The idea that clerical celibacy was established in the Church as a medieval development was strongly contested by a number of scholars in the late 20th century. Some characteristic works in English are:
Cholij, R. Clerical Celibacy in East and West. Gracewing. Herefordshire. 1989;Cardinal Stickler’s brief account is a most useful summary of the case for clerical celibacy. He noted that there had been a number of important recent studies devoted to the history of celibacy in both the East and the West, and that,
Cochini, C. The apostolic origins of priestly celibacy. Ignatius. San Francisco. 1990;
Heid, S. Celibacy in the Early Church. Ignatius. San Francisco. 2000;
Stickler, A. The case for clerical celibacy. Ignatius. San Francisco. 1995.
"These studies have either not yet penetrated the general consciousness or they have been hushed up if they were capable of influencing that consciousness in undesirable ways."This unfortunately remains the case as articles continue to appear, and assertions continue to be made without finding it necessary even to address the research of these scholars. The debate is still legitimate, but in some quarters it seems that a substantial case on one side is completely ignored.
So I was glad to read on Sandro Magister's blog last month the article by Cardinal Brandmüller which gives a brief primer on some of the important points. See: Francis Speaks, Scalfari Transcribes, Brandmüller Shreds
Photo credit: Ivo Giannoni di Osimo (via New Liturgical Movement)