The Bishop of Killaloe, Willie Walsh, has said that Catholic priests should be allowed to marry.
In an interview with the Sunday Tribune newspaper, Bishop Walsh said there was room for both married and celibate priests in the Church.
He is the first member of the Catholic hierarchy since 1995 to call for an end to the ban on married clergy.
Ten years ago, Bishop Brendan Comiskey was summonsed to the Vatican after he said the question of clerical celibacy should be open for discussion.
In the interview, Bishop Walsh said he would have no difficulty with married priests in the Catholic Church.
He said there needed to be a debate on celibacy in the Church and the whole issue of sexuality in light of the present crisis the Catholic Church is going through.
In the last 25 years, over 100,000 Catholic priests have married. Bishop Walsh said he has known some of these men and they were a great loss to the Church.
He said it was possible that Catholic priests would be allowed to marry in the future.