Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that he believes the Catholic Church should allow women to be ordained as priests.
He also thinks that priests should be allowed to marry.
However, he added that he ‘strongly believes’ in the separation of Church and State.
Mr Varadkar was speaking at the fourth National Economic Dialogue at Dublin Castle and his comments follow a clash between Ireland’s Minister for Culture and Heritage Josepha Madigan and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.
The clash occurred after a priest had failed to show up at a Dublin church and Ms Madigan had stepped in to lead prayers.
Archbishop Martin felt that Ms Madigan was attempting to ‘push an agenda’ after she said that the Church should ordain women.
Her sentiments are mirrored by Mr Varadkar, who said he believes in equality in the workplace and said that priests should be allowed to marry.
He also defended Ms Madigan, saying that she was one of a number of people who had done a ‘nice thing’ in the priest’s absence.
He said: “I’ve a very interesting and diverse cabinet. According to the papers, Minister (Katherine) Zappone has practiced witchcraft in the past and now Minister Madigan is saying mass. I’m not sure either of those things are quite true.
“From what I understand, the priest wasn’t able to attend for various reasons and a number of people from the congregation, including Jospeha led prayers, but certainly did not say mass.
“I think what she did was a very nice thing and I understand she received a round of applause.
“As regards for female priests, I believe in equality in all things and equality in the workplace and that would include allowing priests to marry and allowing women to become priests.
“But I also strongly believe in the separation in the church and the state so that is not something the Government is going to be legislating on.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling