Mary McAleese says she wouldn't become a cardinal if offered the role
Former president Mary McAleese has said she would not become a cardinal of the Catholic Church, even if she was offered the title.
Ms McAleese, who has studied theology, raised the circumstances of women in the church, when asked if she would take on such a role.
"It’s a very bad suggestion," she said, speaking at the National Library as part of the Inspiration Proclamation series on the 1916 Proclamation. “Not one that is ever, ever likely to be fulfilled.”
Ms McAleese, who was president from 1997 to 2011, was being interviewed by veteran journalist, broadcaster and historian John Bowman who pressed her on the matter.
“Are you saying you’d turn it down?” he asked.
“Absolutely, on the principal that when you have 600 million women thirsting – half of the Catholic Church is women, so there are 1.2 billion – so 600 million women.
“If you’re thirsting in the desert, you know 600 million of you, I think giving a glass of red wine to one woman, it’s really rather inadequate,” Mc McAleese said, to applause from the crowd of more than 100.
And she joked: “Anyway, the clothes. How would you ever compete? Couldn’t do it.”
During the talk, the fourth in a series that has previously included Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, historian Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, writer Roddy Doyle and novelist Edna O’Brien, she also rejected the idea that the leaders of the Easter Rising wanted to establish a Catholic republic.
"I don't see it as a Catholic rising," she said.