Josepha Madigan 'surprised at personal attack' by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Ms Madigan stepped in at her own church at the weekend

Josepha Madigan 'surprised at personal attack' by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

File photo of Culture Minister Josepha Madigan in Dublin Castle | Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated: 18.00

The Culture Minister Josepha Madigan has said there was no cause for the attack on her made by Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

Mr Martin hit out at Minister 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.

"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".

Diarmuid Martin | Image: Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

Earlier, Archbishop Martin criticised the Culture Minister for 'pushing a particular agenda', after what he described as a 'mix up' at a church over the weekend.

Josepha Madigan was due to perform a reading at the Church of St Therese in Mount Merrion on Saturday evening.

Since a replacement could not be found for Fr Brian O'Reilly, Minister Madigan and other parishioners ended up performing the majority of the mass - with the minister saying they 'endeavoured to do our best'.

However, they did not read the Gospel or perform communion - as they can only be carried out by an ordained priest.

Speaking to Newstalk yesterday, Minister Madigan raised concerns about the current situation facing the Church, and called on it to 'embrace the laity in a more collaborative way'.

She suggested: "Women should be ordained; it should be optional that priest can marry; and lay people should be properly trained".

The minister added that she will raise the issues when Pope Francis visits Ireland in August.

In a statement earlier Archbishop Diarmuid 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."

Additional reporting: Sean Defoe and Jack Quann