Michael Creed: Recent separation of church and State is good

The steady separation of church and State in recent years is good for both, the Agriculture Minister has said ahead of the Pope's visit to Ireland.

Speaking at the Béal na Bláth annual commemoration today, Michael Creed said the "dark chapter" of abuse within the church has seen a "deep rift" emerge.

Mr Creed praised former President Mary McAleese, for taking the Vatican head on over their attitude towards women and the LGBT community.

It comes after Ms McAleese, revealed that she has made a canonical complaint to Pope Francis about Cardinal Kevin Farrell's decision to ban her speaking at an International Women’s Day conference in the Vatican last March.

“Having received neither an acknowledgement nor a reply to date, I can only presume the Pope is his immediate superior, that this was done with his approval.

“They claim there is a process for dealing with such complaints, I’m six months down the road of that complaint and I haven’t had the letter back that says we’ve received your complaint," Ms McAleese told RTÉ radio.

Mr Creed said that many people like him who are "closer to the back door than the front door" in the church are "encouraged to find ourselves in such exalted company on matters of faith".

But the Cork North-West TD said the public should still welcome the Pope to Ireland this weekend.

"It is in the context of this discomfort that I believe that we should extend a ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’ to Pope Francis; a Pope named after Saint Francis – who himself often took the road less traveled and gave church authorities a difficult time."

By Elaine Loughlin
Political Correspondent

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