SISTER Roseann Reddy, co-founder of Glasgow-based order the Sisters of the Gospel of Life, believes reform is not necessary and issues such as falling priesthood numbers are more to do with modern culture than the rules or scandals of the Church.

She said: "In many other churches you can marry and have women ministers and all of that and their numbers are falling just as dramatically as ours.

"If you are a member of the Catholic Church we are not a democracy and we have never claimed to be a democracy.

"We are not unaware of the problems but there are a whole lot more good things going on within the Church and certainly I wouldn't think the answer is married priests or woman priests. I think not having it but staying true to what we believe will encourage people to the Church."

She added: "For those who are in the Church, we stay because we want to stay. For us it is good to continue having this discussion and I am always very open to discussion, but it is just the same old stuff over and over again.

"You know the Catholic Church doesn't allow married priests, you know the Catholic Church doesn't allow women priests: if you don't like it leave the Church. But don't assume that those of us who stay want change."

Reddy said the issue of priestly celibacy was a discipline and as such could potentially alter, although she added she would not back such a change.

But she added: "Something like women priests will never change because of the nature of the Catholic priesthood, which is that Christ was a man. "We believe that when the priest is officiating at the sacraments he becomes in the person of Christ."

'we never claimed to be A democracy'