The requirement for priestly celibacy is “not of divine origin” and could be reconsidered, says Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who heads the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland.
According to O’Brien, “many priests have found it very difficult to cope with celibacy.” He says he has never considered marriage himself, but “would be very happy if others had the opportunity of considering whether or not they could or should get married.”
74-year-old O’Brien will be a part of the conclave that will choose the next pontiff and said that the next pope would be free to consider changing church policy on issues such as celibacy for priests.
His reason for this: “We know at the present time in some branches of the church—in some branches of the Catholic church—priests can get married, so that is obviously not of divine origin and it could get discussed again.”
He told BBC Scotland that “the celibacy of the clergy, whether priests should marry—Jesus didn’t say that.”
O’Brien appears to be on the more liberal side of the Catholic Church, as he also said that it was time to think about having a pope who hails from outside Europe.