Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Mercy Sister Margaret Farley

Todays sexual ethics.

"Sr. Farley also manifests a defective understanding of the objective nature of the natural moral law, choosing instead to argue on the basis of conclusions selected from certain philosophical currents or from her own understanding of "contemporary experience". This approach is not consistent with authentic Catholic theology." - Notification

You know the CDF took the right steps with the notification concerning Dr. Farley's work when the women of The View defend her for supporting masturbation.  I'm serious - it seemed to me that was the main point of discussion amongst the women on todays show.  I had no idea how important self-pleasuring is to women.  No wonder there is no longer any sense of sin, even amongst Catholics, when that type of sexual ethic is taught and promoted.  Even Fr. James Martin, S.J., a priest I continue to respect - yet disagree with, applauds and defends Dr. Farley:
One of the most respected Catholic theologians in the United States has been severely critiqued by the Vatican for one her most recent books. Margaret A. Farley, RSM, who teaches moral theology at Yale Divinity School, and has served as a mentor for generations of Catholic theologians, has been critiqued for her book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, published in 2006. - America  
I think it significant that Farley is regarded as a "mentor for generations of Catholic theologians" - no wonder the sexual revolution has become so influential in Catholic education.  No wonder younger Catholics have no problem with contraception, same sex marriage, masturbation, and so on: It is what they have been taught.

The CDF in effect condemns Dr. Farley's book as unsuitable for Catholic education:
In a notification signed by U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada and approved March 16 by Pope Benedict XVI, the congregation said the book "is not in conformity with the teaching of the church" and "cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counseling and formation, or in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue." - CNS
 Dr. Farley and her supporters disagree with the Congregations findings:
Sister Farley said in a June 4 statement that she feared that the notification "-- while clear in its conclusions -- misrepresents (perhaps unwittingly) the aims of my work and the nature of it as a proposal that might be in service of, not against, the church and its faithful people."

"I do not dispute the judgment that some of the positions contained (in the book) are not in accord with current official Catholic teaching," she said. "In the end, I can only clarify that the book was not intended to be an expression of current official Catholic teaching, nor was it aimed specifically against the teaching. It is of a different genre altogether."

She said the book "offers contemporary interpretations of traditional meanings for the human body, gender and sexuality" and "was designed to help people, especially Christians but also others, to think through their questions about human sexuality." - CNS

This response continues to be the standard operative procedure for 'dissent', both by progressives and traditionalists, and those in between.  Somehow, every special interest, be it proffered by theologians, liturgists, mystics and seers, sexologists, what have you, takes precedence over fidelity and obedience to the Magisterium.  It seems to me to be a rather protestant ecclesiology at work these days, more than ever before.

It also explains - to me at least - the often incredible permissive considerations and conclusions drawn by some faithful Catholics online as regards sexual ethics and homosexuality, as well as the sometimes nearly incomprehensible manipulation of the definition of terms such as chastity, celibacy, continence, among others.  It often seems like a lot of doublespeak to me.

The Notification:
"With this Notification, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith expresses profound regret that a member of an Institute of Consecrated Life, Sr. Margaret A. Farley, R.S.M., affirms positions that are in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching in the field of sexual morality. The Congregation warns the faithful that her book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics is not in conformity with the teaching of the Church. Consequently it cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counseling and formation, or in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. Furthermore the Congregation wishes to encourage theologians to pursue the task of studying and teaching moral theology in full concord with the principles of Catholic doctrine."  - Source

This past weekend, the priest who heard my confession asked me to pray very much for the Church "which is going through so much these days." 


  1. Terry: I would be interested to know what it is about Fr. Martin that you respect. He works 24/7 to subvert the teachings of the Church. Is such an effort to undermine the Church really worthy of our respect?

  2. Speaking for myself, I respect him for his holy priesthood. I also find him a very likeable fellow. I'm not telling anyone else what to think of him. If he is teaching in error or doing something wrong, I'm sure the CDF will take action as they have done with Sr. Farley. In the meantime he appears to be a priest in good standing with the Catholic Church.

    1. Does the CDF have to respond individually to every wayward priest in the world? I think the actions they take give a good sense of the mind of the Church. Already the CDF required for Fr. Thomas Reese to be removed as head editor of America Magazine, and he had considerably similar viewpoints to Fr Martin, who is their current culture editor. It should really be the Jesuits helping their fellow Jesuits. But just recently we had a "vatileak" of an incredible letter from the Superior General of the Jesuits forwarding to the Pope a letter from wealthy donors urging the Church to "get with the times" and abandon sexual morality. Although there are some good Jesuits, the infidelity in the Jesuits appears to be at all levels.

  3. If he is teaching in error

    LOL. You are not sure huh? Pax.

    1. He seems to have left that up to your sage determination, Maria.

  4. Cheerful, as ever, I see, Tom ;)

  5. Terry Nelson writes : "no wonder the sexual revolution has become so influential in Catholic education. No wonder younger Catholics have no problem with contraception, same sex marriage, masturbation, and so on: It is what they have been taught."

    This is why parents should never let their children go to any of the Catholic colleges except for the well known half dozen orthodox ones. Because what the Vatican did was nothing more than shooting one wolf in one of a hundred packs ravaging the flock.

  6. Btw, I really like the poster at the top of the article.

  7. I will give Fr. Z this much: he has articulated well, I think, over time, that there are many in the Church who are impressed by numbers, that truth is a matter of where the majority stands.


    1. I give Fr. Z a lot of credit for a lot of things, I just don't donate. He seems to be impressed with those numbers, as well as follower stats and hits. To each his own.

  8. "Luther referred to reason as 'the devil's whore.' In this scenario, we are led away from the simplicity of the Gospel by twisted thinking that blurs the distinction between good and evil. Once we find ourselves in a situation where sin has taken root in our lives, we often resort to rationalization to convince ourselves that everything is OK. We deny the overt content of our acts, we repress our feelings of guilt, and we often embark on a campaign to prove ourselves that what we are doing is perfectly natural, morally neutral, harmless and, in any case, unavoidable."

    -Michael Casey, OCSO, "Fully Human, Fully Divine: An Interactive Christology," page 61.

    My reply to Sr. Farley's 'work'.

  9. Further, I think the continual call for appreciation of the nuns by Fr. Martin and others is an obfuscation: the Vatican is not on trial for ingratitude, the sisters are on trial for dissent.


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