Vatican an 'empire of misogyny': McAleese

Mary McAleese slams Catholic Church over treatment of women

Mary McAleese slams Catholic Church over treatment of women

The Pope refused to attend a Catholic International Women's Day event and the Vatican refused to host it - because one of the speakers is a lesbian.

They also excluded Tina Beattie, an English Catholic professor of theology.

Strikingly, however, at a Wednesday news conference in Rome to present the latest "Voices of Faith" gathering, taking place today at the general headquarters of the Jesuit order, six women from different parts of the world spent roughly an hour prior to taking questions from the media laying out their frustrations, critiques, and dreams regarding the Church's treatment of women, without ever uttering the word "priest" - and without making even an indirect allusion to the debate over priesthood.

She said: "A Church that is homophobic and anti-abortion is not the church of the future".

Former Irish President Mary McAleese called the Catholic Church an "Empire of Misogyny" while speaking in Rome ahead of the Voices of Faith conference.

Speaking to reporters in Rome, Mrs McAleese said: "There are so few leadership roles now available to women".

To say that the Catholic Church, at least at the level of public impressions, has a "women problem" is hardly a novel insight.

His comments come after Mrs McAleese said the Catholic Church is an "an empire of misogyny".

"Our voices stir the winds of change, so we must speak out", she added. Women theologians "are the strawberry on the cake", the pope told a Vatican theological commission in 2014 and that he believes there should be more female representation on the committee and in the church at large.

A release from the event made the church aware of the dangers of leaving out minority opinions in religious discussion.

The statement also added that the Church needs to assess its stance on equality.

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

"The crises we must confront in our world today demand leaders, women and men, who are prepared to think the unthinkable and who will risk upsetting powerful vested interests and take bold steps forward for the greater good. Women do not have strong role models in the Church they can look up to". Can this tragic dysfunction really be what God wants? "I think of the irony there, I don't think it's lost on people".

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