• John Thavis

Cardinal O'Brien's salvo on celibacy

Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien has raised the possibility of a change in the priestly celibacy rule, saying many priests struggle because they are unable to marry and unable to have children.

In an interview with the BBC, O’Brien said that while he had never considered marriage, “I would be very happy if others had the opportunity of considering whether or not they could or should get married.” He noted that some branches of the Catholic Church already allowed married clergy.

“It is a free world and I realise that many priests have found it very difficult to cope with celibacy as they lived out their priesthood and felt the need of a companion, of a woman, to whom they could get married and raise a family of their own,” he said.

The cardinal’s statement could make the cardinals’ “general congregation” discussions very interesting come March 1.

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