McAleese row cleric to miss symposium for women
A top Vatican cardinal who sought to bar former Irish President Mary McAleese from a conference in the Holy See earlier this year has said he won't be attending a women's leadership symposium at the World Meeting of Families because it clashes with his meeting with the Pope.
Cardinal Kevin Farrell said he will be greeting the pontiff as he arrives on Saturday instead.
"I am the person who is in charge of the World Gathering of Families and obviously I am the one inviting the Pope to come to this event," the Dublin-born Prefect of the Dicastery of Laity, Family and Life said.
"So far in my life I have not been able to bilocate - maybe some day I will, but right now that is an impossible task," he joked.
In March Dr McAleese, who is from Belfast, addressed the conference Why Women Matter on International Women's Day. The conference organisers, Voices of Faith, were forced to relocate to a venue outside the Vatican following Cardinal Farrell's protest over the former head of state and two other speakers.
In her address Mrs McAleese accused the Catholic Church of being a "global carrier of the virus of misogyny".
Last week Voices of Faith strongly criticised Cardinal Farrell, saying it was "dismayed" to learn he was not attending the first ever symposium on women at the World Meeting of Families.