24 January 2006

I'm not afraid to die, says sick Faul

Belfast Telegraph

Cleric tells of cancer battle

By Marie Foy
24 January 2006

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Leading Catholic cleric Monsignor Denis Faul has spoken out about his on-going battle with cancer.

The controversial priest, who has lost around two and a half stone in weight, hopes to beat his illness - but insists he is not afraid to die.

Mgr Faul is currently being treated at Bon Secours private hospital in Dublin.

The 73-year-old was rushed to hospital in Omagh from his parochial house in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone, last October with a burst appendix caused by the growth of a three-year- old undiagnosed cancerous tumour.

He acknowledges that he should have been more vigilant over this health, but argues he was too busy for more regular check-ups.

"I don't suffer pain or nausea but I get tired from the treatment," he says .

Last autumn, before going into surgery in Enniskillen hospital, he asked to see a priest.

"I got confession, kept the priest for hours with all I had to tell him, and sure I didn't give a damn after that," he told the Irish Times.

Now celebrating his golden jubilee year as a priest, Mgr McFaul says he hopes to beat the insidious disease. "But I'm not afraid of dying," he adds.

Although he is not well enough to carry out parish duties, he celebrates Mass in the local church every Sunday.

He also says Mass in his house every morning and writes the occasional article. And people still seek him out for advice.

A long-time justice campaigner, he says he would like to reach 84, the age his father died.

"I hope I could say I helped the poor people when they were in trouble, that I gave them money and help, that I got them to England when they had to get away, that I helped the prisoners.

"It is important to bear witness," he continues. "The quality the Irish people most admire is courage, not just physical courage but moral courage as well; that you can stand up, speak your mind, even though you're getting lambasted from all sides. You have to stand up."

For the stupid Americans in the audience, how much is "two and a half stone"?
Hi armaedes! One stone equals 14 pounds weight
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