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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Celebrity cleric voices support for married priests

Celebrity Irish priest Fr Ray Kelly has voiced his support for allowing priests to marry.

However, the parish priest of St Brigid’s & St Mary’s parish in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, admitted that he doesn’t think this will happen in his lifetime.

“The option should be there for priests to marry. But I personally feel Rome moves very slowly and that’s their prerogative. I don’t think I’ll see it in my lifetime,” Fr Kelly told The Irish Mirror.

“For the likes of me, most of us have taken a vow of celibacy and that’s fine,” he continued. “But because of the introduction of women priests in the Anglican Church, the ministers had been married and they didn’t want women priests and they were accepted into the Catholic Church now, so we do have them.”

Fr Kelly shot to fame in 2014 after a video of him singing a modified version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah at an Irish couple’s wedding went viral. From there, the priest released a 10-track album through Universal Music. Titled Where I Belong, the album contains his version of Hallelujah, his take on REM’s Everybody Hurts, as well as a handful of Celtic-inspired arrangements.

In 2018, Fr Kelly auditioned for ITV talent show Britain’s Got Talent, singing his rendition of Everybody Hurts, and reached the semi-finals, narrowly missing out on the final. He is currently taking part in the fourth season of the Irish edition of Dancing with the Stars, which airs on RTÉ.

Picture: Fr Ray Kelly during the audition stage for ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent. (Tom Dymond/Syco/Thames/PA).