A VETERAN Irish broadcast journalist has publicly parted ways with the Catholic Church over its refusal to ordain female priests.
Olivia O’Leary, one of Ireland’s best known current affairs presenters, blasted the church on its record of refusal to accept the notion of women priests and celebrated Christmas in Dublin’s Church of Ireland cathedral, St Patrick’s.
The 61-year-old, who was schooled by Catholic nuns and has clergy in her family, has also cited the cover-up of child sex abuse by church authorities as a “proximate factor” in her decision to renounce the Catholic faith.
A former anchor on BBC’s “Newsnight” current affairs flagship program, O’Leary recently used the platform of RTE radio’s “Drivetim” show to announce her decision to part ways with Catholicism, launching a stinging rebuke to the faith’s attitude towards women.
“No longer can I accept a subordinate role; not for myself, not for my daughter, not for my sisters, my nieces or friends,” she told stunned listeners.
Referring to an RTE interview with U.S. Catholic theologian George Weigel, in which he defended the church’s stance on the sex divide, she continued: “At this stage I don’t feel rage so much as weariness.”
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Praising aspects of the Catholic faith, including the liturgy, which she labeled “one of the world’s great art forms.” O’Leary said it had increasingly become an “ethical desert,” comparing it to apartheid era South Africa.
Despite her celebrating Christmas in the Church of Ireland, she made no commitment to officially joining the Irish branch of Anglican faith.
“I can stand tall, because the Church of Ireland, whether I join it or not, accepts my full humanity; it ordains women,” she said.
“Otherwise I’ll celebrate by simply being outside in the wind and the rain, outside in the sunshine walking the world that the creator made for us all equally.”