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RC family Synod fails nappy test for McAleese

20 June 2014


Representatives?:  Pope Francis leads an extraordinary consistory on eh family, at the Vatican, in February 

Representatives?:  Pope Francis leads an extraordinary consistory on eh family, at the Vatican, in February 

THE former Irish President Mary McAleese, who is studying canon law in Rome, has described as "completely bonkers" a decision by Pope Francis to call a synod of bishops to ascertain whether the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on the family are up to date.

Speaking at University College, Dublin, on Monday, where she received the university's highest award, the Ulysses Medal, Mrs McAleese said that asking 150 male celibates to review the Church's position on the subject of family life was profoundly wrong and skewed.

"The very idea of 150 people who have decided they are not going to have any children, not going to have families, not going to be fathers, and not going to be spouses, so they have no adult experience of family life as the rest of us know it, but they are going to advise the Pope on family life - it is completely bonkers," she said.

She recalled that when presented with a copy of a worldwide questionnaire circulated by the Vatican before the October synod, seeking views on pastoral issues relating to the family, she had responded with a question of her own. "I wrote back and said I've got a much simpler questionnaire, and it's only got one question, and here it is: How many of the men who will gather to advise you as Pope on the family has ever changed a baby's nappy? I regard that as a very, very serious question."

The former President is a Roman Catholic, who, in her first term of office, received communion in Christ Church Cathedral, in Dublin.

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