From ......... National Catholic Reporter

April 22, 1988

page 2


A Missouri man who has been denied ordination as a deacon for six years because of "public knowledge" that he had a vasectomy in 1971 has charged the church with hypocrisy.

Jim Combs, 46, who is married and has three children, said he knows "ordained deacons who have had vasectomies, and no one knows about it." He said to cite public knowledge of his operation as the reason for denying him ordination means "the right to live a lie."

Combs said he completed a three-year study program leading toward the diaconate in 1981 and was anticipating ordination in 1982. But following publication of his ordination "banns," a public notice asking people with objections to make them known, he was told three people had notified the St. Louis archdiocese of his vasectomy.

He said Monsignor John H. Gaydos, archdiocesan chancellor, told him of the letters and asked him to resign. When he refused, he said, the priest asked him to sign a document swearing to secrecy about the matter, which he also refused to sign. Combs told Religious News Service he had written to Archbishop John L. May about the matter each year since i982 and had been told he could. not be ordained "at this time." This year, he said, he received the letter concerning the vasectomy.