Arguments Against Women Priests Will 'Fall Away' - McAleese

Former president Mary Mc Aleese has criticised the Catholic Church

FORMER Irish president Mary McAleese has denounced the Catholic Church as "an empire of misogyny", ahead of a conference calling for women to be included in Church decision-making.

"Its leadership has never sought a cure for that virus, though the cure is freely available - its name is equality", she said.

According to the BBC, senior Vatican official Kevin Farrell said it was "not appropriate" for the conference to include the women. "The Catholic Church is one of them", it said. "Women do not have strong role models in the Church they can look up to", while she described the Catholic Church's ban on women priests as "codology dressed up as theology".

McAleese was the key speaker at a symposium of Catholic women called "Why Women Matter", attended by hundreds of people and followed by many others around the world via web-streaming.

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.

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.

Most of those speakers are on record supporting women priests, so their discretion seemed especially striking.

Pope Francis declined to attend the meeting
Pope Francis declined to attend the meeting

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

McAleese's allegation that the church is misogynistic stemmed not only from the lack of women in leadership, but also from their pro-life stance. "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".

McAleese echoed Pope Francis' statements on women theologians.

Ireland's President Mary McAleese, accompanied by her husband Martin McAleese, poses for a picture with orphaned girls during her visit to Tibnin Orphanage, southern Lebanon, October 15, 2011.

Many women, she said, "experience the Church as a male bastion of patronizing platitudes, to which Pope Francis has added his quota".

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.

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

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