Complaints about unchaste priests are common. Our priests wanted to avoid these open scandals, they married and taught that it was lawful for them to enter into marriage. Paul says, "Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife" and "It is better to marry than to be aflame with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:2, 9b).
Second, Christ says, "Not everyone can receive this saying" (Matthew 19:11), where He teaches that not everyone is able to lead a single life. God created human beings for procreation (Genesis 1:28). It is not within a person's power, without God giving a unique gift, to change this creation. Therefore, those who are not able to lead a single life ought to marry. No human law, no vow, can destroy God's commandment and ordinance. [Our] priests teach that it is lawful for them to marry wives.
In the Ancient Church priests were married men. Paul says, "An overseer must be the husband of one wife" (1 Timothy 3:2). Four hundred years ago in Germany, for the first time, priests were forced to lead a single life. This matter was handled so harshly that not only was marriage forbidden in the future, but existing marriages were torn apart, contrary to all laws, divine and human. (pars. 1, 3-13)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.