From Christian Cochini, S.J. “The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy”
from page 139
"The letter of Ignatius of Antioch to Polycarp, “bishop over the Smyrnaean Church- or rather, who has God the Father for bishop over him, together with the Lord Jesus Christ” includes among other advice, a warning to embrace humility and chastity so as not to lose, out of pride, the benefit of a difficult virtue. On his way to martyrdom, the bishop recommends that his colleague enlighten Christians on that point: “If someone is capable of passing all his days in chastity, in honor of the Lord’s body, let him do so without boasting; for if he boasts of it, he is lost, and if the news gets beyond the bishop’s ears it is all over with his chastity.”"
from page 140
"The interest in this variation is obvious. If one considers the possibility of a contemptous attitude toward the bishop on the part of the “nonmarried” class, it is because there were many men bound by marriage at the heads of the Christian communities. At a time when virginity was crowned with honor, there was a strong temptation for those who had made a profession of chastity to compare themselves advantageously to others, their bishops included."
"Chapter 5. The duties of husbands and wives.
Flee evil arts; but all the more discourse in public regarding them. Speak to my sisters, that **they love the Lord, and be satisfied with their husbands both in the flesh and spirit. **In like manner also, exhort my brethren, in the name of Jesus Christ, that they love their wives, even as the Lord the Church. Ephesians 5:25 If any one can continue in a state of purity, to the honour of Him who is Lord of the flesh, let him so remain without boasting. If he begins to boast, he is undone; and if he reckon himself greater than the bishop, he is ruined. But it becomes both men and women who marry, to form their union with the approval of the bishop, that their marriage may be according to God, and not after their own lust. Let all things be done to the honour of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 "
If someone continues as a virgin, how could they boast and “reckon himself greater than the bishop” if bishops were not married?
Is this honor and exhortation to virginity before marriage, or virginity and renouncing the possibility of marriage?
If “their marriage is according to God” then do they not remain pure?