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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 19:36 GMT
Married Catholic priest ordained
Rev James Bell
Rev Bell needed special permission to be ordained
A married man has been ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in Scotland for the first time in at least 1,000 years.

James Bell, a former Scottish Episcopal Church minister, became a priest at a service in Inverness.

Former Anglican priests, including married ones, have been ordained as Catholic priests in England.

Some have been given posts in Scotland, but Wednesday's ceremony was the first ordination. The move was sanctioned by the Pope.

'New beginning'

Reverend Bell was ordained deacon at Huntly, Aberdeenshire, in September 2004 by the Bishop of Aberdeen, Peter Moran.

Rev Bell, who is in his 60s, has pastoral experience within the Anglican communion in London and Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire, and in Scottish Episcopal charges in Easter Ross and Sutherland.

He said: "It is the fulfilment of a long-standing desire within my Christian pilgrimage, yet in a sense it is a wonderful new beginning.

"I have been encouraged by the warmth of the reception given to me and my wife, Lesley, by the clergy and the congregations within the Diocese of Aberdeen."

Bishop Moran said: "I am grateful to the Roman authorities for the exceptional permission which allows me to ordain James Bell.

"He brings long pastoral experience, deep religious commitment, and a warm and friendly personality. He is a welcome recruit to our diocesan clergy team."

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