Feminism in the Church

Posted on 21. Jun, 2012, in Eucharistic Congress 20122 Comments

Breda O’Brien is a well-known Catholic voice and commentator in the media. She was the founder of Feminist for Life of Ireland and is a patron of the Iona Institute, a conservative, Catholic think tank. She is a secondary school teacher, has a column in the Irish Times and writes regularly in the Irish Catholic. She also gave a personal testimony on marriage at the opening ceremony of the Eucharistic Congress.


She has spoken and written about many aspects surrounding the Church and Church teaching, which has caused her to be  subjected to criticism, most notably the accusation that she caused a delay in the emergence of the clerical sex abuse scandal. She talks with Miriam Gormally about her role as a  public Catholic voice and the difficulties that come with it. Miriam began by first asking her whether people might point to an inherent contradiction in being feminist and being part of a Church that has been known for its patriarchal structures.

2 responses to “Feminism in the Church”

  1. michael McCullagh says:

    Hi Miriam,

    Another great interview with searching questions touching on complementarity of women and men and the call to service and in that, the decision-making process emerges.

    Kindly convey my thanks to Breda also for a great interview and for all she does in search of truth and I include the prophetic moments there when she does challenge a clerical guarded culture when necessary.

    I agree with her. There was a wonderful sense of joy at the RDS. I enjoyed all the Areopgagi, not least being in dialogue with yourself and Josepha.

    Enjoy a little break with Dylan in these sunshine days.

    On Monday I depart for Ethiopia and back on August 5th.

    Kind regards,

  2. loughlp says:

    Hi Miriam, Hi Michael. I have just two comments. I note that Breda deftly slips past the issue of women priests saying that it is a different issue altogether (from feminism in the Church). In my view (as a Church of Irelander) the issue of women priests can be nothing less than central since the Church denies women access to that role purely on the ground of their sex.

    Like many commentators she also glides past the clerical child abuse issues by observing that things were very different then, that ‘everyone covered up’ and that we don’t understand now how how it was then. Undoubtedly some commentors have unfairly applied current critiques to historical circumstances. However, assaulting a child is such a fundamental wrong that it is very hard to see any explanation as to why it should have been covered up and there needs to be a lot more scholarship in this area.

    A good interview though. I look forward to the next time you get Breda in front of a microphone.

    Paul Loughlin