Pope Francis has requested that Roman Catholic priests be given the right to get married.
The request applies to priests in Brazil, and is on the agenda for an upcoming synod (church council) in the Amazon region.
A small number of married Roman Catholic priests already exist, including previously married Anglican vicars who have joined the church.
A request to lift the ban on marriage was made by Brazilian bishop Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who reportedly asked the Pope to consider ‘viri probati’, meaning married of great faith, as priests.
Derry priest Father Paddy O’Kane suggested that Pope Francis may move to end celibacy earlier this month, saying there was support amongst the church for the idea.
Fr O’Kane cited Brazilian liberation theologian Leonardo Boff, who said: “The Brazilian bishops, especially the pope’s own personal friend Cardinal Claudio Hummes, have expressly requested Pope Francis to enable married priest in Brazil to return to pastoral minister