BISHOP Edward Daly, one of the most respected and influential religious leaders in Ireland, says married men should be allowed to be priests in the Catholic Church.
The retired Bishop of Derry says there needs to be a place in the modern Church for a married priesthood and “for men who do not wish to commit themselves to celibacy”.
Dr. Daly, writing in his new memoirs - serialised exclusively in this week’s ‘Derry Journal’ - says: “I ask, in all charity, is it not time for our Church to make a vocation to the priesthood possible and accessible for more men?
“Something needs to done and done urgently and I hope that senior members of the clergy and laity make their views more forcefully known, views that are often expressed privately but seldom publicly.”
Bishop Daly, whose comments are likely to send shockwaves through the Church, says the introduction of non-celibates into the priesthood “would certainly not cure all our problems, but it should serve to ease them”.
Dr. Daly says too many good men have been lost to the priesthood because of the celibacy rule, adding: “I see and meet men who would potentially be fine priests - but the rule of celibacy causes or has caused them to consider other vocations.”
See pages 6 & 7 for exclusive extracts from Bishop Daly’s new memoir, ‘A Troubled See’.