AN IRISH priest has compared the Catholic Church to the Taliban due to the way each organisation treats women.
Fr Roy Donavan, who is based in Co. Limerick, spoke out in response to a statement from the Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy.
He compared the "negative attitudes" towards women from the Taliban to their exclusion from "the hierarchial (patriarchial) structures" of the Church.
Bishop Leahy had issued the statement titled 'Change taking shape as greater lay involvement in the Church emerges', which prompted Fr Donovan's response.
He suggested that the call by the Bishop for men over 35 to become deacons in the diocese would be a "return to the dark ages".
"In recent weeks we have learned of the Taliban's negative attitudes to women in Afghanistan, that of exclusion from education and the public domain," the priest said.
"In the Catholic Church, women are excluded from the hierarchical (patriarchal) structures - no man can be ordained a deacon, priest, bishop, cardinal or pope.
"Women are excluded from leadership, governance and decision-making in the Church. Women have no vote in the upcoming Bishops' Synod 2023 on Synodality.
"The Catholic Church at many levels, like the Taliban, treats women as second-class citizens.
He added that a move towards male deacons "raises questions about having a meaningful Synod in the Irish Church", according to the Limerick Leader.
In calling for action, he said: "Men in every diocese in Ireland and throughout the world should join in solidarity with women and refuse the male Diaconate."