Irish Culture Minister Leads Congregation in Prayer

In late June, as the local priest for the Church of St. Therese in Mount Marrion, Dublin, failed to appear to conduct Saturday evening Mass, Irish Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan and two female colleagues stepped in to lead the congregation of several hundred in prayer. Originally scheduled to read during the service, the minister performed most elements of a traditional Mass, save for proclaiming the Gospel and consecrating the bread and wine. Afterwards, Madigan—a key advocate for the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland—lamented the shortage of priests and warned of waning church participation unless the Catholic hierarchy ordains women and allows marriage for male priests, stating that “the Church has to change to reflect society as it is today.” The archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, responded in a statement that it was “regrettable that Minister Madigan used this occasion to push a particular agenda; her expressed view that a mix up in a Dublin parish on one particular Saturday evening should lead to the Universal Church changing core teachings is bizarre.” The minister shot back that she plans to raise this matter with the pope during the August World Meeting of Families in Dublin should the opportunity present itself.

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