‘It’s not right that women can’t give views on Church’

Helen McEntee.

The idea that women cannot publicly give their views on the Catholic Church is not right, a Government minister has said.

Reacting to a row that broke out between Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Culture Minister Josepha Madigan, who suggested women be ordained as priests, Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee said the Church needs to modernise or risk becoming irrelevant.

Ms Madigan also suggested that priests be allowed to marry after she led prayers at her local church when the priest failed to show up.

The Archbishop attended Mass at Ms Madigan’s local church on Saturday, where he apologised to parishioners for the mix-up the previous week.

Archbishop Martin also told Mass-goers that “there are differences and different sensitivities in this and in every community”.

“However, we have to find ways in which divisions can be addressed within the Christian community in ways that are typical of the Christian community, through dialogue, through mutual respect, and where Christian charity always prevails,” he said.

Ms McEntee could not confirm if the issue of female priests will be raised by the Taoiseach when Pope Francis visits Ireland in August.

However, she said:

My own personal view, and as someone who is a Catholic, was baptised, had my confirmation, and was married in a church last year, I think if the Church doesn’t modernise itself, if it doesn’t start closing the gap that is getting wider and wider between society today and the Church and its teachings, then I think, maybe not in my lifetime, but in a very short space of time, it will become less and less relevant to people and I wouldn’t like to see that happen.

“For Josepha who is a eucharistic minister who reads regularly at Mass, who is committed to her Church and her faith, the idea that she couldn’t speak out or make her view known, or that any of us women couldn’t, I don’t think is right.”

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