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How priests were introduced to celibacy
Roman Catholic priests were not always celibate with the first pope, Saint Peter a married man.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CELIBACY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
In the 1st century Peter, the first pope, was a married man and so were many of his successors until the 16th century.
- 2nd and 3rd Century - The age of Gnosticism, when it was believed a person cannot be married and be perfect. However, most priests were married.
- 4th Century - Council of Nicea decrees a priest could not marry after ordination; Council of Laodicea decreed priests may no longer sleep with their wives; Pope Siricius left his wife in order to become pope.
- 6th Century - Pope Pelagius II's policy was not to bother married priests as long as they did not hand over church property to wives or children.
- 7th Century - French documents show the majority of priests were married.
- 8th Century - St Boniface reported to the Pope that in Germany almost no bishop or priest was celibate.
- 11th Century - Pope Benedict IX dispensed himself from celibacy and resigned in order to marry; in 1095, Pope Urban II had priests' wives sold into slavery and children were abandoned.
- 12th Century - Under Pope Calistus II, the First Lateran Council decreed that clerical marriages were invalid.
- 15th Century - 50 per cent of priests are married and accepted by the people.
- 16th Century - the Council of Trent states that celibacy and virginity are superior to marriage.
- 20th Century - Second Vatican Council reaffirms the moral primacy of celibacy
- 21st Century - Pope Francis shared the possibility of church discussion on celibacy when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires; he wrote that celibacy "is a matter of discipline, not of faith. It can change" but added "For the moment, I am in favour of maintaining celibacy, with all its pros and cons".
- Information from Future Church http://futurechurch.org and historical sources.