FORMER IRISH PRESIDENT Mary McAleese has hit out at the Catholic Church, calling it an “empire of misogyny”.
McAleese was speaking ahead of a conference in Rome about women’s roles in the Church.
Speaking to reporters, McAleese also raised the ban on women becoming priests.
“Pope Francis has said that the issue of women’s ordination isn’t up for discussion, that women are permanently excluded from priesthood.
“I believe that women should be ordained, I believe the theology on which that is based is pure codology. I’m not even going to be bothered arguing it. Sooner or later it’ll fall apart, fall asunder under its own dead weight.”
McAleese said she wished to “pose a much more profound question” instead.
“If you are going to exclude women in perpetuity from priesthood and if all decision-making, discernment and policy-making in the Church is going to continue to be filtered through the male priesthood, tell me how in justice and charity, but most importantly in equality, are you going to include the voices of women in the formation of the Catholic faith?
What radical, innovative, strategic ideas do you have for their inclusion while being excluded for priesthood? And that’s the question they have not answered.
The Why Women Matter conference, organised by Voices of Faith to mark International Women’s Day, made headlines last month after it emerged that the Vatican barred McAleese and another speaker from taking part in the event.
The conference was due to take place in the Holy See, but organisers moved the location so the barred speakers could take part.
McAleese has been a longtime supporter of LGBT+ rights. Her son Justin McAleese, who is gay, was a high-profile campaigner ahead of the 2015 same-sex marriage referendum.
The former president has often spoken publicly about frustrations with the Church over its stringent views on women and members of the LGBT+ community.