by Pope St. Gelasius I (d. 496)
We have noted with vexation that contempt for divine truths has reached such a level that even women, it is reported, serve at the holy altars. Everything that is entrusted exclusively to men is performed by the sex that has no right to do so.
And of all these obnoxious transgressions which we reprimand singly, all the criminal guilt falls on those priests who either commit them personally, or who by not making the culprits known show that they agree with these wicked excesses – if we may even call by the name ‘priests’ those men who are prepared to so degrade the religious office entrusted to them that, sinking down to perverse and profane pursuits without any respect for Christian regulations, they run headlong into a deadly abyss.
And when it is written that
‘Whoever scorns small things will gradually come to a fall’ (Ecclesiasticus 19:1),
what should we think about those people who borne down by the immense and multiplicitous burden of their depravities, have caused an enormous downfall by their various impulsive actions which can be seen not only to lead themselves to perdition, but inflict a mortal plague on all churches if they are not healed?
And let those people have no doubt, not only whoever has dared to do these things but also those who, in spite of knowing about it, kept silence, that they lie under the loss of their own honor if they do not hasten, as fast as they can, to heal the lethal wounds with adequate medication.
(Epistle IX, 26 PL 59 55)