Mary McAleese has submitted a letter to Pope Francis asking him to remove what she considers “offensive sexist material” from a Vatican website.
The former president referred specifically to a document which appears on the website of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, a department created by Pope Francis in 2016 with the mission of promoting the lay faithful, the pastoral care of the family and “the protection and support of the human life”.
The document titled On women’s clothing was written in 230 AD by Tertullian, a prolific Christian writer and the first father of Catholicism. In it, he blames women for all of humanity’s wrongs, including the death of Jesus Christ.
In the text, he refers to women as “the devil’s door: you are the unsealer of this [forbidden] tree: you are the first deserter of divine law: you are the one who persuaded him that the devil was not brave enough to attack. You destroyed God’s image so easily, man. Because of your desert, that is to say your death, even the Son of God had to die.
According to a report in irish weatherDr. McAleese submitted the letter Sept. 6 requesting “urgent clarification of offensive sexist material published by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.”
Noting that Pope Francis is “at the beginning of the implementation of [his] great curial reform”, she continues, saying “it is absolutely impossible to believe that the worst offensive sexist material of all time is published with the unambiguous approval of the Dicastery for the Laity‚ Family and Life” – a dicastery that she points out, the Pope himself “accused with the responsibility of women.
Warning of the impact of such a text on the Church’s influence on believers, she said: “The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life is manifestly driven by an ignorant and retrograde agenda that will lead the Church towards new scandals and crises unless it is radically reformed.
“The church would be better off if it was closed and all matters within its jurisdiction returned to national jurisdiction.”
Dr McAleese goes on to advise: “At a minimum, this awful material should be removed from the official Magisterium website. It offends all women and the creator who made them.
She concludes by saying that she hopes Pope Francis “will be able to reassure the many women who remain faithful to the church despite such wanton assaults on their God-given dignity and equality,” signing Dr. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland 1997-2011.
This is not the first time that Dr. McAleese has called on the Church to implement reform. In 2021 she accused the church of causing “heartbreak and hurt” to the LGBTQ+ community, while in 2020 she called on religious leaders to end conversion therapy.
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