The first-ever ordination of a married Catholic priest in Scotland is due to take place soon in the Diocese of Aberdeen. The Reverend James Bell, a former priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church, was ordained Deacon at Huntly in September last by Bishop Peter A. Moran of Aberdeen. Bishop Moran will again officiate, this time in Inverness, on 2 March. Former Anglican priests, including married priests, have already been ordained as Catholic priests in England, and some have been given posts in Scotland, but this will be the first such ordination ceremony to take place North of the Border. Deacon Bell, who is in his sixties, has extensive pastoral experience within the Anglican Communion in London and in Peterborough, and in Scottish Episcopal Church charges in Easter Ross and in Sutherland. In recent years, since becoming a Roman Catholic, he has undertaken intensive additional studies. Bishop Moran said: "Deacon Bell's wife, Lesley, has supported her husband in his decision to apply for ordination, and throughout the additional studies he has had to undertake. His ordination as a priest, and any subsequent appointments, do not of themselves alter her status or responsibilities within the Catholic Church. She remains entitled to her privacy." Bishop Moran added: "James Bell's experience and personal qualities will be of great value in our diocese. I am delighted that permission has been granted to ordain him as a priest. Although, a married priest is an unfamiliar idea for Catholics in this country, I am confident that we will all welcome James in his new role and Lesley as his wife." Source: Scottish Catholic Media Office
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