| 13.6°C Dublin

Keeping the faith

• She comes on prime-time radio to let us know that she has left the Catholic Church because it will not ordain women. She can no longer tolerate the inequality of it all. So many women were so ill-treated, apparently. Well, welcome to the real world, Olivia O'Leary.

I used to believe in equality. I used to think it was something I had and that existed to greater or lesser extents for all men and women. And then I got pregnant and the sham of society was opened wide for me. Men and women get sick, so the concept of sick pay pervades all employment. Only women get pregnant, so guess what? Almost no employer pays female employees while they are away from work after giving birth to a child. Lovely, eh!

But back to the Catholic Church -- if it was a golf club or some sort of secular association I might think Olivia's argument held water, but the Catholic, or Roman Catholic, Church is none of those things.

It offers something entirely different and it offers it in a really flawed fashion, which you would have to be a member of either the intelligentsia or 'theologentsia' to defend. But in the middle of all this nonsense, there is something in the Catholic Church that is not available anywhere else -- not in any Protestant church and not in nature. It's Jesus in the Eucharist -- and I love Jesus in the Eucharist! So even though this church has had its control usurped by men, no man can come between me and Jesus.

And I think Olivia is being unfair to men -- ordination of women may or may not be an issue, but a more fundamental problem is the fact that power in the Roman Catholic Church has been usurped by the clergy and they all happen to be men. Lay men are just as discriminated against as lay women.

There are lots of things that I wish were different in the Catholic Church but I can't walk away from it on prime-time radio because it's only in the Catholic Church that I have access to Jesus -- body, blood, soul and divinity, in the Eucharist.

The only way I can change the Catholic Church is by being in it, so that's what I'm going to try and do.

And I'm doing it for the men and the women and the children; and I'm doing it because I love Jesus, especially in the Eucharist.

Mary Barber
Grangebeg, Dunlavin,
Co Wicklow

Irish Independent