Clash over church's attitude to women
SENATORS:Two Senators clashed with Catholic Church representatives over the hierarchy’s attitude to women. Labour Senator Ivana Bacik suggested opposition to legislation on the X case was based on “an underlying belief in the innate deceitfulness of women and misogyny towards women”. However, Fr Tim Bartlett of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference accused her of caricaturing him and said “no woman has ever called me a misogynist”.
Ms Bacik had asked: “where is your compassion for the teenage girls who are victims of rape and become pregnant as a result and are suicidal as a result of that, as we saw in the X case and as we’ve seen subsequently?”
She also asked the representatives “what business is it of a church whose members are entirely and exclusively male and celibate to pronounce in such absolutist terms on such critical issues about the reproductive rights and reproductive health of women and of girls?”
Health committee chairman Jerry Buttimer told Ms Bacik “as a point of clarification” that “the church is made up of both men and women”.
Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White said: “I find it very difficult that men can speak in an extraordinary forthright as if they know everything. How do they know what women feel about if they are raped or abused and become pregnant?”
Fine Gael Senator Imelda Henry queried the church’s response to families who “find themselves in a situation where their daughter has been raped, is pregnant and ... suicidal.”
Bishop Christopher Jones, who set up the crisis pregnancy service Cura in the 1970s, said the agency would “help her enormously through that tragedy and crisis”.