TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has said that he does not agree with the Catholic Church’s treatment of women.
Speaking in Washington DC yesterday, the leader of the country also said that he doesn’t think the State should tell any religion what rules it should make, and vice versa.
Varadkar’s comments come a week after former President Mary McAleese labelled the Catholic Church as an “empire of misogyny”.
Speaking at a conference in Rome, she called for the ban on women becoming priests to be lifted and for Pope Francis to address gender inequality within the Church.
She said: “Failure to include women as equals has deprived the Church of fresh and innovative discernment; it has consigned it to recycled thinking among a hermetically sealed cosy male clerical elite flattered and rarely challenged by those tapped for jobs in secret and closed processes.
“It has kept Christ out and bigotry in.”
During his visit to Washington DC, a reporter from TheJournal.ie questioned the Taoiseach on his response to McAleese’s comments.
Varadkar said: “I believe in two things – I believe in equality between men and women. Whether you are a man or a woman you should be able to aspire to any office or do any job that you want to do.
“At the same time I also believe in the separation of Church and State and in the same way it wasn’t right in times gone by for the Church to try and make the State’s rules, I don’t think it is right for the State to try and make the Church’s rules either.
“I do believe in that separation, it can’t be a la carte – you can’t believe it when it suits you and not when you don’t so while I don’t agree with the Catholic Church’s policy towards women, the exclusion of women from the priesthood, for example, I don’t think it is the role of the State to tell any religion what rules it should make.”