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Former Irish President Mary McAleese Photo by: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Australian newspaper refuses to advertise former Irish president's talk

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Former Irish President Mary McAleese Photo by: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A Catholic newspaper in Australia has refused to print an advertisement for an event that former Irish President Mary McAleese is due to speak at because of her stated views on homosexuality and the ordination of women.

McAleese is scheduled to speak at a Catholic discussion group event called Catalyst for Renewal in Sydney next week, but the Sydney based newspaper Catholic Weekly has refused to run an ad promoting it because of McAleese's involvement.

Catholic Weekly editor Peter Rosengren told the press that he felt McAleese's attendance has placed him in a difficult position.

"She is reported as being in favour of ordination of women as Catholic priests and in favor of homosexuality - whatever that actually means."

Rosengren failed to explain what being in favor of homosexuality means, but he said his opposition to McAleese's outlook was insurmountable. 

"No matter how admirable a person she is it places me in some difficulty as editor of the Catholic Weekly," Rosengren continued, adding that neither he nor the Church "see homosexuality as a sin."

Catholic teaching does however still see homosexuality as a sin, despite a dramatic softening of approach from Pope Francis on the topic last year. 

Meanwhile Rosengren said he was not discriminating based on orientation, instead he was discriminating based on gender.

"The problem is that the Church believes God made man and woman equally in the image and likeness of God’s very self - therefore gender actually has meaning.

"Homosexuality and other identifications that people may use to describe themselves such as bisexual, transgendered and so on - may obscure for people the meaning of their lives, but the dividing line for the Church is that homosexual acts definitely do."

Heterosexual acts have meaning, but homosexuals acts do not and the former Irish president was doing herself no favors by suggesting otherwise, Rosengren suggested. 

Then he added that having once employed a gay person at his newspaper he believed he had achieved a special degree of insight into homosexuality.

"Having previously employed an openly same-sex attracted columnist on an official Catholic newspaper I feel quite entitled to make these observations," he added. The whereabouts of the former columnist are now unknown. 

On the topic of female ordinations Rosengren said that it was really male priests who were being discriminated against: "I think it’s quite clear that men got the consolation prize with the priesthood - only a woman could be the mother of God.

Women should stop asking to be treated equally, Rosengren concluded: "As a married man in the Catholic Church, I do not have the right to be ordained either, but I don’t campaign on it as a matter of equality."

The Catholic Weekly has a reported readership of about 50,000 people. Now critics contend that the controversy over McAleese's rejection will actually increase her public profile during her planned visit.

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