Category Archives: Blog Posts

Mary McAleese Questions Value of Family Synod

Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, has described the Catholic Church “Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and Family” as “bonkers”, as participants will be limited to celibate men who have chosen not to have children or marry. Instead of the complex and confusing global consultation questionnaire that was circulated last year, she says she has only one question: “How many of the bishops who will be assmebling in October have ever changed a baby’s nappy?”


Ms McAleese, a two-term President of Ireland, strongly questioned Pope Francis calling a synod to review the Catholic Church’s teaching on family life.

She won the backing of the Association of Catholic Priests with some of her comments, which demanded a “new theology of women” instead of an “old boys club”.

She said there was “just something profoundly wrong and skewed” about asking clergy for their views when they were all “male celibates”.

And the mother-of-three questioned how many people who would be taking part in the gathering had ever changed a baby’s nappy.

A world synod of bishops to discuss family life, and whether the church should revise its teachings on the subject, is due to be held in Rome this October.

Ms McAleese questioned the idea of people “who have decided they are not going to have any children, not going to have families, not going to be fathers and not going to be spouses” discussing the matter.

Blackburn Diocese Votes for Women Bishops

After a narrow vote in favour of women bishops in 2011, the diocese has now come down firmly in favour in all three houses (bishops, clergy and laity), in a vote of 83 to 34 overall – more than three for, to every vote against. From the diocesan website:

The Diocese of Blackburn has voted in favour of the latest legislation to allow women to become bishops.

At a specially convened Diocesan Synod in Blackburn town centre tonight there was a passionate and thoughtful debate about proposed changes to Canon Law to pave the way for the historic move. 

There was also an opportunity to have more detailed discussions during breakout sessions.

All Houses then passed the motion (which could not be altered or added to) by a majority of 83 to 34, with 3 abstentions.

Voting was as follows:

House of Bishops:

For: 2, Against: 1, Abstaining: 0

House of Clergy 

For: 31, Against: 19, Abstaining: 2

House of Laity

For: 50, Against: 14, Abstaining: 1

Back in 2011 the Diocesan Synod of Blackburn Diocese narrowly voted in favour of proposals for the introduction of women bishops into the Church of England.

- full report at Burnley Citizen