this is a pullquote
The most senior Catholic cleric in Britain has suggested that priests should be able to marry.
In a major departure from current church teachings, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who heads the church in Scotland, said the new pope could consider changing the rules around priestly celibacy.
Catholic priests have, in fact, been permitted to marry and have sex for longer in the Catholic Church's lifetime than they have been forbidden. It was only in the 11th century that the laws insisting upon celibacy for all priests were officially formalised.
In an interview with the BBC, Cardinal O'Brien (74), who is the only person in Britain with a vote in the papal conclave and who was born in Antrim, said the new pope could look into changing the rules on priestly celibacy because it was not of divine origin.
"For example, the celibacy of the clergy, whether priests should marry – Jesus didn't say that," he said. "There was a time when priests got married, and of course we know at the present time in some branches of the church – in some branches of the Catholic Church – priests can get married, so that is obviously not of divine origin and it could get discussed again."
However, the cardinal remained adamant that basic church teachings could never change on issues such as abortion and euthanasia.
Dr O'Brien also said it was time to think seriously about having a pope from outside Europe.
He said he would be "open to a pope from anywhere if I thought it was the right man, whether it was Europe or Asia or Africa or wherever."