I earlier responded to the thread,
It reminded me of questions that I have had for some time. I posted a reply there but the administrators deemed it to be too far off-topic and was therefore removed. So I’m posting here as a new thread.
New Testament qualifications for elders are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Similarly, the qualifications for deacons are found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. In the Catholic Church, “elders”, “presbyters”, or “overseers” are synonymous with the office of a bishop, and the term of presbyter is also applied to priests as well.
A common qualification in these passages is that such men must be “the husband of one wife.” However, I’m sure that in the early church there had to be some single men who had charge of certain churches . One example I can think of is Timothy. Paul left him in Ephesus and tasked him with leading that church and to combat false doctrine there (1 Timothy 1:3-4). Was he married? It appears to me that he wasn’t as Paul in 2 Timothy 2:22, counseled his protege to “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace”.
Granted, in 1 Corinthians 7:7, Paul wrote positive words about celibacy: “I wish that all men were such as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” Further down he wrote in verses 32-35 “…The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord, But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of he Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.” It therefore seems to me , that celibacy, although a preferred state for ministry, is not for all and should therefore be optional if the person is so gifted by the Holy Spirit.
So my questions are, when and why did the Roman Catholic Church then make the determination that celibacy was to be required of the clergy?