The Catholic Church is "an empire of misogyny" and must reform its traditionalist outlook if it wants to stay relevant, former Irish President Mary McAleese has claimed. "I'm just too old to be bothered anymore". "It's an empire of misogyny", she said. Those calling for women priests say he was only following the norms of his time.
What radical, innovative, strategic ideas do you have for their inclusion while being excluded for priesthood?
Chantal Götz, managing director of Voices of Faith, echoed the sentiment.
As regards Pope Francis, she said, "The hopes that I had for him and about him and about the church that he might help us to create, dwindled into disappointment".
Among those other possibilities, Götz mentioned adding laity, including women, to various Vatican commissions and councils, such as the "C9" council of cardinals who advise the pope, and also revising the Vatican's human resources approach to ensure that women have opportunities to contribute based on their "skills and formation". "The cake of the church is flattening, because women are walking away in droves".
Meanwhile Mrs McAleese's son said he thinks people will find it hard to stomach that she was initially "silenced and banned" from speaking at the conference, which was to be held in the Vatican City, where it has taken place in previous years, but was moved to the Aula of the Jesuit Curia in Rome after the Holy See refused to give approval to Mrs McAleese and two other speakers.
McAleese suggested that moving past the priesthood debate is largely a matter of strategy, not substance. "Either it will become a large and largely irrelevant cult or sect, or it will do what Christ intended, flood the world with the capacity for healing and for love", she said. And that's the question they have not answered.