I confess I had never considered this before. When Henry VIII made himself the head of the church in England, it became possible for hitherto celibate priests to marry. This situation continued under Henry’s son, Edward VI. But then, Catholic Queen Mary ascended the throne. . .and promptly sacked all those priests who had married.
Some had much to say on this unsatisfactory situation, including the religious reformer John Ponet (b. c. 1514, d. 1556). To read more, click here.
Note: There are other interesting matters/links on this site, which is concerned with medieval manuscripts, not simply Ponet’s thoughts on married/celibate priests. I have merely picked out the matter of the priests.