The minister stepped in at her own church at the weekend

The Culture Minister says there was no cause for the attack on her made by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

Mr Martin hit out at Josepha Madigan after she said female priests should be allowed in the clergy, calling the comments bizzare and claiming the minister had an agenda.

Minister Madigan stepped in at her own church at the weekend when a priest failed to show up for mass.

The declining number of priests in the Catholic Church is something Minister Madigan feels needs to be addressed.

"If I didn't address these issues when I have the platform now, then I wouldn't in all good conscience live with myself.

"So it's something that needs to be addressed - I think the church is aware of that.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin | File photo

"I was somewhat surprised at the personal attack that was made on me - particularly as a member of the Catholic church and somebody, I wouldn't call myself devout, but I certainly have a strong relationship with God myself, and I don't think there was a cause for it," she said.

 

In a statement earlier Archbishop Martin insisted it was "in no way correct to say that the Minister 'said Mass'".

He said: "It is regrettable that that Minister Madigan used this occasion to push a particular agenda. Her expressed view that a mix up in a Dublin parish on one particular Saturday evening should lead to the Universal Church changing core teachings is bizarre.

"Minister Madigan might consider listening to the voices of those people who disagree with her public comments, she might consider the hurt she has caused to parishioners who deem her actions deeply disrespectful."