Tuesday 16 October 2018

Eilis O'Hanlon: Is it really so strange that the Vatican remains fervently Catholic?

Former President Mary McAleese's right to slap down the Catholic church was defended by some equally rigid ideologues, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Former President Mary McAleese.
Former President Mary McAleese.

Eilis O'Hanlon

The Pope's visit to Ireland this summer should be cancelled in retaliation for the banning of former President Mary McAleese from a conference at the Vatican.

That, at least, was being said in some quarters when news broke of her exclusion from the event - organised, ironically, by a group seeking to empower women to get "a seat at the table of decision making in the Catholic church".

Last week, the conference took place at a venue in Rome outside the Holy See, allowing Mrs McAleese to participate - but tempers have continued to rise, stoked both by the language that she used during the event, and also by a mawkish patriotic fervour determined to take umbrage at any criticism of our beloved ex-President. The Taoiseach has upped the nationalistic rhetoric when it comes to the North. Now it seems some people want to open a second front against the Vatican too.

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