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Former Irish president blasts Catholic Church over anti-gay views

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  1. Sensible words from a sensible woman.

    1. billywingartenson 10 Oct 2012, 7:34am

      Meanwhile Ireland moves forward. 73% of the people want to allow gays to marry in the constitution.

      expect the german pope to have a hemmhorage.

  2. Mary – you are one of my new favourite people

    1. she was ALWAYS one of my favourite. Welcome aboard!

      1. Paddyswurds 29 Sep 2012, 12:15pm

        Belfasts Mary McAleese has always been on board and was instrumental in David Norris’s fight to get Homosexuality legalised in the RoI along with Mary Robinson. Mary McAleese has been on board since her High School days. She hosted a reception at Aras an Uachtarain for Irish Gays, every year of her 14 year Irish presidency…..

  3. Jamesey Ward 28 Sep 2012, 6:00pm

    Wise words from a wise women. It’s about time somebody recognises the connection between Ireland’s high rate of young male suicide and society’s and the church’s negative attitude to homosexuality

    1. It is not just Ireland that has high rates of discrimination caused mental health problems/suicide in young GLBT people – it is a global phenomena.

      It is great to see such a respected person speaking out about this.

      It is also good to see a leader call the Catholic clergy out on the psychological abuse they are guilty of causing to a group within the human family who are born different.

      I wish more would hold them to account for the damage.

  4. Guglielmo Marinaro 28 Sep 2012, 6:09pm

    I applaud her sturdy, humane, down-to-earth common sense. Something that is completely lacking in the Vatican’s attitude.

  5. Pavlos Prince of Greece 28 Sep 2012, 6:11pm

    She has must to say its, when she was the President. But thank you very much, Mary.

    1. She often spoke out for LGBT rights as president. This is not a first.

      1. Pavlos Prince of Greece 28 Sep 2012, 10:28pm

        Very clear against Catholic homophobia or just in favor of gay rights, not naming the main enemy? What she say now, is important, but a little too late. Anyway, we will glad to see her at the upcoming Ilga Europe conference in Dublin next month. Especially by the discussion about marriage equality in Ireland and across continent.

        1. Pavlos – you need to look up Mary McAleese’s history in terns of LGBT rights.

          She has ALWAYS been a fierce defender of LGBT rights.

          She is a Mammy to the Irish gay community (whereas Mary Robinson remains the much loved, but frosty, generous aunt to the gay community)

          1. But all recent Irish presidents have been welcoming to lgbt to their home in phoenix park, imagine our royalty inviting lgbt community to buckingham palace?

          2. Rapture:


            That’s a photo of Clare Dimyon being made an MBE for her LGBT work by Price Charles.

  6. Dianne Pallett 28 Sep 2012, 6:21pm

    Increasingly I think that homophobic institutions are a threat to society & homophobes within our churches are a threat to the future of our churches

    1. Paddyswurds 29 Sep 2012, 12:22pm

      ….”homophobes within our churches are a threat to the future of our churches” These are homophobes we must encourage if it hastens the demise of the damnable idea that is religion which must be ridiculed and vilified at every opportunity for it sheer evilness.. Man will never be truly free until Religion is a distant memory from the past.

  7. I’ve always thought Mary McAleese an excellent and admirable woman.

  8. Suddenly Last Bummer 28 Sep 2012, 6:38pm

    Any chance she could have said this DURING her tenure?

    1. Paddyswurds 28 Sep 2012, 7:30pm

      @ Suddenly…
      …She did, Many times…. she also had a reception every year at Aras an Uachtarain for her full 14 years tenure for Irish GLBs….

      1. Paddyswurds 29 Sep 2012, 12:23pm

        …for should read of**

    2. She did.


      And regularly.

    3. She did and she refused to go to the New York St. Patrick’s day parade because of their attitude to the LGBT community amongst many other actions in support of human rights.

  9. Robert in S. Kensington 28 Sep 2012, 6:44pm

    Oh my, wonderful that she went after the roman cult. About time someone in the UK followed suit instead of kow-towing and caving in to the bigots or not saying anything at all thereby enabling them, although Tony Blair once said that the roman cult was mean-spirited in its opposition to equal civil marriage. That goes for the CoE too, just as bad.

    They always play the victim card when anyone challenges them yet they get away with the most vile, disgusting statements all of which are untrue.

    1. Sorry to be pedantic but Ireland is not in the UK – it has to speak up for itself.

      1. Paddyswurds 1 Oct 2012, 2:06pm

        @Tash …
        ……About time someone in the UK followed suit ” Try again. No one said Ireland is in the UK as you can see from the line in quotes….

  10. Mary MacAleese is spot on. I hope other world leaders are listening and will underline what she has said.

  11. Of course she’s right to point out the connection between the low-self-esteem that causes suicide amongst gay people and the hate-speech/thought taught by the Catholic Church. But she could add that that same teaching propagates & perpetuates hatred and discrimination by straight people towards gays in and endless cycle, and as such is a Hate Group ( unfit to have any educational relationship with children of any kind….

    1. I definitely hit a thumb-up on this one. Thanks. The Catholic Church seeds the hate we experience daily, and grants permission for its expression. No other way to see it.

  12. Neil M U Phelps 28 Sep 2012, 7:54pm

    I dread to think what the Irish young must be suffering!

    1. Pretty much the same as the British young I imagine.

      What this article fails to mention is that the catholic cult is regarded with utter revulsion by a very large proportion of Irish people.

      It is open season on the catholic cult in Ireland, and Mary McAleese is vocalising a very popular position.

      It’s just nice to have someone so well respected and admired say it openly.

      1. There’s an interesting history to be written here. From a priest-ridden society to a society repulsed by the church, all within the blink of an eye (in terms of historical time).

        1. Paddyswurds 29 Sep 2012, 12:26pm

          ………….and ironically those same priests were the catalyst for that repulsion

    2. I have gay cousins out at school in Ireland, and their experience is much better than the horror stories i have come across in the uk.

      1. Paddyswurds 29 Sep 2012, 12:37pm

        I agree wholeheartedly. I grew up and still live in rural west of Ireland, out and vocally proud and cannot relate to these references about homophobia in Ireland. I have never witnessed or experienced it; on the contrary I have experienced a live and let live attitude and when I was younger and ran a taxi, all the young men and women became customers of mine when the competition expressed homophobic sentiments about me to those same lads. i also witnessed similar attitude to older gay men in the community when I was a child. The attitude was “they can’t help it” They were clearly the most popular characters in the Community and when they died had huge attendance at their funerals.

  13. Neil M U Phelps 28 Sep 2012, 7:58pm

    I totally and 100per cent agree with her!!!11

  14. Well done Mary and thank you. It’s support like this that our community needs in Ireland! And very wise words

  15. Mary McAleese was David Norris’ lawyer in the 1970’s as he fought the Irish government in his campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Ireland, This was in the 1970’s remember.

    She refused to be grand marshall at this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade in New York (while she was still president) because of its refusal to allow openly gay participants.

    She regularly welcomed LGBT groups to her presidential residence, spoke out in terms of LGBT rights and visited LGBT groups, during her presidency.

    She seriously has earned her stripes as an ally in the last 35 years.

    She’s amazing.

    1. Sorry, David, it was Mary Robinson, a previous President of Ireland, who was David Norris’s lawyer.

      1. I think you’ll find that Mary Robinson was his barrister, and Mary McAleese was his solicitor.

        1. Now that’s what you could call Mary Muscle. :-)

          1. very good haha made me lol

  16. Paul in Brighton 28 Sep 2012, 9:03pm

    I met Senator David Norris in 1985 when I was at Universtity College Cork. He was debating legalising homosexuality.

    He told us of the time when in Dubin the IRA decided that they didn’t want any ‘poofters’ in Ireland and via Sinn Fein (their politcal wing), the message was loud and clear – either shut up with your campaigning, or we’ll shut you up.

    His reply was swift. He visited a well-known gay bar in Dublin where he frequently drank and informed those gathered of what had happened.

    A silence descended on the place.

    He then told those gathered that if he hadn’t an apology by the following Monday morning, he would name all the IRA members and Sinn Fein members and supporters who he personally knew drank at this bar.

    The apology was swift.

    Regarding former President Mary McAleese.

    A wonderful woman and a staunch supporter of LGBT rights and did much for peace in Northern Ireland.

    She’s also a Catholic an has taken her concerns about LGBT young people to church leaders.

  17. What a wonderful intelligent lady Mary Mcaeese is. :) Its good that Ireland was one of the few countires to have a strong progressive female president that fought for equal rights for women and LGBT people. And setting an excellent example that women leaders can do as good or better a job, as a male president and not put out a bad image like Margaret Thatcher did for women.

    1. Well Maggie was PM. Mary McAleese (and Mary Robinson before her) was president which is a ceremonial role (sort of like the Queen), so they are not comparable.

      Mary Robinson was president from 1990 to 1997 – she was David Norris’ barrister in his campaign to decriminalise homosexuality. Her successor Mary McAleese, was David Norris’ solicitor,

      The new Irish president Michael D. Higgins has also been a,long time defender of LGBT rights.

      1. Paddyswurds 29 Sep 2012, 12:43pm

        I always thought he was gay until I discovered he had a wife and family… His tearing a new one for a homophobic radio jock in Boston recently became an internet hit….

  18. Poor churchy wurchy feeling left out?

    Little churchy will have to learn to adapt and change its ways, not throw temper tantrums.

    1. The church does not need to adapt.

      It needs to be discarded in its entirety.

      It is utterly worthless in 2012.

      1. As admirable and aspirational as your hope is it’s not practical or reasonable. All religions will continue to play a role in society, wanted or not. Instead of pie in sky wishes that they disappear we should aim for a more tolerant and truly Christian outlook.

        1. Paddyswurds 29 Sep 2012, 12:50pm

          ….so you advocate the continuance of the most evil falsehood ever foisted on Mankind. how very progressive of you. No, as man becomes educated he will discard this falsehood and the Earth will finally find the peace denied it by the division that is religion. it will take perhaps a hundred thousand years or more but it is inevitable given the secularisation of most of Europe once it became educated. The depth of religious fervor is evident in parts of countries where education is still not a priority like the USA and Australia…. Mississippi and Tasmania come to mind.

          1. *Sigh*. Once again you prove you don’t live in the real world. Exterminate all traces of religious belief in the world in the next few years?!?!? Stop being so bloody angry and righteous and get real for once.

          2. Paddyswurds 29 Sep 2012, 5:42pm

            ……Sigh! Can you read… I said….”it will take perhaps a hundred thousand years or more ” how is that “the next few years” Typical xtian ingenuity from you . Read the bloody comment before you make your silly comment. I bit rich for a religiously deluded freak to talk about “the real world” You think believing in sky fairies and living your life according to 4000 thousand year old goat herd fables is the real world. Burn your bloody buybul and join the rest of us in the twenty first century. BTW I am not angry just exasperated by the likes of you and your ilk…Sheesh!

  19. “The Catholic Church is becoming ever more isolated”

    Good, the Church has never sought to be’popular’ — repentance isn’t usually a ‘popular’ message.

    For speaking the truth, Jesus Christ was isolated in the extreme, abandoned by his disciples — bar his mother, John and Mary — and left to die alone on the cross.

    It’s when she’s not popular that the Church is usually at her best, And despite the efforts of many over the centuries, from Nero onwards, the Church continues to grow.

    No one if forced to be a Catholic or to continue being one… The Church also teaches that contraception and any form of sex outside marriage is disordered… Does that mean that there is a high incidence of suicide amongst contraceptive users?

    Personally, I think that many gay people don’t actually want to be gay, or would rather be straight — even those who wouldn’t know what a church was if one landed on their heads.

    1. Oh dear. Ignorant twat alert. Not sure where you get your ugly theories but whether people want to be Gay or not has nothing to do with anything. It is not a choice. And for the record, I know many Gay people, ALL of whom find their sexuality a source of great joy. Sure, it’s slightly inconvenient because of society’s homophobia but so what! Teenagers that manage to get through wthout killing themselves because of people like you can have wonderfully happy and fulfilled lives. You are a burke, sir.

    2. Homosexuality is never the problem. Response to it is always the problem. Go from there, and see what lands on our heads.

    3. Have you sought treatment for your christianity?

      You definitely need help.

    4. I think that many gay people don’t actually want to be gay, or would rather be straight

      Do you spend time commenting on a gay website to convince us of this, or yourself?

    5. “the Church continues to grow”…..sure it does: ever more out of touch and towards oblivion. Take a visit to Ireland and try spouting your nonsense….As for your ‘argument’ about contraception and sex outside marriage, these are matters of choice; sexual orientation is not. And the fact that there’s not a ‘high incidence of suicide amongst (Catholic) contraceptive users’ is just evidence of the lack of respect for traditional Catholic dogma that such Catholics have….

    6. Spanner1960 29 Sep 2012, 8:12am

      “Personally, I think that many gay people don’t actually want to be gay, or would rather be straight.”

      Even if that were true, which I don’t believe – what difference would it make?
      We are the way we are and our sexuality is intrinsic to our very beings, so what do you suggest Jesus Christ does about it?

    7. Paul from Brighton 29 Sep 2012, 10:16am


      What a shame it is the Catholic Church hasn’t despite their own significant teachings on the subject of repentance, actually learnt how to practice it themselves.

      In Ireland at the moment there is a considerable fight taking place by and on behalf of those women and children who were incarcerated in the Catholic Church’s Magdelene Laundries. Forced to work in slave-like conditions to ‘repent’.

      155 women’s bodies were found in unmarked graves in Dublin in 1996 which brought to an end finally these draconian places of ‘repentance’.

      For centuries now the Catholic Church has relied on this word – repentance, but to-date never demonstrated itself but to use it as a tool against others they see as morally inferior to themselves.

      Thankfully, we’re entering a new era now, one where self-appointed protectors of ‘social morals’ will have little, if no part to play.

      I’d urge you as a Christian to support the work of the Justice For Magdelenes.

    8. “Personally, I think that many gay people don’t actually want to be gay, or would rather be straight”

      Speak for yourself, John.

    9. Paddyswurds 29 Sep 2012, 12:54pm

      …”personally, I think that many gay people don’t actually want to be gay, or would rather be straight” ….finally a theist who accepts that Homosexuality is not a choice…Alleluia!

  20. PeterinSydney 29 Sep 2012, 5:07am

    Mrs McAleese has been very brave for speaking out for gay and lesbian people. She will cop some terrible insults now from the Bishops I bet. May she be strong in the name of justice.

    1. Paddyswurds 29 Sep 2012, 1:05pm

      …”She will cop some terrible insults now from the Bishops I bet” not in Ireland she wont. They wouldn’t dare. The bishops here are universally seen as paedophile protectors and enablers for the last 60 years or more. Religion amongst Irish nationalists or former Catholics is now a very sour taste especially amongst those under 65.. however amongst the Protestant churches homophobia is still rife and is often expressed as in the vileEdwin Poots and iris Robinson…. Most homophobic attacks sadly take place in protestant areas and enclaves of the north of Ireland and cities like limerick and Dublin in the south. Please note I said MOST. There is still the odd incidence in places like Derry but isolated.

  21. The Pope and his cohorts are the best publicity for social progression that I know of. Long may the Vatican open there ‘loving’ and Christ-like mouths! The social revolution will only be completed far quicker!

  22. Much as I disagree with many of you on your attitude towards Christianity, the shrill and vitriolic outbursts from the *traditional* churches seems to me to be the last gasp of a dinosaur.

    People like Mary McAleese have far more in common with the way society is evolving – all too slowly in my opinion.

  23. Well done, Madam President!
    I literally know no Irish people today who take the RC church’s attitudes on sexuality seriously, and most I know are pretty contemptuous of it full stop. Maybe most of the ones who follow the RCC stay in Ireland. But even that impression seems to be fading.

  24. RC church forgets its own contribution to threats to civilisation. Corrupting young people is their threat to the world

    1. Colonel GH Clark, USA (ret) 29 Sep 2012, 5:16pm

      What a fantastic and sensible woman Mary McAleese is. We are making headway here in the USA, would you share for a while to speak up and open the homophobic minds and tell the Roman Catholic bigots what harm they have done to the youth of my nation and young boys of my generation (I’m. 76 YO) and mess the church caused in my early life

  25. Malcolm Wood 29 Sep 2012, 7:48pm

    “They will have heard words like disorder they may have heard the word evil . . . when they make the discovery, and it is a discovery and not a decision, when they make the discovery they are gay when they are 14, 15 and 16 an internal conflict of absolutely appalling proportions opens up”.
    I have never seen the situation summed up more accurately. I am still shuddering from reading this. It is exactly what happened to most of us – certainly outside of London – in the sixties. Of any church denomination or none. Furthermore, it was criminal. Homosexuality was not decriminalised in Scotland until 1978.
    Mary McAleese deserves an award for this.

    1. Paul in Brighton 29 Sep 2012, 8:10pm


      Consider yourself lucky up there in Scotland!

      In Southern Ireland/Republic of Ireland it was 1993 that homosexuality (gosh, how I hate that word…) was decriminalised.

      And it was Senator David Norris who managed to achieved it, having worked tirelessly and facing much opposition since the early 1970s.

      The Irish President who brought the new legilisation in was President Mary Robinson, another long term champion of LGBT rights in Ireland. She’s often confused with (former) President Mary MCAleese.

      Both are wonderful and we have much to thank them for as well as David Norris who must never be forgotten for his work.

      1. Paddyswurds 29 Sep 2012, 9:05pm

        Paul in Brighton….
        …. Mary Robinson did not bring in anything. She was President and like Lizzie Windsor had no powers whatever. The Irish presidency is purely a figurehead position. However Mary Robinson was David Norris’ Barrister and Mary McAleese was his lawyer in his fight for the legalising of homosexuality. Mary Robinson was the president in office when Dail Eireann passed the law legalising Homosexuality and Mrs Robinson merely had to sign the Bill to make it law. Her only power was to send bills in dispute or question to the Review board but not reject it herself.

        1. Paddyswurds 1 Oct 2012, 5:25pm

          I suspected as much, but made the comment for those who don’t know how Irish Politics works….. Plus you made it seem as if the President has Executive powers as he/she does in other countries….

  26. Paul in Brighton 29 Sep 2012, 9:23pm

    Thanks, Paddy,

    I’m very well aware of the President of Ireland has no powers….

    I’m Irish, but living in the UK.

    The point I was making, albeit badly, is the law was changed during Mary Robinson’s term, if that makes more sense?

  27. See Catholic Church ? After the Portuguese and the Spanish (since they legalized same-sex marriage in their countries) even the Irish are beginning to not stand you anymore.

  28. Pavlos Prince of Greece 30 Sep 2012, 3:06pm

    I was very negative surprised, how devote Mrs. President of Republic was in the presence of Elisabeth Windsor from London, when she was with the ‘state visit’ in Ireland last May. And she has give no support for openly gay candidate by the elections of new President last October.

    1. Paddyswurds 1 Oct 2012, 2:10pm

      The sitting President cannot by law express preference for any candidate….

  29. An'us is for exit only. 30 Sep 2012, 7:27pm

    ““And when they make the discovery, and it is a discovery and not a decision, when they make the discovery they are gay when they are 14, 15 and 16 an internal conflict of absolutely appalling proportions opens up”.”

    My reply..
    The same could be said of paedophiles yet this does not make attraction to children right or less disgusting does it?

    1. Pavlos Prince of Greece 1 Oct 2012, 3:13pm

      Hello, an`us. Hello, Lithuania.

  30. GulliverUK 1 Oct 2012, 9:34am

    Those LGBT suicides are always the result of three things. a) people who love to hate others, religious or not b) religious bigots who OCD about their religion causes harm, depression and suicide in some, and b) heterosexual parents who can’t understand or won’t understand their own children.

    Parents and religious bigots need to understand they are literally murdering other human beings with their inexplicable hatred. Group (a) are probably just sociopaths, and those people are a danger to everywhere, straight and gay. Some in group (b) also fall in to group (a).

    The greatest straight allies we have are those who are willing to stand up and be counted like Mary, who won’t sit idly by and watch it all happen without saying anything.

  31. Tom Cotner 1 Oct 2012, 7:14pm

    I would argue that it is the Pope, with his 13th century Inquisition mentality, who is the greater threat to society. Fortunately, more and more reasonable people are coming to this conclusion.

  32. The only threat to civilization is Religion, the pope can STFU.

  33. Paul Hewett 9 Oct 2012, 8:20am

    Mary rock’s. She’s on RTE TV in Ireland again tonight about the same topic.

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