Irish journalist Olivia O’Leary,  one of the best-known names in the media, has  made a very public departure from the Catholic Church.

She cited her disappointment in the fact that women cannot be ordained as priests, coupled with the disgrace that “the institutional cover-up of clerical child sex abuse was a ‘proximate factor.’”

O’Leary, who may be best remembered for her speech at the concert for Queen Elizabeth II during her Irish visit, left the Church “some two years ago,” reports the Belfast Telegraph. In her speech during the Queen’s visit, O’Leary now famously recalled how they were “a bit worried about the curtsy,” believing sternly that she, as a non-subject of the Queen, should not have to curtsy.

Although O’Leary has “beloved” aunts and uncles who are of the clergy, she says "No longer at my age can I accept a subordinate role; not for myself, not for my daughter, not for my sisters, my nieces or friends.”


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An interview with O’Leary on the Pat Kenny radio show by the American Catholic theologian George Weigel left O’Leary “unimpressed,” as Weigel offered “the old non-reasons” for not permitting women to be ordained in the Catholic Church. Weigel’s main argument included that “God made men and women different for a reason.”

O’Leary, however, believes that it should be “humanity” that should separate the clergy from the laypeople in the Catholic Church. “It is our humanity which distinguishes us, not the fact that we are women.”

O’Leary, feeling that she can “stand tall” there, has opted to celebrate the holidays with the Church of Ireland, which does ordain women as priests. She also notes how the Church of Ireland “accepts my full humanity.”

"Otherwise I'll celebrate by simply being outside in the wind and the rain, outside in the sunshine walking the world that the creator made for us all equally. Not because we are male or female but because we are human," she said.

Below, watch O’Leary’s speech during the Queen’s visit: