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Last Updated: Monday, 22 August 2005, 04:04 GMT 05:04 UK
Spain gets first married priest
By Danny Wood
BBC News, Madrid

Catholic priest and cross
According to Church rules, Catholic priests are celibate
A Roman Catholic bishop on the Spanish island of Tenerife has ordained a man as a Catholic priest despite the fact that he is married with two children.

The 64-year-old former Anglican pastor, David Gliwitzki, was ordained in La Laguna on the Canary Island.

The Bishop of Tenerife said the move was a unique exception within the Spanish Church.

According to Church rules, priests are supposed to be celibate. But the ordination was approved by the Pope.

Surprise move

Father Gliwitzki is originally from Zimbabwe.

Before moving to Spain, he was part of an Anglican delegation to the Vatican in Rome, which aimed to forge stronger ties between the two Churches.

The Bishop of Tenerife says particular consideration was given to Father Gliwitzki's circumstances as an Anglican, which is a Church that permits priests to marry.

The bishop says this is not a step towards the abolition of Roman Catholic celibacy.

But it is a surprise - especially in Spain, where the Church is particularly conservative and very actively against any softening of existing doctrines.

Just weeks ago, the Roman Catholic Church was helping to organise large public demonstrations against a new law that allows same-sex couples to marry.

The ordination of the former Anglican vicar also comes as Pope Benedict XVI calls on followers to hold fast to the core values of their faith.

Father Gliwitzki says he is very happy as he looks forward to hosting a Catholic Mass.

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