Tipperary cleric backs call for women priests

Tipperary cleric backs call for women priests

A Tipperary priest has come out in support of former president Mary McAleese who told a conference in Rome that it is time to bring down the walls of misogyny in the Catholic Church.

Glen of Aherlow native Fr. Iggy O'Donovan, an Augustinian priest based in Fethard, hit out at the attempt to censor Mary McAleese and voiced his backing for the ordination of women to the priesthood.

Fr. O'Donovan  said he spoke out on the issue because he was against the attempt to censor Mary McAleese  in Rome on International Women’s Day “no matter what the issue was”.

The Fethard based Augustinian priest said she was a hugely popular former head of state  and as an Irish citizen he resented the “mean snub” directed to her by the church.

He applauded Mrs McAleese for speaking out at the conference, normally held in the Vatican, but moved to another location in Rome after church figures called for Mrs McAleese, and two other speakers, to be excluded.

Fr. O'Donovan said he was in favour of the ordination of women to the priesthood.

“It is not going to happen in my lifetime but I cannot see why it should not happen.I support Mary McAleese  in her call for women to be ordained  and her right to express that view” he said. 

“She is highly qualified in canon law and theology. If it came to a boxing match  most bishops would not be able to lay a glove on her in theology” he said.

Former president  McAleese  told  the “Voices of Faith”  conference in Rome that the Catholic Church has become a "primary global carrier of the toxic virus of misogyny", "The time for change is now" she told the conference hitting out at  "ludicrous" antiquated church systems, which render women "invisible and voiceless" .

The annual 'Voices of Faith' conference is traditionally held in the Vatican itself.

However, it moved to another location in Rome  this year after  Cardinal Kevin Farrell  requested that three gay rights campaigners, including Mrs McAleese, be excluded from the programme.

Cardinal Farrell, a Dubliner,  is the Vatican official with responsibility for co-ordinating efforts around the World Meeting of Families 2018 in Dublin next August,which will include a visit by Pope Francis.