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Niall Carson
Washington DC

Leo Varadkar: 'I don't agree with the Catholic Church's policy towards women'

Speaking in Washington, the Taoiseach also said he didn’t think it was the State’s role to tell any religion what rules it should make.

- Christina Finn reports from Washington DC:

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that he does not agree with the Catholic Church’s policy towards women.

Speaking in Washington DC on Tuesday, the Taoiseach also said he didn’t think it was the role of the State to tell any religion what rules it should make.

Last week, the former Irish President Mary McAleese described the Catholic Church as an “empire of misogyny”.

She made the comments in Rome, calling for the bar on women becoming priests to be lifted. She also called on Pope Francis to address gender inequality in the Church.

McAleese said in a speech at a conference about women’s roles in the Church:

“Failure to include women as equals has deprived the Church of fresh and innovative discernment; it has consigned it to recycled thinking among a hermetically sealed cosy male clerical elite flattered and rarely challenged by those tapped for jobs in secret and closed processes.

“It has kept Christ out and bigotry in.” asked the Taoiseach about his thoughts on McAleese’s comments during his visit to Washington DC yesterday.

He said:

I believe in two things – I believe in equality between men and women. Whether you are a man or a woman you should be able to aspire to any office or do any job that you want to do.
At the same time I also believe in the separation of Church and State and in the same way it wasn’t right in times gone by for the Church to try and make the State’s rules, I don’t think it is right for the State to try and make the Church’s rules either.
I do believe in that separation, it can’t be à la carte – you can’t believe it when it suits you and not when you don’t so while I don’t agree with the Catholic Church’s policy towards women, the exclusion of women from the priesthood, for example, I don’t think it is the role of the State to tell any religion what rules it should make.’s political reporter Christina Finn will be bringing you all the latest updates from Leo Varadkar’s visit to Washington this week, including his meeting with US President Donald Trump on Thursday.

Stay up-to-date by following @ChristinaFinn8@TJ_Politics  and’s Facebook page.   

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