Continued from Page One "One of the dilemmas for the Church is that all decision making is in the hands of male clergy. Cherie Booth's speech is implicitly calling for women to participate at all levels in the Church and that includes decision making."
She added: "I see this as the first step. It is important that people of stature start to bring this up. But you have to be practical about this. It's a bit like politics — it's the art of the possible — taking it a step at a time." Miss Pratt said women were increasingly disillusioned by the Church.
"The sort of language we use in the liturgy affects the way we perceive each other and how we inter-relate. The language excludes women."
She continued: "We need other people working to change the whole climate of opinion so that people will see how offensive it is to women to say they can't image Christ.
"Many women are much more Christlike than men — to say they can't be priests, to image Christ is offensive."
A spokeswoman for Cherie Booth said she had "nothing to add to the text of her lecture".
The Tyburn Lecture was inaugurated two years ago to provide a platform for national figures to speak on a contemporary topic.