Over time, rules about sexual abstinence grew out of the belief that sexual intercourse makes a person "unclean," based largely on the belief that women are less pure than men and hence constitute a form of ritual contamination.
The Council of Trent, called to combat the challenges posed by the Protestant Reformation, made an interesting statement about the church's position on family values: If anyone says that it is not better and more godly to live in virginity or in the unmarried state than to marry, let him be anathema.
Another factor in the push for clerical celibacy was the problematic relationship the Catholic Church had with real estate and inherited land.
Priests and bishops were not just religious leaders, they also had political power based on the land they controlled.
A common critique of theistic religion is the extent to which religious rules and doctrines created by human beings for the purpose of maintaining power and control over others are attributed to a divine source.
Pretending that human rules are God's rules helps prevent them from changing or being questioned.
A powerful example of this is the celibacy of priests in Catholic Christianity, as demonstrated by its historical development and lack of consistent adherence.
If there were any divine origin to religious rules, we shouldn't be able to trace their development in human history and how they were conditioned by historical, cultural circumstances.
It's no surprise that churches say little about how today's doctrines did not always exist in the past and, in fact, aren't as absolute as they seem.
Again, clerical celibacy in Catholicism is a good example of this. Defenders of celibacy rely heavily on Matthew , where Jesus is quoted as saying that "..have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever can accept this ought to accept this." Here, "eunuchs" is interpreted to be a reference renouncing marriage and being celibate, but if Jesus placed such a high value on celibacy, why were most if not all of his apostles married?
It's implausible that unmarried followers could not be found, so it's implausible that celibacy was even preferred, much less required.