McAleese slams Vatican for 'codology dressed up as theology'

McAleese slams Vatican for 'codology dressed up as theology'

Former president Mary McAleese has described the Catholic Church as "an empire of misogyny", ahead of a conference calling for women to be included in Church decision-making.

She said the Church's ban on a female priesthood had "locked women out of any significant role in the Church's leadership, doctrinal development and authority structure".

Speaking on Today with Sean O' Rourke, Justin McAleese said his mother is committed to the Catholic Church, and she is a product of the Catholic education system.

"Today's Catholic church lags noticeably behind advanced nations in the elimination of the discrimination against women - a disgrace for an organisation which..."

A Church that is "homophobic and anti-abortion is not the Church of the future", McAleese told participants in the conference, which was organized by the Catholic protest group Voices of Faith and hosted at the world headquarters of the Jesuit order in Rome.

The annual conference is traditionally held in the Vatican, but is moving to a different location in Rome after a conservative United States cardinal demanded that three gay rights activists including McAleese be excluded from the event.

Pope Francis repeatedly has affirmed that verdict, insisting that John Paul II closed the door on the question of women priests and it's not going to be reopened.

The line-up represented at the conference reflects numerous progressive-minded Catholic feminist voices who have been leading the charge for women's ordination for the last several decades.

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Many in the audience were nuns who cheered speakers demanding a greater role for women in the church.

"I'm not even going to be bothered arguing it".

The Church, she said, "has kept Christ out and kept bigotry in".

Ms. McAleese, who served as the President of Ireland from 1997 until 2011, is a practicing Catholic and has supported rights for same sex-couples throughout her career.

Speaking at the Foreign Press Association in Rome, she criticised the "patronising platitudes that we have heard from a succession of popes and cardinals" about women.

Traditionally, the conference is held in the Vatican but is moving to a different location in Rome this year following remarks from a conservative USA cardinal who requested that three gay rights campaigners, including Mrs McAleese, be excluded from the programme.

The pope has promised to put more women in senior positions in the Vatican but critics say he is moving too slowly.

"Let's move on strategically now", she said.

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