Was it an original idea of theirs?

Or was it about the legitimization of an already existing custom?

For example, Heinrich Bullinger's father was a dean already in 1504 living in a concubinage due to an unofficial sanctioning by the bishop of Constance.

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    Was it an original idea of theirs ? - Certainly not. Neither New Testament scripture (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6-7), nor the other apostolic churches (Eastern and Oriental Orthodox), have ever imposed celibacy on Christian clergy. Even in Jerome's times, Western Christian still preferred married clergy over their celibate counterparts, about which fact he complains in his books against Jovianus.
    – Lucian
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


According to Ivan Gobry's Martin Luther, Luther thought that

Sin is undefeatable, for lust will inexorably take residencde in each of us, therefore, to condemn oneself to celibacy, intending to please God, is to engage in self-deception and hypocrisy.

Gobry also says that Luther believed the requirement that priests and monks stay celibate to be an unjustified limitation on their freedom:

Why does Rome with such persistence continue to insist that clerics bear the burden of celibacy? Out of greed alone! An unmarried priest bequeaths all his property to the Pope, but one who has a wife and children, will leave the inheritance to them.

(Unfortunately I'm translating from a Russian translation.)

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    These are good points but I'm still not sure whether these guys invented clerical marriage or just defended something already existing at the time
    – Vanessa
    Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 16:09
  • 1
    I always thought that the celibate priest concept was more about economy and control rather than belief, this at least lets me think that I am onto something.
    – MichaelF
    Commented Nov 2, 2011 at 16:28

God said in Genesis 2:18, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:1-2, "Now for the matters you wrote about: 'It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.' But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife..." (Ever notice how many times on the news, priests get in trouble with this?)

Zwingli and Luther both had a great understanding of the Bible, and reformed many of the catholic church's laws. So they probably found these verses and acted on them.

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    Very well possible they based it on such passages. If only we had proof!
    – Cerberus
    Commented Oct 26, 2011 at 2:06
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    The writer of that particular passage was notoriously celibate (as can be seen in the following few verses), as was the faith's own founder. Nevertheless, both agree that it was not mandatory (Matthew 19:10-12).
    – Lucian
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 10:06

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