It's time for equality in the Catholic church
The recent controversy surrounding TD Josepha Madigan has served to once again raise the issue of the role of women in the Catholic church.
After Ms Madigan stepped in to read at her parish church when Mass did not go ahead because of a mix-up in assigning a priest, she and other parishioners read the planned readings for the congregation.
The move sparked huge controversy and ever since, there has been a tit-for-tat in the media about the role of women.
The TD was singled out because she had a public profile, but used the situation as a platform to discuss the role of women in the church, which some priests found unacceptable.
Change is long overdue in this regard. The church is forever speaking about inclusion and equality amongst the flock, yet there is no such thing where women are concerned. As a disgruntled member of the public said in reaction on RTÉ news, 'women are good enough to clean the churches and arrange the flowers, and that's it'.
While this may not be entirely true there is no doubt that women play an inferior role in terms of decision making as they have been prevented from being ordained.
Allowing women to become priests would be a breath of fresh air for the church and would certainly encourage more people back into the fold.
As it was outlined by a priest in the wake of Ms Madigan's comments, nobody is forcing anybody to be Catholic, and while this is true, there is no doubt that the flock is dwindling and unless some pretty momentous changes are made, there will be no coming back.
The evidence is plain to see, in every parish church in the country.
The congregation is older and while many people are baptising babies and getting married in the church, they aren't playing as active a role as they might once have.
The levels of young Irish men seeking Holy Orders is at an all time low, and while this alone is not a reason to allow women to become ordained, surely is the wake-up call needed to address the imbalance that exists.
Women have so much to offer, and regardless of gender, anyone who is willing to devote their lives to religious life, and endure all the sacrifices that go with it, should be welcomed with open arms.
New Ross Standard