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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Sir Terry Wogan was closer to God than he realised, says priest

Sir Terry Wogan was closer to God than he realised and was “a wonderful Catholic man in his tastes”, according to a priest and close, long-time friend.

Fr Brian D’Arcy, who lives in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, joined Songs of Praise presenter, Aled Jones for a special tribute on last week’s programme to speak about his close friend of over 40 years, Sir Terry Wogan, who died last week at the age of 77 following a short battle with cancer.

“I’m just cried out at this stage,” admitted Fr D’Arcy, who was a regular contributor on Sir Terry’s Radio 2 Breakfast Show with Pause For Thought. “He was both a friend and a hero and that’s hard to do that and it’s hard to find yourself without a friend or a hero.”

The two spoke of Sir Terry’s work for Children in Need, in which he raised around £800million for the charity. “Terry would never do anything like that for himself, he would cajole you into doing anything for a good cause and Children in Need was his way of being good and religious in life without being good and religious,” said the priest.

Speaking on the legendary broadcaster’s faith, Fr D’Arcy told the programme that Sir Terry would talk about the “healthy guilt” he was taught during his childhood, when he was raised Catholic and educated at a Jesuit-run school. The priest explained it as guilt that encourages you to better yourself, rather than a guilt that paralyses.

“Terry was a wonderful Catholic man in his tastes, he was universal, he could see the good in everybody and any man that built his life on love, how can you say that they weren’t an absolute perfection of what God wants in people?” Fr D’Arcy asked.

The priest admitted it was difficult for him to say whether Sir Terry was closer to God than he believed, as he isn’t God. However, he did provide his own opinion. “In my judgement he was closer to God than he realised and God of the Bible, Jesus of the Bible, would have loved Terry Wogan.”

When asked whether he thought the broadcaster was in heaven, Fr D’Arcy concluded, “If he’s not, I don’t want to be there because I’d like to be where he is because that’s where goodness is.”