Sources close to former President Mary McAleese have said that she was “seriously misquoted” by national and international media in relation to a comment about abortion.
Mrs McAleese is said to be wrongly reported by the BBC, RTÉ the Irish Independent, Breitbart the South China Morning Post and many others today, Friday March 9, as saying that a Church hierarchy that is “homophobic and anti-abortion is not the Church of the future”.
It is believed what she actually said was that she fears the Catholic Church’s hierarchy has “reduced Christ to this rather unattractive politician who is just misogynistic and homophobic and anti-abortion”.
While speaking at the annual ‘Voices of Faith’ conference in Rome on International Women’s Day she made no reference to abortion, but made the comment at a press conference.
Mrs McAleese has previously publicly stated her opposition to abortion on several occasions, and most notably when she was a member of the Catholic Church Episcopal Delegation to the New Ireland Forum in 1983 which expressed an anti-abortion viewpoint.
More recently in an interview in 1997 Mrs McAleese said she still had “exactly the same commitment to the right of the unborn that I have always had”. She was in favour of putting the Eighth Amendment into the constitution in 1983.
Her position on the upcoming referendum, which is expected to be held in May, is currently unknown.