Top cleric calls for married priests

LONDON — Roman Catholic priests should be allowed to marry and have children, Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric said Friday.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who heads the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, said the requirement for priestly celibacy is “not of divine origin” and could be reconsidered.

He told BBC Scotland that “the celibacy of the clergy, whether priests should marry — Jesus didn’t say that.”

He said that “many priests have found it very difficult to cope with celibacy,” and while he had never considered marriage himself, “I would be very happy if others had the opportunity of considering whether or not they could or should get married.”

O’Brien, 74, will form part of the conclave of cardinals that chooses the next pontiff, following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

Benedict announced earlier this month that he will step down Feb. 28 — the first pope to resign in almost 600 years.

The cardinal said that the next pope would be free to consider changing church policy on issues, such as celibacy for priests, that were not “basic dogmatic beliefs.”

He said that “we know at the present time in some branches of the church priests can get married, so that is obviously not of divine origin and it could get discussed again.”

In recent years a number of traditionalist Anglicans opposed to the ordination of women and other changes have joined the Roman Catholic Church. The pope granted special dispensation for married Anglican clergy to stay married and be ordained in the Catholic Church.

O’Brien also said it was time to think seriously about having a pope from outside Europe.

He said he would be “open to a pope from anywhere if I thought it was the right man, whether it was Europe or Asia or Africa or wherever.”

More in Local News

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Nichols Brothers Boat Builders apprentice Janette Alhanati (left) and journeyman Kurt Warwick construct wall panels for an upcoming boat project with Linblad Expedition Holdings. A federal grant from the Northwest Workforce Council will allow Nichols Brothers to add more apprentices to its workforce starting in January 2018.
Whidbey Island boatbuilder gets hiring boost

The grant from the Northwest Workforce Council will help expand the company’s apprenticeship program.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Camano Island man gets 18 years for role in drug ring

He was convicted of helping lead a drug distribution network in four Washington counties.

Lake Stevens man missing since beginning of January

Jason Michael Knox White hasn’t used his credit card or withdrawn money from his bank since then.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Most Read