The Papal ban on discussing the ordination of women has been challenged by Bishop Willie Walsh of Killaloe.

Bishop Walsh called for the debate on women priests in an interview with RTÉ News following an address to the Association of European Journalists in Dublin.

He said he would love to see another Pope John XXIII opening up discussion, particularly of exclusion.

The Bishop expressed sadness about his Church excluding homosexuals and refusing the Eucharist to couples in second unions.

Bishop Walsh recalled that Christ deliberately included people shut out by the religious authorities of His time.

He also urged discussion of mandatory priestly celibacy.

Earlier, Bishop Walsh challenged a lesser Vatican rule that almost completely excludes Protestants from its Eucharist.

He said he had never suggested to Church of Ireland members that they were not welcome to receive the sacrament in his churches.