Mary McAleese barred by Vatican from conference on women

Mary McAleese barred by Vatican from conference on women

Posted by Colm, With 1 Comments, Category: Church News, Church Reform, Latest News, Pope Francis, Women in the Church, Women's Ordination, World Meeting of Families,

Event organisers respond by inviting ex-president to be keynote speaker

Former Irish president Mary McAleese and her husband Martin. File photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Former Irish president Mary McAleese and her husband Martin. File photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The Vatican has barred former President of Ireland Mary McAleese from taking part in a conference to mark International Women’s Day which was originally due to take place in the Holy See.

The list of potential speakers required approval from a cardinal, but Mrs McAleese was not granted permission to participate.

As a result, the organisers have moved the “Why Women Matter” conference on March 8th to premises outside the Vatican, and have also invited Mrs McAleese to be keynote speaker. She had previously been asked to take part in a panel discussion at the event.

The conference was organised by the Voices of Faith group, which is seeking to convince the Vatican that women “have the expertise, skills and gifts to play a full leadership role in the church”.

The inclusion of Mary McAleese and two other speakers on its programme was opposed by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. A Dubliner who spent most of his clerical life in the US, he is the most senior Irishman at the Vatican.

It is understood the other two speakers were Polish theologian Zuzanna Radzik and Ssenfuka Joanita Warry, a lesbian Catholic who is pioneering LGBT rights in Uganda.

Required approval

Chantal Götz, managing director of Voices of Faith, told The Irish Times that the list of speakers required approval from the cardinal.

“Cardinal Farrell sent back to me the list of names who he gave permission(for). Mary McAleese and two others were not on it,” she said. “Unfortunately, unsuccessful efforts were made to have the Cardinal change his mind.”

Rather than exclude the three women, “we decided ourselves to move the conference to a venue outside the Vatican, she said, adding Mrs McAleese was then asked to be the keynote speaker.

Ms Götz said it was the first time she had encountered any issues since the group began organising similar conferences in 2014.

Mrs McAleese declined to comment, saying she is awaiting a reply from Pope Francis to a letter she sent him on the matter.

Cardinal Farrell is the Vatican official with responsibility for co-ordinating efforts around the World Meeting of Families 2018 in Dublin next August, which will include a visit by Pope Francis.

Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times ,

2 February 2018

1 Comments
  1. Date: February 2, 2018
    Author: Con Carroll

    will Cardinal Kevin Farrell call for a investigation into the activities of St John of God order in Malawi. West Africa. 1993 2013. demand that justice with children who were in the care of the order, calling for the order provincial curia in Ireland. to be treated as a front for criminals see Irish mail on Sunday. 21/01/18 28/01/18