Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Economy | By

Vatican an 'empire of misogyny': McAleese

Vatican an 'empire of misogyny': McAleese

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".

"There are so few leadership roles now available to women", McAleese declared, due to "ludicrous" and antiquated church protocols, which render women "invisible and voiceless" while they are "expected to do all the hard work that keeps the church going".

She said more must be done to increase the number of women in leadership roles and has strongly opposed the Church's position on female priests.

The Pope has tasked a committee to study the role of female assistant priests, or deacons, in early Christianity, but he has also closed the door to female priesthood.

She was speaking ahead of a "Voices of Faith" conference to mark International Women's Day. After a proposed speakers' list was returned from the Vatican missing three of the original names, however, event organizers chose to hold the conference elsewhere so they could participate.

Many in the audience were nuns who cheered speakers demanding a greater role for women in the church. "I'm just too old to be bothered anymore". "It's an empire of misogyny". "They [the hierarchy] have to be put to the pin of their collar, their clerical collar, to explain the radical intuitions, ideas and strategies they're going to achieve".


Speaking at the Foreign Press Association in Rome, she criticised the "patronising platitudes that we have heard from a succession of popes and cardinals" about women.

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

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.

Francis himself has vowed on multiple occasions to explore those possibilities, saying that "the presence of women must be guaranteed in ... the various settings where important decisions are made, both in the Church and in social structures".

"Let's move on strategically now", she said.

"Don't tell us what you're not going to do", she said.

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