The Pope met with his closest advisors yesterday to talk about married priests. Of course, the media was all aflurry with the misguided conception that the pope would emerge from this meeting and declare priests able to be married. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when this never happens....
1. The Pope isn't going to change long-standing church policy by meeting with eight people.
2. The priests that have already promised celibacy (myself included) will not be affected by this.
3. There is a legitamate reason why the church should not move in this direction at this point in history. The reason has to do with society's misguided fixation with sex. We are entering an era in which the very idea of celibacy is almost uniformly repugnant to larger society. Sex is a part of the dating process, not something that should be reserved to the married state. In the midst of this, an old heresy has reemerged that posits that Jesus was married and has children. The church needs to stand up against this heresy in all its forms. If, at the peak of this heresy, the church were to allow for married priests, the very people we need to image Christ for society, we would be sending a very confusing message. We would either be admitting that we believe sex is a necessary part of human development or we would be perpetuating the heresy that Christ was married with children.
All of this leads me to believe that, rather than declaring it possible for priests to marry the pope will likely seek to explain with greater clarity the church's theological rationale for "celibacy for the sake of the kingdom"....again.