Former Irish President Mary McAleese has come out in favor of gay marriage. She made the declaration in an interview on Irish television.

McAleese said she held “a very strong view that for centuries now gay people have lived in a dark secretive world of indeterminate loneliness [and] dreadful complexity.”

Gay people are “as entitled to live their lives on their own terms, as I do as a heterosexual,” she said. “I’m just thrilled anyone wants to get married.”

She also took issue with how Vatican II was put in place, saying bishops were supposed to co-govern the church with the Pope.

“It did not happen,” she said. The College of Bishops had not met since Vatican II, which concluded in 1965.

She said she was upset the Pope allowed no dissent. “I’m not clear anymore where the boundaries are,” she said. 

Church leadership lacked “a fair degree of credibility now” as a result of the child abuse issue, she said.

If they could be so dreadfully wrong and take so long about accepting how wrong they were . . . ” and yet “we seem to have arrived at a situation of creeping infallibility about everything.”

McAleese has spoken out in favor of women priests, and said she had written to the Pope asking for his views on the matter. She said she got “a lovely letter back.”

She also wrote to then Dublin Archbishop Desmond Connell seeking literature on the issue. She found it “wickedly poor scholarship.”