Married Catholic priests a possibility

Britain

Pope Benedict XVI greets the faithful at the end of the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

LONDON (AP) -- Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric says priests should be allowed to marry and have children.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who heads the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, says 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 Friday that he would be "very happy" if priests were able to consider getting married.

O'Brien 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.


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