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Priests lie on the floor as Pope Francis leads a Mass during their ordination ceremony in St Peter's Basilica  (AP Photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Pool)

The new push to end priestly celibacy

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Those who want to overturn the ancient discipline are energetic, well organised and influential. But can they persuade Pope Francis to make such a radical change?

Pope Francis and the Catholic Church were the subject of an Intelligence Squared debate

Parliamentarians believe a change in rules would lead to growth of the priesthood

Cardinal O'Brien (Photo: PA)

Scotland’s cardinal tells the BBC that clerical celibacy could, in principle, be re-considered

President Christian Wulff, right, and Chancellor Angela Merkel welcome Benedict XVI at Tegel airport this morning (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

His trip to Germany this week is his first foray as Pope outside Germany’s Catholic strongholds

Germany's bishops said they would discuss the proposals at a meeting in March (Photo: CNS)

More than 140 Austrian, German and Swiss professors also urged the Church to ordain women

In 1970 Fr Joseph Ratzinger signed a petition that suggested the Church re-examine the obligation of priestly celibacy, according to a German newspapaer

Priests attend Pope Benedict XVI's Mass celebrated outside the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters)

Despite the furore over condoms, Light of the World, the book-length interview with Pope Benedict, is about a whole lot more than sex.