Letter To The "Western New York Catholic"
- Mary Only "Engaged" At Annunciation? -

Following is a letter from James Likoudis, president emeritus of Catholics United for the Faith, writing to the Editor of the "Western New York Catholic", the Diocesn paper of Buffalo, pointing out misinterpretations regarding Marian Doctrine.


Editor, Western New York Catholic
795 Main St.
Buffalo, N.Y. 14203

January 6, 1997

Dear Editor,

I have been a long-time reader of WNY/Catholic, and was astonished to read in the December issue Esther Rae's column that at the Annunciation Mary was merely "engaged" to St. Joseph. The modern sense of being "engaged" does not reflect the meaning of the "betrothal" entered into by Mary and St. Joseph.

In his General Audience of 8/21/96, Pope John Paul II has explained the biblical meaning of "betrothal" among the Jews:

"... The ancient Jewish custom of betrothal provided for a contract and normally had a definitive value. It actually introduced the betrothed to the marital state, even if the marriage was brought to completion only when the young man took the girl to his home."

In his Apostolic Exhortation on St. Joseph, "Guardian of the Redeemer", the Holy Father noted that at the Annunciation Mary was already the married spouse of St. Joseph. It was "after Her marriage to Joseph, [that] Mary is found to be with child by the Holy Spirit". It is tragic that the unwarranted sense of "engaged" should be fostered by an erroneous translation of Matthew 1:18 read recently at Masses. Too many Catholic publications have furthered the nonsense of the Blessed Virgin Mary having been a "poor pregnant un-wed mother" as I read recently in yet another 'Catholic' newspaper.

Since I understand that Esther Rae's "Commission on Women in Church and Society" concerns itself with exploitation of women and girls, it would be interesting to know what actions the Commission has taken to counteract Planned Parenthood's chemical warfare on women, the activities of local Buffalo area abortionists and pornographers, and the Federal government's pressuring women into the labor force and military combat roles.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
—  James Likoudis
President Emeritus
Catholics United for the Faith (CUF)

Author's note:    What about the Catholic Press?

Generally everyone knows that the secular Press is notoriously anti-religious to begin with. However, when dealing with Catholic issues it often acquires a perversely ferocious and biased anti-Catholic character. So, one may ask, What about the Catholic Press?

Alas, it too has been a frequent purveyor of Dissent and Disobedience to Church authority as can be seen by perusal of such magazines as America, U.S. Catholic, St. Anthony's Messenger, Church, Commonweal, and the newspaper National Catholic Reporter. As a great Catholic columnist Paul Hallet wrote in 1978:

"The Catholic Press exists for the prime purpose of teaching Catholic truth as it has been handed down by the Magisterium. If it confuses this purpose by printing matter to the contrary, it has lost the purpose of its existence."

About James Likoudis
James Likoudis is an expert in Catholic apologetics. He is the author of several books dealing with Catholic-Eastern Orthodox relations, including his most recent "The Divine Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and Modern Eastern Orthodoxy: Letters to a Greek Orthodox on the Unity of the Church." He has written many articles published by various religious papers and magazines.
He can be reached at:  jlikoudis@cuf.org, or visit  Mr. James Likoudis' Homepage