Wednesday 17 January 2018

Priest hits back at McAleese over 'bonkers' attack

Fr Vincent Twomey
Fr Vincent Twomey
Mary McAleese with her husband Martin. Photo: Jason Clarke Photography

Sarah MacDonald

A LEADING theologian has criticised Mary McAleese's claim that the Pope's synod is "bonkers" saying her comments were "not in keeping with what you would expect from an ex president".

The retired professor of moral theology at St Patrick's College in Maynooth, Fr Vincent Twomey, rejected Mary McAleese's hard hitting criticisms, saying they were "not serious comments".

Ms McAleese made headlines earlier this week when she criticised the Catholic Church's forthcoming synod on the family, in Rome.

On Monday, Dr McAleese dismissed the synod as "bonkers" because the views of celibate bishops would be canvassed.

She said there was "something profoundly wrong and skewed" about asking "150 male celibates" to review the Catholic Church's teaching on family life.

Speaking to the Irish Independent Fr Twomey, a former student of the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, said the language used was "not in keeping with what you would expect from an ex president."

Asked to respond to Fr Twomey's rebuke, Dr McAleese told the Irish Independent that she didn't think his comments merited a response.

Dr McAleese made her comments during the 2014 Bloomsday Conversation at UCD, in a wide-ranging discussion after receiving the Ulysses medal.


During the conversation, she said: "The very idea of 150 people who have decided they are not going to have any children, not going to have families, not going to be fathers and not going to be spouses – so they have no adult experience of family life – but they are going to advise the Pope on family life; it is completely bonkers."

She hit out at the lack of transparency over the filling of senior roles in the Vatican. She went on to suggest that the Church didn't need a new theology of women, "you just need to end the old boys' club".

While Dr McAleese expressed the hope that the October synod would be "a process of real introspection and debate", she said she had not yet moved "from hope to expectation".

The former head of state said she responded to the Vatican's questionnaire on the family by asking: "How many of the men who will gather to advise you as Pope on the family have ever changed a baby's nappy?

"I regard that as a very, very serious question," she said.

A spokesman for the Irish bishops told the Irish Independent: "It would be premature for the Catholic Communications Office in Ireland to respond to specific critiques from individuals at this time."

However, Martin Long highlighted that "thousands" of Irish Catholics had responded to the global questionnaire on the pastoral challenges to the family.

He also pointed out that these responses were being used in the preparations for October's Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome.

Irish Independent

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