Anti-Gay Cardinal: Let Catholic Priests Get Married

Keith O'Brien: It's 'difficult to cope with celibacy'

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 23, 2013 4:01 PM CST

(Newser) – With a new pope on the way, Britain's most influential Catholic says the Vatican should let priests marry and have families, the Guardian reports. Spurning Catholic orthodoxy, Cardinal Keith O'Brien said that "many priests have found it very difficult to cope with celibacy," which "is obviously not of divine of origin." O'Brien, a semi-retired cardinal who plans to step down as head of Scotland's Roman Catholic Church, will be Britain's only Catholic involved in choosing Benedict's successor at the Vatican next month.

""For example the celibacy of the clergy, whether priests should marry—Jesus didn't say that," he told the BBC. "There was a time when priests got married, and of course we know at the present time in some branches of the church—in some branches of the Catholic church—priests can get married." He added that "many priests have ... felt the need of a companion, of a woman, to whom they could get married and raise a family of their own." O'Brien has sparked controversy by strongly opposing gay marriage and gay adoption in the UK.

FILE - A Thursday Sept. 16, 2010 photo from files showing Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien speaking to the media in Edinburgh, Scotland. Roman Catholic priests should be allowed to marry and have children, Britain's most senior Catholic cleric said Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who heads the Roman...
FILE - A Thursday Sept. 16, 2010 photo from files showing Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien speaking to the media in Edinburgh, Scotland. Roman Catholic priests should be allowed to marry and have children,...   (AP Photo/Scott Campbell, File)
Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien speaks to the media in Edinburgh, Scotland, Thursday Sept. 16, 2010.
Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien speaks to the media in Edinburgh, Scotland, Thursday Sept. 16, 2010.   (AP Photo/Scott Campbell)
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