POPE Francis has been asked to consider allowing married men to
be ordained to the priesthood, in an open letter sent by Roman
Catholic MPs and peers.
The letter, signed by 21 MPs and peers from across the political
parties, asks: "Your two predecessors, Pope John Paul II and Pope
Benedict, guided we are sure by the Holy Spirit, generously
permitted the ordination of married Anglican clergy as Roman
Catholic priests. These men and their families have proved to be a
great blessing to our parishes.
"Based on that very positive experience, we would request that,
in the same spirit, you permit the ordination of married Catholic
men to the priesthood in Great Britain.
"In recent years we have been saddened by the loss of far too
many good priests. If the celibacy rule were relaxed, there would
be many others who would seek ordination, bringing great gifts to
The letter suggests that celibacy should be retained for
bishops, to signal the "continuing high regard we have for those
who are able to live a genuinely celibate life".