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Catholic Church Leader Favors Married Clergy

September 07, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

The arguments in favor of a married Roman Catholic clergy "are extremely strong, perhaps overwhelming," an influential British church leader has told the National Conference of Priests of England and Wales.

The official, Father Timothy Radcliffe, former master general of the Dominicans, spoke at the group's annual meeting in London.

Radcliffe said his main reservation about married priests is that having a family would oblige priests to fit into the social system, whereas in his view, one aspect of the priesthood expresses "the scandalous outreach of God" to those on the edge of society.

"This implies a certain social dislocation for the ordained priest," Radcliffe said. "We do not have a clear place in the social hierarchy. We are slippery figures who should be equally at home with dukes or dustmen."

Radcliffe's remarks came two days after the issue had been raised by a Scottish bishop in the context of the growing shortage of priests.

Bishop Maurice Taylor told the newspaper Scotland: "To me, we are being faced with a question. What is more important: to allow people a better chance of getting to Mass on Sunday, or to keep priests celibate?"

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