Friday 20 July 2018

'I believe in allowing women to become priests' - Taoiseach weighs in on unholy row between Josepha Madigan and Archbishop

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Frank McGrath
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Frank McGrath
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has backed one of his ministers who is engaged in an unholy row with the Archbishop of Dublin, saying women should be allowed become priests.

Asked about dispute between Culture Minister Josepha Madigan and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Taoiseach responded by saying he has a "very interesting and diverse cabinet".

"According to the papers anyway, [Children's Minister] Katherine Zappone has practiced witchcraft in the past and now Minister Madigan is saying Mass. I'm not sure if either of those things are quite true," he said.

The Church versus State row developed after Ms Madigan stepped up to lead prayers at her south Dublin church last Saturday when a priest failed to show up.

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan led prayer at the Church of St Therese in Mount Merrion, Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath
Culture Minister Josepha Madigan led prayer at the Church of St Therese in Mount Merrion, Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath

Speaking afterwards, she warned that the shortage of priests means the Catholic Church will have to embrace the idea of ordaining women. She also advocated allowing priests to marry.

Her comments were met with a strong response from the Archbishop, who has denied there is any shortage of priests.

“Her expressed view that a mix up in a Dublin parish on one particular Saturday evening should lead to the Universal Church changing core teachings is bizarre,” Archbishop Martin said.

He went on to advice the Minister to consider “listening to the voices of those people who disagree with her public comments” and “the hurt she has caused to parishioners who deem her actions deeply disrespectful”.

Mr Varadkar told reporters today that he has spoken with somebody who attended the service to get a first hand version of events.

"I think what she did was a very nice thing and I believe she received a round of applause for doing so," Mr Varadkar said.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

"As regards female priests, I believe in equality in all things and equality in the workplace. That would include priests to marry and allowing women to become priests.

"I also strongly believe in the separation of Church and State so that is not something the Government is going to be legislating about," he said.

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