Ratzinger on Married Clergy
The story is that while meeting with the bishops of New York State, Benedict XVI asked what the views of their people are with regard to returning to the tradition of a married clergy. Bishop Matthew Clark, of Rochester, is supposed to have said: "It's odd, Holy Father, that you have asked us this question; we have just had a synod in my diocese and 90% of the laity voted in favor of a married clergy." The other bishops said the same thing: that the majority of their faithful favored a married clergy. the source of this is supposed to be Tom Fox, former editor of the "National Catholic Reporter," in remarks at a meeting of "Corpus", and depending on a reliable source, which must have been one of the bishops present.
The words said to have been used by the Pope perhaps indicate what he has in mind, that is, that a married clergy would not be an novelty, but a return to an ancient tradition. This would be a way of replying to traditionalists, that he was not contradicting tradition, but following it. By asking for the advice of his brother bishops, he is implementing Vatican II's teaching on collegiality. He wouldn't have asked the question if he didn't foresee a possible change in the law.
A statement of the new Pope when he was prefect of the CDF confirms this interpretation. On vacation in Regensburg two or three years ago, he stated to Catholic journalists: "If the Church can not guarantee the Eucharist in all parishes, she has to modify the conditions for access to the priesthood."
The Italian journal, La Repubblica, of July 28, says that this way of asking a question if typical of the new Pope's way of addressing a question. "The new Pope does not want to bring a solution already made to the serious problems confronting the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches. His manner is that of a man who reflects, who researches, and who learns. While his predecessor seems to many like a new Moses who wanted to make his Church enter into the third millennium, the present Pope appears to be a man who is searching."