Letter: Married priests or faith by restrictions?

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your report 'Married priests 'no problem to Vatican' ' (27 November) says that 'If Dr Leonard (Dr Graham Leonard, the Anglican former bishop of London) were recognised as a Roman Catholic bishop, he would become the first married Catholic bishop in England.' The statement, in an otherwise careful article, goes beyond the evidence.

Beginning with the record of the bishops of York, London and a bishop from an unidentifiable see who attended the council of Arles in 314, the evidence shows there were bishops in this country in the fourth century (albeit the country was then called Britain, not England). That was before the imposition of compulsory celibacy upon the clergy, including bishops, of the western Church. It is therefore probable, and certainly possible, that some of the bishops in question were married.

Yours sincerely,

NORMAN TANNER

Oxford

28 November

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