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Women's ordination advocate says women priests 'are inevitable'

The Catholic Church is running out of male priests and will soon be forced to ordain women, according to Marie Joyce, the National spokeswoman for the Ordination of Catholic Women.

The Illawarra Mercury reports that she said it was only a matter of time before women were ordained as priests in the male-dominated church.

Dr Joyce this week left for Dublin to represent Australia at the Women's Ordination Worldwide Conference this weekend, the first international conference to address the subject.

She said there was huge support for women priests in the Catholic community but the leadership of the church was becoming more conservative instead of progressive.

``Certainly pockets within the church are very strongly right-wing conservative but the great bulk of the church in the community are not conservative," she said.

``(The church leadership is) absolutely not listening, not wanting to hear it.

Dr Joyce said the Dublin conference would push for the ordination of women. She will join 300 delegates from 27 countries, including about 30 men and 15 non-Catholics.

She said with the inevitable death or possible unprecedented retirement of Pope John Paul II there was a great opportunity for cardinals to elect a more progressive pope.

Illawarra Mercury