An ancient tradition for the religiously inclined, celibacy was adopted early on by the Christian church as a way to demonstrate one's devotion to prayer and the Holy Life. Celibacy was not universal among the clergy, however, until the 10th century . At that point it was made mandatory for those who took Holy Orders (to be a priest, brother, or nun). This was done for a number of reasons, one of the non-religious ones being the need to protect church property from married abbots and bishops who wished to provide for their wife and children. A bishop or priest could hold personal property, as well as control church assets, and it became difficult to separate the two when there were heirs involved. The celibacy rule did not eliminate sexual activity or family life among the clergy. Many priests took common-law wives, bishops kept mistriesses, and nuns and monks were known to mingle for more than just prayer.