A Catholic Bishop is not backing calls for women to be immediately made priests but says the “Church is dipping its toe in the water” on the issue.
Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin and apostolic administrator of the diocese of Ossory Denis Nulty said the Catholic Church needs to listen to the opinions expressed in a recent survey.
The results of the National Synthesis, published earlier this week, found that practising Irish Catholics want to see a change in attitudes towards women and members of the LGBTQI+ community.
Speaking on radio programme 'The Way It Is' with Sue Nunn, the Bishop was asked if women could ever be equal in the Church if they are not allowed to become priests.
"I think we have to reflect on all things and that’s what the universal synod is about," Bishop Nulty said.
"This is the first step in the journey and it’s like dipping our toe in the water. We do have to look at better collaboration with women as there are many involved in our Churches and in our parishes.
"It’s also about letting the spirit speak at this time and what the spirit is saying to our church at this time, and that is going to be so important.
"The role of women is co-responsible in parishes and in different ministries. I’m not shying away from this as this is a red button issue."
He added: "We’ve got to listen to the spirit and see where that is coming and this is the first step."
With regard to the LGBTQI+ community, Bishop Nulty said he "wanted to hold his hand out" to the community and have a "pastoral outreach", adding "I would be encouraging that we do more of that".
"A recent homophobic attack on Dublin Bus was horrendous. It was shattering. None of us have any toleration for anyone who carries out that type of behaviour," he said.
The information for the National Synthesis was gathered through numerous meetings in all parishes across the country, with groups such as Travellers, young people, members of the LGBTQI+ community and abuse survivors of the Church getting a particular say.