A few days away because of a family bereavement; and I find awaiting me endless emails on the subject of clerical celibacy. "And" (as the Daft Dimbleby said when commentating the 'Queen Mum's' funeral procession because he hadn't done his homework on all the regiments she had a link with and which were marching behind her coffin) "still they come". I'm just deleting them all now unread as fast as they pour in.
Personally, I am unfazed by the question of whether married clergy in the post-Apostolic period did or did not continue to have "sexual relations" with their wives. Let us assume that complete sexual abstinence was the rule. In that case, the approval by the Church in subsequent centuries and in particular contexts of married and sexually active clergies is a clear example of development. And to those of us who believe in development under the safe guidance of a Magisterium, there surely isn't any problem about this.
However, "Continuing Anglicans" with a fetich for clinging to what they believe the Bible says and the "Primitive Church" - whatever that is - did, really have got to disprove the case for clerical abstinence in those "early" days of the Church, or the poor soppy things really are up a gum tree without their trousers on.
There are also not inconsiderable problems for papists who derive extreme conclusions from the case for such abstinence. They have to explain why a "development" sanctioned by the Papacy really is - in their view - so iffy. And since the Latin Church itself has abolished celibacy for all in Major Orders by allowing (not as an exception but as a regular institution) married deacons, and since the Sacrament of Order is one and undivided ... well ... isn't there a spot of explaining to be done there too?
I suspect that there is a fair bit of work to be undertaken here. It should perhaps be done within the context of the very considerable development in the understanding of sexuality which Pius XI displayed in Casti Connubii.