Mary McAleese and the Vatican


Sir, – The Vatican is right to exclude Mary McAleese. She has shown a dangerous record of clear thinking, sharp analysis, deep humanity and, most worrying of all, the honesty to call things as they are.

Such people pose a clear and present threat to much that the Vatican embodies, even under the present, apparently more benign, regime.– Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – Should our esteemed ex-president be henceforth dubbed “Saint Mary Outside the Walls”? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – Mary McAleese may have allowed herself to be placed in the position of being vetoed with full anticipation and knowledge of the likely outcome as part of a strategy to shine a spotlight on the errant ways of the Roman Catholic Church.

The underlying rationale as to why Mary McAleese gives such attention to and spends so much energy on that organisation is an indication that indoctrination from a very young age cannot easily be undone by education. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 12.

Sir, – I am at a loss to understand why Mary McAleese together with Zuzanna Radzik and Ssenfuka Joanita Warry were barred from the “Why Women Matter” conference due to be held in the Holy See. Three eminent women who through their own experience of life, study and witness have something of value to say to us. It seems that their inclusion as speakers was opposed by Cardinal Kevin Farrell – prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

Are we now so closed as a church that we are unable to listen, to hear, to learn from and indeed maybe at times disagree with the voices and experience of others?

It is worth reminding us that the official prayer for the upcoming World Meeting of Families includes the following words: “We are brothers and sisters in Jesus your Son, one family, in the Spirit of Love . . . Make us patient and kind, gentle and generous, welcoming to those in need. Help us to live your forgiveness and peace.”

This recent decision coming from the Holy See is somewhat removed from these sentiments. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6W.

Sir, – Mary Morrissey (February 3rd) has a point when she lays the blames at the feet of Mary McAleese for not confirming that she would find a welcome in the Vatican. Dr McAleese should obviously have dropped a note to Cardinal Farrell checking that he believes in Christ’s message of love. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – Such a long-standing bastion of misogyny as the Vatican is unlikely to yield ground anytime soon.

Nonetheless, this is hardly a very astute move in light of the global movement for gender equality and Pope Francis’s pending visit, which will be paid for in part by the women of Ireland’s taxes, not to mention those of disaffected Catholics, all religions and none.

However, it is heartening to see the conference organisers’ spirited response to the ban. It must be unnerving for the Vatican to have revolting women on their doorstep preparing to storm the citadel. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 18.