Pope Francis has requested that Roman Catholic Priest to be given the right to get married.
The request applies to priest in Brazil and is on the agenda of the upcoming synod (church council ) in the Amazon region.
The controversial move would address the critical shortage of men joining the priesthood, but it is likely to drive divisions through the church by the enraging conservative factions.
A small number of married catholic priest 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.