Women and the priesthood
Sir, – Further to recent correspondence on women and the priesthood in the Catholic Church, that all-male celibate power structure is hardly going to act against its self-interest and the laity has no decision-making role. However, for secular society, anti-gender discrimination is enshrined in law, a basic principle which underlies a fair, moral and decent society. Of course the State has to allow religions to discriminate against women in their own structures, as this is a matter for their clerical power-structures and theological beliefs. They have and should have freedom of religious belief.
It does not follow, however, that the State should have to subsidise as well as tolerate discriminatory beliefs.
Perhaps all religions that exercise their right of exemption from anti-discrimination laws should be disqualified from receiving state subsidies by way of the enormous tax advantages that they get? In European Union partner states, such as Germany, these tax subsidies run to billions. Furthermore in Ireland and Britain, the Catholic Church’s all-male power structure controls a substantial proportion of state-funded education. – Yours, etc,