Economy

McAleese attacks 'misogyny' of church in women's day speech

McAleese attacks 'misogyny' of church in women's day speech

Former Irish president Mary McAleese has urged the pope to visit Newry in the wake of a sex abuse scandal, as well as attacking the Catholic church over its "codology dressed up as theology".

"The Catholic Church is one of the last great bastions of misogyny", Mrs McAleese said during a press conference.

McAleese, who supports gay marriage and the ordination of women as priests, said the church's ban on a female priesthood had "locked women out of any significant role in the church's leadership, doctrinal development and authority structure", reported Reuters. A Catholic Church that is "homophobic and anti-abortion is not the Church of the future", McAleese said, according to BBC. The church's position on keeping women in a subordinate role to men had "kept Christ out and bigotry in", the report quoted McAleese as saying.

Pope Francis repeatedly has affirmed that verdict, insisting that John Paul II closed the door on the question of women priests and it's not going to be reopened.

She was speaking ahead of a "Voices of Faith" conference to mark International Women's Day.

The line-up represented at the conference reflects numerous progressive-minded Catholic feminist voices who have been leading the charge for women's ordination for the last several decades.

Many in the audience were nuns, who cheered on the speakers who demanded more rights for women in the Church.

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"I can not be bothered arguing".

A release for the event had said: "Warry understands the tragedy that can happen when the Church excludes persecuted groups rather than joining them in seeking protection, dignity and justice".

Over the past four years, the conference was held at the Casina Pio IV within the Vatican City State, home to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and Voices of Faith originally planned to hold this year's women's event there as well.

In effect, McAleese said, a strategic choice has been made to call the system's bluff, given that women priests are off the table. "Get it going. Put the fuel in the engine!"

"We don't want to be what the Pope describes as "the strawberry on the cake", she said".

McAleese, who was president between 1997 and 2011, will speak today at the annual "Voices of Faith" conference on Catholic women's rights in Rome for International Women's Day.

"Start the process", she said.


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