Belfast Telegraph

Radio presenter calls for female priests

By Donna Deeney

Broadcaster Frank Mitchell has issued an outspoken call for the ordination of women in the Catholic Church.

A practising Catholic, Mr Mitchell noted how the fall in the number of priests had left some of them unable to cope.

The U105 radio presenter revealed he was at Mass in St Patrick’s Church in Mayobridge and Burren Parish, where Fr Desmond Mooney told the congregation it was possible daily Masses would be cut because of the shortage.

On his Twitter account, Mr Mitchell asked if the Catholic Church is “ready to drop Mass instead of ordaining women?”

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph later, he said for Fr Mooney to say daily Mass in both Mayobridge and Burren would mean 18 Masses per week.

Mr Mitchell continued: “He didn’t give the stats on it but that’s what he would have to do because Mayobridge and Burren only has one priest now.

“It is impossible for the man, he can’t do it — he is run off his feet and this is in no way a criticism of him. In fact I have so much admiration for him. A person from the Parish Council also spoke and said the laity can help more but the elephant in the room in all of this is female priests.

“Fr Mooney isn’t allowed to talk about this even if he wanted to, so the issue of women priests wasn’t touched on at all during his homily — even though, ironically, the church is next door to a convent and there were four or five nuns in the congregation.”

Mr Mitchell added: “The attitude to women hasn’t covered the Catholic Church in glory in the past, but in 2018 I think they have to speed up the process where women are treated as equal. The greatest gesture the Catholic Church could now do is say, ‘We are now going to allow women to enrol in Seminary and we are now going to encourage women to be priests’.

“It’s as obvious as the nose on your face so when I saw a man run off his feet exhausted, a popular man like Fr Mooney, I felt sorry for him and I thought why do they not involve women in this?”

Fr Mooney was contacted but was unavailable. The Dromore Diocese did not respond to a request for a comment.

Belfast Telegraph

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