The Catholic Church was a thousand years old before it took a real stand in favour of celibacy in the twelfth century at the Second Lateran Council held in 1139, when a rule was approved forbidding priests to marry. But it wasn’t until the Council of Trent in 1563, when it definitively adopted the tradition of celibacy.
Protestants took exception to celibacy early on, arguing that it promoted masturbation, homosexuality and illicit fornication. Martin Luther singled out masturbation as one of the gravest offences likely to be committed by those who were celibate.”Nature never lets up,” Luther warned, “we are all driven to the secret sin. To say it crudely but honestly, if it doesn’t go into a woman, it goes into your shirt.”
“We have reason to believe that man first walked upright to free his hands for masturbation.” ― Lily Tomlin
American Protestants in the 17th century, fearful of radical religious sects like the Shakers that celebrated celibacy, came out foursquare against the practice.
– Courtesy of historynewsnetwork.org