Ex-bishop calls for end to celibacy
Allowing priests to marry would help ease the problems facing the Catholic Church, a senior cleric has claimed.
The ancient clerical vow of celibacy has forced many good men to decide against joining the priesthood, former bishop of Derry Edward Daly said.
"There is certainly an important and enduring place for celibate priesthood," he wrote in his newly-published memoirs.
"But I believe that there should also be a place in the modern Catholic Church for married priesthood and for men who do not wish to commit themselves to celibacy."
The vow dates back to the 11th century and was introduced, in part, to make sure clergy committed themselves to God alone.
A number of married Anglican clergymen who have converted to Catholicism have been given special dispensation to become priests.
But Bishop Daly said the time had come for widespread changes to the rules on celibacy within the church. Extracts of the 77-year-old cleric's book - A Troubled See, Memoirs Of A Derry Bishop - have been published in the Irish News.