Former President Mary McAleese said she cannot go to the World Meeting of Families when the Pope visits Ireland in August, as it does not include LGBTI people.
She said: “[The] World Meeting Of Families, here was he [the Pope] saying it was for all God’s family no matter what you believe, no matter what your set of circumstances, whether you’re LGBTI, whether you’re divorced and remarried, whether you’re like Martin and I, a heterosexual couple married for 45 years, living the life, living the dream now, having the kids reared, whatever your circumstances you’re welcome.
“And if you’re like us a family with two heterosexual children and one homosexual son who’s married to his husband, you’re in, you’re members of God’s family, come along. I just thought this was so exciting. I was riveted by it. Then somebody else put a hand on that and it was pulled back.”
Mrs McAleese was speaking in Meath last night at the centenary celebrations of the Society of Missionaries of St Columban’s, where she described the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality as “evil” because it leads to homophobia, which “ruins” people’s lives.
Commenting on the Meeting of World Families, going from a potentially inclusive event to an exclusive one, she said her family no longer feels wanted there.
She said: “Suddenly we were in the hands of a Church that is exclusive, that holds on to that book of laws and hits you over the head with it, uses it to exclude some and only include the chosen and I lost faith in it then and I was heartbroken for the children that I have, that can’t go now, who feel they are not wanted because we feel not wanted and I think that’s a pity because it could have been and still could be so great if they had got their message right.”
She also said that the current Pope is no different to any of his predecessors when it comes to gender equality within the church.
“He’s a disappointment in relation to women,” said Mrs McAleese. “I may just say that right out. He’s no different to any other pope on women. He’s made a few more appointments, but really? Seriously? You know they increased visibility not voice.”
Mrs McAleese also said that when it comes to the “issue of women in the Church”, this is where “the curial, magisterial Church is so far behind the curve it is embarrassing”.
She added that arguments against the ordination of women as priests were “ultimately untenable”.
Ms McAleese also stated that the proliferation of free education in Ireland from the late 1960s changed the “thinking landscape” and the “confidence landscape” whereby obedience to the Catholic Church was no longer the status quo.
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