Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine Sister of Erie and Mary McAleese spoke their minds to a full audience.

McAleese, Ireland’s President from 1997 to 2011, spoke about issues facing the Catholic Church.

“We know that women are excluded from being priests. I have debated that before, but rather get involved in that big argument, my argument is… is it okay if we are excluded from that? How are we to be included in the decision making?” said Mary McAleese, Former President of Ireland.

What are her thoughts on Ireland’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine? She said Ireland has already opened its doors to refugees and is sending supplies to the country.

“We are a military neutral country and some people misunderstand that. It comes out of 800 years of fighting colonialism and imperialism. We arrived at a principle position. We don’t take part in wars, we take part in peace,” McAleese said.

She said this does not mean Ireland is politically neutral, meaning they cannot offer military weapons but they can offer any other form of support, including backing the European Union and its sanctions against Russia.

“I think to have a woman like this was us, past President of Ireland, whose reach in Europe has been massive. I think its time for Americans to sit down with people far beyond America and ask them how they proceed through issues of great contest,” said Sister John Chittister, Benedictine Sister of Erie.

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The event was part of Sister Chittister’s “In Conversation” presentations that have included people like Maria Shriver in the past.