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Britain's top cardinal says priests should be allowed to marry if they wish

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Britain’s top cardinal says priests should be allowed to marry if they wish. (Reuters) Britain’s top cardinal says priests should be allowed to marry if they wish. (Reuters)
SummaryIssues like abortion and euthanasia can never be accepted by the Church, said O'Brien.

The top Roman Catholic priest in England has said that he believed that priests should be allowed to marry if they wished to. Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who will be part of the council that chooses the next Pope following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, said that it was clear that many priests struggled to cope with celibacy, and should be able to marry and have children, BBC News reports.

Although O'Brien, who is also the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, said that issues like abortion and euthanasia can never be accepted by the Church, he added that it would within the reach of the new Pope to consider whether the Roman Catholic Church should change its stance on other issues, which were not of ‘divine origin', like marriage.

According to O'Brien, who is the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Jesus Christ did not say whether priests should remain celibate or get married, which made the issue 'non-divine'.

Accordign to BBC News, the cardinal, who himself is unmarried, said that he had never given a thought to his celibacy as he had been busy with his church duties, and added that during his youth, being celibate was a part of being a priest. O'Brien further said that it is necessary for priests to marry if they wish to, as many of them have found it difficult to be celibate as they lived out their priesthood, and have felt the need of a companion and a family.

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