May 15, 2005
Letter to the Editor
P.O. Box 285
Elmira, NY 14902
Joseph Hovsop's April 28 [comments in the Opinion Column]
claims that the Catholic Church has in the past sanctioned
the practice of contraception and the ordination of female
deacons. There is no historical evidence for either assertion.
From the early Fathers of the Church, such as St. Augustine
to St. Thomas Aquinas to Pius XI to Paul VI's "Humanae
Vitae", there is remarkable doctrinal continuity regarding
the sin of contraception. Vatican II [Council] regarded the
Church's teaching on the subject as irreversible.
As to the claim of female deacons having been ordained,
modern studies by Catholic and Eastern Orthodox scholars have
shown that there was a liturgical rite for "ordaining"
deaconesses, but such deaconesses were not
sacramentally ordained to the third degree of Holy
Orders. In other words, the "deaconess" in the early Church
was not the clerical equivalent of the male deacon.
The continuing agitation for the sacramental ordination of
female deacons and priests evident in the Diocese of
Rochester is simply a sorry reflection of radical feminism's
success in duping Cafeteria Catholics with historical
— James Likoudis,
Montour Falls, NY 14865