McAleese Keynote Speech Blocked By Vatican For Pro LGBT+ Views

The 'Why Women Matter' conference has been forced to move outside of the Vatican following objections to Dr McAleese led by Dublin-born cardinal Kevin Farrell.

mcaleese stands in the middle of a church

In an attempt to block former Irish President Mary McAleese from giving a keynote address, Dublin-born cardinal Kevin Farrell has forced the organisers of the ‘Why Women Matter’ conference to move the event outside of the Vatican.

McAleese was due to address the 2018 ‘Voices of Faith’ conference on International Women’s Day within the Vatican, where it has historically always taken place.

Through correspondence seen by the Irish Independent, it is believed that the stand-off occurred due to cardinal Farrell’s objection to three speakers, including Dr McAleese, who have pro-LGBT+ rights views.

Despite efforts to find a resolution, which included getting Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin to mediate, the organisers were unable to make the cardinal change his mind.

Dr McAleese has been an advocate of LGBT+ rights for over 40 years. Two days before the marriage referendum, she gave an empowered speech where she shared her reasons for voting Yes saying:

“We, the majority, have to make it happen for them and for all the unborn gay children who are relying on us to end the branding, end the isolation, end the inequality, literally once and for all.”

She has also previously spoken about how her gay son Justin, who is a practising catholic, was bullied because he was gay.

Justin McAleese pictured with his mother, former President Mary McAleese, at a bridge dedication in 2013.

She said that Justin endured “torture” when he discovered the church’s teachings on homosexuality.


Barring Women’s Voices

Chantal Götz, the executive director of the Catholic philanthropic Fidel Götz Foundation, refused to cater to the cardinals demands and so his disapproval forced the event to relocate to Jesuit Aula in Rome.

“The list of speakers required approval from Cardinal Farrell,” Ms Götz, who is based in Liechtenstein, told the Irish Independent. “He sent the list of names back to me with those names to which he gave permission. Mary McAleese and two others were not on it.”

In correspondence, Ms Götz described the Cardinal’s failure to respond to her efforts to compromise and “barring” women’s voices as “unacceptable”.

Invitations have been sent to Pope Francis and a number of cardinals to attend the conference. A spokesperson for the Vatican told the Irish Independent “the event was “not a Vatican conference” and suggested that questions should be directed to the organisers.”

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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