Mary McAleese brands Catholic teaching on homosexuality 'evil'

Former Irish President Mary McAleese has warned that the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality is "evil."

Mrs McAleese will be taking part in tomorrow’s Dublin Pride Parade.

The two-term President was speaking at an event in Navan, County Meath this afternoon.

In a wide-ranging talk, she also said arguments against women in the priesthood are "untenable” – and labelled Pope Francis a disappointment when it comes to women’s rights.

She remains a practising Catholic, but she views the church’s teaching on homosexuality as another dark chapter in the church’s history.

“The Catholic church’s teaching on homosexuality is in my view evil,” she said.

“It conduces to homophobia; homophobia is evil; it ruins people’s lives, it has ruined families lives, it has caused people to commit suicide, it has caused people to live in dark shadows, so unsure of themselves."

The Irish Government last week apologised to gay men who had been criminalised for homosexual acts – as recently as 25 years ago.

Highlighting the experiences of her son Justin McAleese, a married gay man, she said the church has a lot to answer for.

“He used to rush out in the morning; he was the first out to mass, loved being an altar boy, loved the church; loved the magic and the mystique of it.

“And then to discover when he was in his teens that that same church has a view on him which is inimical to the way god made him and to retreat into the shadows of self doubt, of misery, of being really frightened."

“That is un-Christian; that is worse than uncharitable in my view; that has to stop.

“The only person who can actually stop that, strangely enough, is the Pope.”

On the issue of women in the priesthood, the former president said the church is “so far behind the curve that it is embarrassing.”

She said she has great difficulty with the idea that the prohibition is a “matter of infallible doctrine” – noting that it was never declared as such by the Pope, but rather was decided by consensus of the College of Bishops around the world.

“That is what our church taught and we have to be big enough and generous enough and also honest enough to say that we got a lot of things wrong,” she said.

“That our church got a lot of things wrong and in saying that then we must struggle to get them right.”

The 35th annual Pride Parade takes place in Dublin tomorrow – speeches begin at 12pm with the parade making its way across the city from 2pm.


More on this topic

In God’s name? The politicisation of religion and potentially deadly consequences

Baptist group refused permission to use shed as chapel

A New Year message from church leaders

Holy water flown from Clare well to ill child in America

More in this Section

Schoolchildren protesting in Belfast over climate change warn time for action is running out

Taoiseach: Anyone hoping EU Brexit solidarity will falter in for nasty surprise

'We don't have enough funds to support them' - Irish Cancer Society can't afford life-saving research

'Love triangle' trial: Court hears how parts of concrete slab fell into tank where victim's body lay


Lifestyle

HIIT found to be ‘better for weight loss’ – here are 4 hybrid classes you need to try

TV presenter Liz Bonnin on how shopping sustainably can help take care of the planet

Irish gin is growing in popularity – 4 great distilleries to visit

Love in the air for Post Malone's Valentine's show

More From The Irish Examiner