio One, Documentary on One search bar, or find it under the ‘Life’ category.

 

 

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2 Responses to “‘From Belief to Unbelief’ documentary on RTE Radio 1, Sat. 13 October, 2012.”

  1. Joe Armstrong says:

    Hi Dara, Lovely to hear from you. Yup, I think I could live happily with the new scriptures according to Leonard Cohen! Keep well and regards to your family, Joe

  2. Dara Molloy says:

    Hi Joe. Really enjoyed the documentary. Stirred up a lot of stuff for me and brought back memories. Lovely to hear Denis Green, one of my most favourite priests of all time. My own journey didn’t bring me to unbelief but to something in the middle between it and belief. I tell people I live in the cracks between monotheism and polytheism. I also use Leonard Cohen’s line: there is a crack, a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in. Not only is it working for me, but I am making a living out of it and rearing a family on it as sole income. Blessings to you and your family. Dara.