Former president Mary McAleese did not use "the language of public debate" when she strongly criticised the upcoming papal synod on the family, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.
In the first public response by a bishop to her controversial remarks this week, Dr Martin took issue with her description as "completely bonkers" Pope Francis's plan to ask "150 male celibates" to review the church's teaching on marriage and family life.
Asked whether he agreed with her comments, the archbishop said: "I don't. I will be at the synod. I have been at other synods. There will be lots of married people at the synod. The bishops are the formal delegates but there will be lots of married people there.
"The language isn't the language of public debate but I know and respect Mary McAleese very much."
The archbishop was speaking to The Irish Times at the formal announcement of a new multifaith teacher training school at DCU. The event was also attended by Dr Martin McAleese, the chancellor of DCU, and the husband of the former president.
In a public interview at UCD on Monday, Ms McAleese said there was "just something profoundly wrong and skewed" about the nature of church consultation of the family.