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I've Catholic guilt over my marriage split, admits Mary


Mary Kennedy. Photo: RTE

Mary Kennedy. Photo: RTE

Mary Kennedy. Photo: RTE

RTE star Mary Kennedy has revealed the "Catholic guilt" she still feels over her marriage split.

The Nationwide host was married to journalist Ronan Foster for 13 years, before they divorced in 2005.

Having in the past described the pain of the break-up with Foster, with whom she has four children, as "gut-wrenching", she revealed how she continues to feel "guilt" eight years later.

"Yes, lots of guilt. Catholic guilt I suppose. But I don't necessarily mean that in religious terms. That's the way we were raised – with Catholic guilt.

"I suppose I regret, and I don't want to make a big thing out of this because my children are still here, I regret the fact that I don't think anybody walks up the aisle of a church to get married wanting anything other than it would last for a lifetime.

"It doesn't always and it didn't for me. That's regrettable," Mary told the RTE Guide.

Although the 56-year-old likes "Mass and visiting holy places", she described herself as an "a la carte Catholic"

She said: "I wouldn't have time for the big hats and ceremonies and certainly wouldn't condone what has happened in recent times."

However she has strong views on the role of women in the Church.

"There should definitely be women priests. I don't think that it will be in my lifetime but I think that the Church will be greatly enhanced by women having a much more central role," she said.

Brought up in Clondalkin, west Dublin, she was the first in her family to go to university after she found out she was entitled to a council grant.

But she admits that UCD, where she studied Irish and French, felt like "another planet".

"I never felt entitled. There were people there whose parents were very academic and well off and I thought I didn't fit in.

"Even when I applied for a job in RTE, I told nobody. Not my father or my mother. Nobody.

"We were not well-rounded and confident young people in those days. And you weren't encouraged to be either," she said.