Catholic Family News

This Month’s Edition

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January 2020 Contents

Survey of Amazon Synod Final Document: Vatican II with an Amazonian Face (Matt Gaspers)

A little over two months have passed since the closing of the Pan-Amazon Synod (Oct. 6-27, 2019), the latest exercise in what Pope Francis has called the “path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.” The dust has settled and I have had a chance to review the Synod’s final document in full, which was originally composed in Spanish and subsequently translated into English by LifeSiteNews in early November due to the absence of an official English text. (In early December, the Vatican finally released an official English translation.)

Another lengthy text (albeit shorter than the Instrumentum Laboris), the Synod’s final document consists of 120 paragraphs divided into five chapters (plus a brief introduction and conclusion) and spans some 25 pages (minus the table of contents and per-paragraph voting record). Verbosity aside, there are several concerning themes in the text – some drearily familiar, others more novel – that warrant a firm critique based on the Church’s perennial Magisterium. Such is the purpose of the present article, which I intend to keep as succinct as possible.

A “New Paradigm” Opposed to Tradition

For starters, as has become the norm with post-conciliar texts, the Amazon Synod’s final document (FD) bears not a single citation to a text issued prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), thus reinforcing the impression (for the umpteenth time) that many, if not most, of the Church’s current hierarchy considers Vatican II “an end of Tradition, a new start from zero,” to quote the famous lament of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Address to the Bishops of Chile, July 13, 1988). The presence of the phrase “Church of the Second Vatican Council” in the text (n. 87) only confirms this suspicion.

Although FD invokes “Tradition” a few times (e.g., nn. 5, 87, 113), it fails to demonstrate actual continuity with traditional Catholic doctrine (bare assertions do not suffice). Instead, the text is clearly focused on “embracing and practicing” what it calls “the new paradigm of integral ecology, the care of the common home [based on Pope Francis’ eco-encyclical Laudato Si’] and the defense of the Amazon” (FD, n. 4). Click here to continue reading

Diagnosing the Disease: Archbishop Viganò Breaks Ranks, Identifies Root Problem (Brian M. McCall)

Imagine that you discover a large tumor growing on your body. You visit three different doctors to decide who should treat you. The first doctor tells you not to worry. You do not need to be afraid of the tumor but rather embrace it and accompany it on its growth.  Its emergence signifies a new springtime in your life that will make you better than your old boring, uninteresting self. The second doctor admits that it is a tumor but says it is not really that serious. All he suggests is to take some mind-numbing drugs that will make you believe the tumor is not there anymore. You can go through life believing nothing has changed, notwithstanding the growing tumor.

The third physician, however, immediately identifies the tumor as malignant and a threat to the entire body. He suggests he take you immediately to the operating room and cut it out, root and branch. He then says you will need to go on a strong dose of chemo therapy and radiation to eradicate all traces of this growing tumor. Now, which doctor would you rather treat you?

For more than the past half-century, the Mystical Body of Christ has alternated between the first two physicians: one proclaiming the unique beauty of the tumor that needs to be fed and allowed to spread, the other treating only the visible symptoms with mind-numbing liturgy and nonsensical doctrine that encourages simply forgetting about the tumor growing within. Only a few physicians of souls (Archbishop Lefebvre primarily) have called for the complete removal of the malignant growth.

It is therefore encouraging when one of the second-type of physicians – one who attended for many years in the treatment room of the first type – finally throws down his surgical gloves, calls the tumor for what it is, and states the obvious, it is producing all the symptoms.

That is exactly what happened when Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò uttered the following… To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

*Popes Speak* Excerpts from Gregory XVI’s Mirari Vos on Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism

Editor’s Note: As we continue to analyze the results of last year’s Amazon Synod (Oct. 6-27, 2019) – and several articles in this month’s issue offer such analysis – it is important to recall that one of the root errors in both the Synod working document (Instrumentum Laboris) and final document is religious indifferentism, a “perverse opinion” which promotes the false idea “that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained” (see below, n. 13). Spawned by Freemasonry and spread during the Enlightenment, religious indifferentism – together with “liberty of conscience”, to which it gave rise – has repeatedly been condemned by numerous Popes but has unfortunately been resurgent since the Second Vatican Council. It continues to plague the Mystical Body of Christ and must be extirpated in order to restore health to the same.


To All Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops of the Catholic World.

Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.

Encyclical Delayed Due to Many Burdens

1. We think that you wonder why, from the time of Our assuming the pontificate, We have not yet sent a letter to you as is customary and as Our benevolence for you demanded. We wanted very much to address you by that voice by which We have been commanded, in the person of blessed Peter, to strengthen the brethren [cf. Luke 22:32]. You know what storms of evil and toil, at the beginning of Our pontificate, drove Us suddenly into the depths of the sea. If the right hand of God had not given Us strength, We would have drowned as the result of the terrible conspiracy of impious men. The mind recoils from renewing this by enumerating so many dangers; instead We bless the Father of consolation Who, having overthrown all enemies, snatched Us from the present danger. When He had calmed this violent storm, He gave Us relief from fear. At once We decided to advise you on healing the wounds of Israel; but the mountain of concerns We needed to address in order to restore public order delayed Us.

2. In the meantime, We were again delayed because of the insolent and factious men who endeavored to raise the standard of treason. Eventually, We had to use Our God-given authority to restrain the great obstinacy of these men with the rod [cf. 1 Cor. 4:21]. Before We did, their unbridled rage seemed to grow from continued impunity and Our considerable indulgence. For these reasons Our duties have been heavy.

3. But when We had assumed Our pontificate according to the custom and institution of Our predecessors and when all delays had been laid aside, We hastened to you. So We now present the letter and testimony of Our good will toward you on this happy day, the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin. Since she has been Our patron and savior amid so many great calamities, We ask her assistance in writing to you and her counsels for the flock of Christ. Click here to continue reading

Fallout from the Amazon Synod (Peter Kwasniewski, Ph.D.)

Catholics everywhere have been disturbed, scandalized, and galvanized into prayer and action by the “Amazon Synod” of October 2019. It behooves us to understand well the most important issues involved so that we may speak clearly to others about them and, most importantly, recommit ourselves to adoration of the true God in a spirit of reparation.

In this three-part series for Catholic Family News, I will succinctly present my evaluation of this epochal event, looking at four aspects: (1) violations of the first Commandment, (2) the confusion of inculturation with syncretism, (3) the proposal to optionalize clerical celibacy, and (4) the proposal to ordain deaconesses. These four aspects are not unrelated to one another; in fact, they are all pieces of an agenda of wickedness. The Old Testament displays again and again, for our instruction as Christians (cf. Rom 15:4), the mutual causality of sins against the First Commandment and sins against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments: adultery leads to idolatry, and idolatry to adultery. More generally, moral corruption leads to religious and doctrinal corruption, and vice versa.

Idolatry Committed

The Ten Commandments are, all the same, listed in order of importance. Think about what that means: having false gods is a sin worse than adultery or murder! This flies in the face of Protestant bourgeois morality and its secular version, moral therapeutic Deism, according to which having a “normal family life” and “good manners” is seen as more important than worshiping the true God in the true religion He has revealed. If we do not put first things first, we will be punished by a chaos in which nothing of value will be able to survive. Secondary things do depend on primary ones. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

Rise of the One-World Religion: Is Francis Playing the End Game? (Christopher A. Ferrara)

An Illusory “Civilization of Love”

Throughout his pontificate, John Paul II relentlessly promoted an illusory “civilization of love” that was supposed to emerge “[a]t the dawn of a new millennium,” when “there is growing hope that relationships between people will be increasingly inspired by the ideal of a truly universal brotherhood.” This “universal brotherhood” is not to be confused with the worldwide unity of the Christian faithful in the Mystical Body of Christ, which is His Church. Nor can it be confused with fulfillment of the divine commission to “teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19-20).

It was Paul VI who coined the catchphrase “civilization of love.” In his homily of May 17, 1970,  on Pentecost Sunday, the deluded pontiff extolled the great renewal of humanity that was expected to coincide with the waves of irenicism and fatuous optimism about the “modern world” that had emanated from the strange texts of the Second Vatican Council, whose sociological and anthropological commentary on modernity has no place in the perennial Magisterium. …

Masonic “Brotherhood of Man”

It is easy to see why Freemasonry, following its rapid spread throughout the world following the formation of the London Grand Lodge in 1717, has come in for more papal condemnations than any other threat to the Church, for it was conceived and spread precisely as an anti-Church whose religion was the “brotherhood of man” without the Mystical Body of Christ. Freemasonry aimed to offer “all that the Church of old had offered, for the Church of the Middle Ages was at the same time a center where the people met, the guardian of dogmas and essential truths, the protectress of morality, the dispenser of spiritual and material help, and the stage manager of social life.”

Despite its appearance after the Council, before Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s arrival in Rome the “civilization of love” was just another empty slogan in the post-Vatican II miasma of neologisms that have de facto replaced the perennial teaching of the Church on the necessity of belonging to her for salvation. John Paul II’s scandalous Assisi events, which assembled “representatives” of various man-made religions to “pray for peace”—everything from Animism to Zoroastrianism—were indeed concrete gestures intended to manifest the fantasy of a “civilization of love,” but they were mere publicity stunts that accomplished nothing beyond the by now programmatic post-conciliar affirmation of other religionists in their errors. …

Things were bad enough before Bergoglio’s arrival. But this Pope has grand plans to catch up to the ever-receding mirage Pope Paul first placed before the gaze of the faithful. All indications are that he intends literally to institutionalize “the civilization of love” in a global regime wherein the Catholic Church would be reduced to the role of what Antonio Socci has described as a “social assistant to the New World Order.” To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

*Lessons in Catholic Education* Purity of Heart and Chastity of Body (Fr. David Sherry, SSPX)

“How can a young man keep his way pure?” This question is one that leads to much worry for parents, since the sin of impurity causes the damnation of many and the ruin of many marriages.

Distinguishing Purity and Chastity

Purity and chastity are not exactly the same thing. A good way of seeing the difference is to know that the good angels are pure, but they are not chaste. They are pure because they are free of sin and selfishness. However, they are not chaste because in order to be chaste, one must have the ability to procreate. This, angels cannot do. And so, for us, our bodies must be chaste and our hearts must be pure. If our hearts are pure, then it will be relatively easy with some knowledge for us to keep our bodies chaste.

The world, the flesh and the devil try to lure us to mortal sin. The devil does so deliberately; the flesh does so blindly, oblivious of the consequences; the world is in-between – sometimes consciously doing the devil’s work, sometimes simply acting as if this world (immediate pleasures and vanities) were all that mattered. They work in different ways but for the same goal. Against purity, the flesh turns us towards unreasonable pleasures; the devil seeks to ensnare us by lies; the world urges us to vanity and conformity to what “everyone is doing.” Education to purity will need to consider all three. In this article, we will consider the flesh; in a future one, we will look at the world and the devil. We are going to look at the advice which the Saints give for purity and, in particular, at how parents must train and educate their children to purity and chastity. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

“Ecological Sin” and the Mean of Virtue (Timothy Flanders)

Since the conciliar revolution of the 1960s, the world has witnessed the Church’s human element increasingly support the ideologies of secular organizations such as the United Nations, notably supporting world government since Gaudium et Spes. In addition, numerous scientific claims have been accepted carte blanche by the popes since at least Paul VI, who assumed that overpopulation was a problem in Humanae Vitae.

An increasing alarm has been raised since John Paul II regarding the idea that the natural world is in imminent peril, which has only reinforced the push for binding world government. Under the pontificate of Pope Francis, some fifty years after the Church’s leaders stopped asking governments to be ruled by Christ the King, world government is now asked to criminalize “ecological sin.” In a recent address to the World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law, Pope Francis said:

“An elementary sense of justice would require that certain conduct, for which corporations are usually responsible, does not go unpunished. In particular, all those that can be considered as ‘ecocide’: the massive contamination of air, land and water resources, the large-scale destruction of flora and fauna, and any action capable of producing an ecological disaster or destroying an ecosystem. We must introduce – we are thinking about it – in the Catechism of the Catholic Church the sin against ecology, the ecological sin against the common home, because it is a duty.”

This concept of “ecological sin” had been proposed by the orchestrated Amazon Synod, which concluded less than a month prior to Francis’ statement. In the Synod final document, we read:

“We propose to define ecological sin as an action or omission against God, against others, the community and the environment. It is a sin against future generations and manifests itself in acts and habits of pollution and destruction of the harmony of the environment, transgressions against the principles of interdependence and the breaking of solidarity networks among creatures (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 340-344) and against the virtue of justice.” (n. 82)

In this article, we will analyze this concept of “ecological sin” and apply some Catholic principles in order to develop a proper framework in which the Catholic can approach these increasingly forceful attitudes from secular organizations and the Vatican. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

Pro-Life Meanderings: Recap of 2019 (Gary Taphorn)

Looking back at 2019, there was a phenomenally large number of newsworthy events and developments in the battle for human life, which is taking on the characteristics of a desperate fight to the finish, especially in the United States. This article will take a brief look at a few such recent events, some of which offer encouragement on the pro-life front, while others remind us how fanatical and obsessive are the minions of death.  Many of these events were the result of court decisions, about equally divided between pro-life and “pro-choice” victories. In late 2018, Chief Justice John Roberts reproached President Trump for his criticism of the federal courts. Implausibly, Roberts stated, “[w]e do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.” Many decisions of federal courts during the last year have certainly given the lie to that statement.

The Daleiden Case

Perhaps the most outrageous verdict of the last year was in the San Francisco court of Judge William Orrick, an Obama appointee and long-time supporter of Planned Parenthood. After refusing to recuse himself in the Planned Parenthood lawsuit against pro-life journalist David Daleiden and four other defendants for their undercover videos of the trafficking of baby body parts, Orrick presided over a sham trial which found the defendants guilty of multiple crimes and liable for over a million dollars in damages. A detailed look at this case is beyond the scope of this article and Daleiden and his fellow defendants have vowed to appeal. Suffice it to say that the lead counsel for the defense, Charles LiMandri (Chief Counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund), remarked in the wake of the appalling decision that “[d]espite over three decades of trial experience, I can tell you that I have never seen anything like this mockery of a trial in San Francisco.”

The appeal by Daleiden would go to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, also based in San Francisco and widely nicknamed the “Ninth Circus” for its notorious left-wing bias. Ironically, the priority given by President Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate to installing conservative, constructionist federal judges may soon in fact “flip” the Ninth Circuit to a conservative tilt. As of early December, Trump had appointed eight judges to the court, bringing the once lop-sided “Ninth Circus” to 13 Republican appointees versus 16 Democrat appointees. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

The Life of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, SSPX)

Editor’s Note: In this excerpt, we see the two forces that were arrayed against each other at Vatican II: the highly organized liberal cabal, centered in the Rhineland, and the group of Traditional Council Fathers who organized in reaction to the ruthless tactics of the first. Behind the scenes, the popes tolerated and at times supported and promoted the work of the liberal group. Ultimately, the liberal group would prevail, as seen by their first victory of throwing out the original schemas. Yet, the work of the Traditional Fathers explains the interspersed traditional statements found in the documents as they attempted to counter the introduction of liberalism into the texts. Hindsight tells us the liberals were willing to accommodate the Traditionalists’ additions since they would simply ignore them after the Council as they used the permissive language to advance the revolution. – Brian M. McCall, Editor-in-Chief


The Revolution Begins: John XXIII Reveals His Hand

The Central Preparatory Commission’s work ended on June 20 [1962]. The sub-commissions altered their schemas. Some were dropped, others were sent to the Commission for Reform of the Code of Canon Law. Yet more were condensed to such a degree that their number was reduced from seventy-three to twenty.58 Seven of them were sent to the future Council Fathers in July 1962.

On the morning of October 11, 1962, the rain that had drenched Rome for the previous two days stopped. The clouds parted to reveal a bright sun. In rows of six, the 2,400 Council Fathers – the bishops in cope and mitre – ascended the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, crossed the vestibule, and passed through the main door. Then they were shown to their places on the right and left in galleries constructed on either side of the nave. Archbishop Lefebvre’s place was numbered D 1090. It was a temporary seat that was uncomfortable since it was too narrow and had little legroom. Like the other Fathers he was given a small, white, plastic document holder and he put it on the armrest-cum-writing desk attached to his chair. Looking inside the document holder he found texts of the Council prayers, a calendar for October, a pamphlet with instructions for how to vote, etc.

The Pope made his entry, knelt at the small altar in the nave before the cardinals, and intoned the Veni Creator Spiritus. Yes, “Come Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful.…O Guide our minds with Thy blest light.…Far from us drive the deadly foe.” The Archbishop, who had been Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers since July 28, fervently invoked the divine patron of his order. Certainly, the two sides that had faced each other during the preparatory meetings were readying themselves for new battles, but Archbishop Lefebvre thought that the help of the Holy Ghost and the Pope’s chairing the Council as successor of Peter – head of the Church by divine right – would guarantee the triumph of the Spirit of Truth in “a Church still entirely obedient to the wind and fire of Pentecost.” He shared this confidence with the members of his congregation in a letter that was, if the truth be told, quite standard for such an occasion.

This confidence was immediately knocked by John XXIII as he delivered his opening address inspired by Cardinal Montini. All his predecessors from the last 150 years up to Pope Pius XII had unanimously denounced a “terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction. You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is – apostasy from God.” However, Pope John contradicted them, showing a curious optimism: “We believe we ought to disassociate ourselves entirely from those prophets of doom who are constantly predicting the worst, as if the end of the world were near.…According to them, contemporary society would lead to nothing but ruin and calamity; compared to past centuries, our own age show nothing but deterioration.” To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

Our Lady of Fatima and Akita: The Years Before the Triumph (Marianna Bartold)

Following in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis recently made an apostolic visit to both Thailand and Japan (Nov. 19-26, 2019). His journey to Japan, touted as the fulfillment of Pope Francis’ youthful dream to become a missionary to “the land of the rising sun,” however, became a lost opportunity. With “Protect All Life” as his theme for Japan, Francis did not once address the message of Our Lady of Akita (much less its connection to Fatima), which included the warning, “Fire will fall from the sky…”

Following an itinerary which included visits to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the University of Sophia in Tokyo, the Pope’s last stop was the university, which on its website is described “as a Jesuit university based on the teachings of Christianity and the Catholic spirit.” There, he was presented with an image of the Buddhist goddess Kannon, which a Zenit article claimed was one “to whom the persecuted Christians of Nagasaki prayed.”

On the same day, I publicly posted the Zenit article to my Keeping It Catholic page on Facebook, with the following comment:

“REVISIONIST HISTORY! This is outrageous—on many counts, especially the undocumented claim that the Catholics of Nagasaki prayed to this idol.

N.B. It is not difficult to deduce that the lie about the Catholics in Nagasaki is made to fool us with a false precedent on behalf of the Amazon idols of Pachamama.”

Purposely or not, the Zenit article failed miserably to report the historical truth of the matter that in Japan, during “the two and a half centuries when Christianity was outlawed, the hidden Christians (sic) had in their homes statues of Mary, but made in such ‘Kannon likeness’ that they would be mistaken by non-Christians as images of Kannon.” Within hours, the Zenit article was gone, but it was soon followed by a briefer, edited version (including a title change, wherein the words “Zenit – English” were deleted), and by early December again had vanished. It appears that the original article, although revised and then removed, had already caused too much damage to the history and memory of the brutally persecuted Catholics of Nagasaki (and to those rightly outraged over the Pachamama idols displayed at the Vatican in October 2019). To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

*Roman Catechism Series* The Forgiveness of Sins (Matthew Plese)

In its introduction to the tenth article of the Apostle’s Creed, the Roman Catechism reminds priests: “…it is the duty of the pastor to teach that, not only is forgiveness of sins to be found in the Catholic Church, as Isaias had foretold in these words: The people that dwell therein shall have their iniquity taken away from them; but also that in her resides the power of forgiving sins….” Such an important teaching cannot be overstated since man is prone to sin, even after Baptism, and should have frequent recourse throughout his entire life to the Sacrament of Penance in order to receive the forgiveness of sins. In the grand design of the universe, God has permitted sin and yet has also instituted a means for us to receive forgiveness for offending Him through the Sacraments of the Church. Addressing this subject in his Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas remarks:

“It is written (Psalm 144:9): ‘His tender mercies are over all His works,’ and in a collect [Tenth Sunday after Pentecost] we say: ‘O God, Who dost show forth Thine all-mightiness most by pardoning and having mercy,’ and Augustine, expounding the words, ‘greater than these shall he do’ (John 14:12) says that ‘for a just man to be made from a sinner, is greater than to create heaven and earth.’”

Baptism Remits Original and Personal Sin

After introducing the tenth article of the Creed, the Roman Catechism begins to explain the extent of this power entrusted to the Church by wisely separating the discussion on forgiveness into two categories: forgiveness for those sins that precede Baptism and those that follow it:

“When we first make a profession of faith and are cleansed in holy Baptism, we receive this pardon entire and unqualified; so that no sin, original or actual, of commission or omission, remains to be expiated, no punishment to be endured. The grace of Baptism, however, does not give exemption from all the infirmities of nature. On the contrary, contending, as each of us has to contend, against the motions of concupiscence, which ever tempts us to the commission of sin, there is scarcely one to be found among us, who opposes so vigorous a resistance to its assaults, or who guards his salvation so vigilantly, as to escape all wounds. …

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“Deaconesses”, Strictly Speaking, Never Existed (John Vennari, RIP)

Editor’s Note: In light of Amazon Synod final document’s request for official female ministries, as well as its favorable mention of Pope Francis’ 2016 Study Commission on the Diaconate of Women (see pages 19-20 for more details), we offer readers the following article by longtime CFN editor John Vennari (RIP), which first appeared in the September 2016 issue. John wrote this article in response to the then-newly announced Study Commission, drawing from a scholarly source (Deaconesses, An Historical Study by Fr. Aimé Georges Martimort) in order to demonstrate the historical evidence against the introduction of a modern female diaconate. In short, as John explains, there is simply no precedent in Church history for “a female counterpart to the male office of deacon. There was never any such office.”


There never was nor can there ever be the office of “deaconess” in the Catholic Church.

When I use the word “deaconess” in this context, I mean a female counterpart to the male office of deacon. There was never any such office.

If the term “deaconess” appears in Church history, we find it to be an imprecise term that will vary not only from age to age, but from one geographic location to the next. Father Aimé George Martimont, author of the scholarly and definitive work on the subject titled Deaconesses, An Historical Study, observes “The Christians of antiquity did not have a single, fixed idea of what deaconesses were supposed to be.”

Yet on August 2 of this year [2016], Pope Francis created a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic Church. Pursuing such a venture can only ignite further chaos in the Church and confusion among the faithful.

Extremely Limited Function

There was never an office of deaconess in the Latin Church. We do come across references to deaconesses in various Greek and Eastern Rites. Yet the office is not uniformly found in the Oriental churches, and all mention is sporadic between the second and tenth centuries. Some Eastern Church territories, such as the churches in Egypt, Ethiopia and the Maronites never accepted any office of deaconess.

The women who were called “deaconesses” were not ordained in any sacramental sense of the word, but received a kind of blessing for certain ecclesiastical service. These “deaconesses” were primarily consecrated women whose work was highly restricted – usually limited assistance to other females. This included assisting women at baptisms and other services where the presence of men would have offended modesty.

“Moreover,” writes Father Martimort, “it must be even more strongly emphasized that deaconesses were never allowed to teach or preach in public.” Click here to continue reading