Former Irish President Calls Catholic Church An 'Empire Of Misogyny'

Gladys Abbott
March 11, 2018

In previous years this Catholic women's movement has celebrated International Women's Day by meeting inside the Vatican, but this year their list of 2018 speakers did not meet with official approval.

She argued: "The Catholic Church is one of the last great bastions of misogyny".

A Church that is "homophobic and anti-abortion is not the Church of the future", McAleese told participants in the conference, which was organized by the Catholic protest group Voices of Faith and hosted at the world headquarters of the Jesuit order in Rome. She criticised the church's "man-made toxins of misogyny, of homophobia, to say nothing of shameful antisemitism, with their legacy of damaged and wasted lives and deeply embedded institutional dysfunction".

Last week, a Vatican magazine denounced widespread exploitation of nuns for cheap or free labor in the Roman Catholic Church, saying the male hierarchy should stop treating them like lowly servants.

McAleese lamented the lack of leadership roles available to women in the church, and said female Catholics do not have strong role models to look up to. "Get it going. Put the fuel in the engine!"

In her address, the Belfast-born lawyer said that if the pope comes to Ireland in August, he should add Newry to his itinerary due to the clerical child sex abuse allegations which led to Bishop John McAreavey standing down. "There are many, many other possibilities that are open, so why not push for that?"

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McAleese was Irish president between 1997 and 2011 and supports gay marriage and the ordination of women as priests.

McAleese echoed Pope Francis' statements on women theologians.

Among those other possibilities, Götz mentioned adding laity, including women, to various Vatican commissions and councils, such as the "C9" council of cardinals who advise the pope, and also revising the Vatican's human resources approach to ensure that women have opportunities to contribute based on their "skills and formation".

McAleese suggested that moving past the priesthood debate is largely a matter of strategy, not substance.

If you love binging on films and TV, you're going to love this. However, it's a question that nearly certainly won't go away - and, this time, repeating the teaching of Inter Insigniores and Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, by itself, won't supply an answer.

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