The Vatican censured a US nun, Sister Margaret Farley, on Monday because she wrote a book on sexuality. The book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” focused on sexuality and veered from the Church’s teachings on masturbation, homosexuality, remarriage after divorce, and gay marriage. According to CBS News, Farley said that she had hoped to study sexuality through a variety of theologies, religious traditions, and the human experience. She stated that the book was not intended to be a reflection of the views of the Catholic Church.
As reported in the New York Times, Farley’s text aims to diverge from “taboo morality” and propose new methods of justice in human sexuality and sexual experiences. In a statement reported by BBC News, Farley said, “The fact that Christians (and others) have achieved new knowledge and deeper understanding of human embodiment and sexuality seems to require that we at least examine the possibility of development in sexual ethics.” In her text, Farley writes that masturbation is not necessarily harmful to relationships and that homosexual people and acts should be respected. The Bishops have stated, according to Reuters, that homosexual acts are “deeply disordered.” Consequently, the Vatican has banned the book from being taught in Catholic institutions.
This is the second recent censure of a text written by an American nun. In 2011, Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson’s book, “Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God” was also censured by the Vatican. The criticism also follows the Bishops’ recent investigations and censures of American Nuns and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The investigation concluded that the nuns were promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith,” and were criticized for focusing on issues relating to poverty and healthcare.
CBS News 6/4/2012; BBC News 6/4/2012; Reuters 6/4/2012; New York Times 6/4/2012; Chicago Tribune 6/4/2012; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/19/2012