Retired English Cardinal Advocates for the Ordination of Married Men

Cardinal-Cormac-p00948kz_640_360In a radio interview to be broadcast today, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster and former President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales, noted that he would ask the Vatican to ordain “suitable married men” to help alleviate a shortage of clergy.

“If I were a bishop of a diocese that had a very small number of priests … I would ask permission I think of Rome to ordain suitable married men,” Murphy-O’Connor told Radio 4. “But I think it’s got to be done very carefully because I think celibacy is a great gift to the church. But circumstances may I think … may impel bishops and bishops conferences to ordain married men.”

The interview was apparently recorded prior to the sudden resignation of Bishop Kieran Conry, who recently admitted to an affair with a female member of his diocese that lasted six years.

The UK’s Catholic Herald report of the Murphy O’Connor radio interview can be found here.


  1. I suspect that if a bishop asked this pope’s permission to ordain married men, even more so if a bishops conference asked, the answer would be yes.

  2. The Cardinal says: “If I were a bishop of a diocese with a very small number of priests….”. This is an extremely vague statement. It raises
    the question : how small? Really it is rather meaningless, as it does not say whether he would or he would not in any real circumstance.

    Like Pope Francis, the Cardinal would do well to engage his brain before speaking.

  3. My archdiocese has reduced the number of parishes and still requires the services of about 25 international priests to staff remaining ones. In six years half of our priests will be of retirement age. Sounds small enough to me, but I’ve heard no other priest advocate a change in discipline and certainly not the bishop. I sense some kind of pathology in this avoidance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *