Vatican Condemns Book: Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics
Consequently it cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counseling and formation, or in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.
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.
Sr. Margaret A. Farley, R.S.M., affirms positions that are in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching in the field of sexual morality.
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - (One of the most important services which the Magisterium, the Teaching Office of the Church, provides to the whole Church is guidance to the faithful concerning right doctrine. From the first centuries of the Church such guidance has been understood and received as a part of the continuing gift the Lord promised when he promised to not leave us orphans. He gave the Holy Spirit to the Church to guide us into all truth.
A little heresy is like a little poison, it can debilitate the whole body. The need for such a careful review of books purporting to teach Moral Theology is of particular importance in this hour. That is why we have chosen to present the entire Notification concerning Sister Farley's book to our readers around the globe. It was released on Monday, June 4, 2012. It is important on so many fronts. Read this Notification and you will see why the book does not teach the truth. This notification shows us the great gift of the Magisterium, the teaching office, at work in the Catholic Church. Deacon Keith A. Fournier, Editor in Chief)
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH : Notification on the book Just love. A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics by Sr. Margaret A. Farley, R.S.M.
Having completed an initial examination of the book Just Love. A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics (New York: Continuum, 2006) by Sr. Margaret A. Farley, R.S.M., the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote to the author on March 29, 2010, through the good offices of Sr. Mary Waskowiak - the then President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - enclosing a preliminary evaluation of the book and indicating the doctrinal problems present in the text. The response of Sr. Farley, dated October 28, 2010, did not clarify these problems in a satisfactory manner. Because the matter concerned doctrinal errors present in a book whose publication has been a cause of confusion among the faithful, the Congregation decided to undertake an examination following the procedure for "Examination in cases of urgency" contained in the Congregation's Regulations for Doctrinal Examinations (cf. Chap. IV, art. 23-27).
Following an evaluation by a Commission of experts (cf. art. 24), the Ordinary Session of the Congregation confirmed on June 8, 2011, that the above-mentioned book contained erroneous propositions, the dissemination of which risks grave harm to the faithful. On July 5, 2011, a letter was sent to Sr. Waskowiak containing a list of these erroneous propositions and asking her to invite Sr. Farley to correct the unacceptable theses contained in her book (cf. art. 25-26).
On October 3, 2011, Sr. Patricia McDermott, who in the meantime had succeeded Sr. Mary Waskowiak as President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, forwarded to the Congregation - in accordance with art. 27 of the above cited Regulations - the response of Sr. Farley, together with her own opinion and that of Sr. Waskowiak. This response, having been examined by the Commission of experts, was submitted to the Ordinary Session for judgement on December 14, 2011. On this occasion, the Members of the Congregation, considering that Sr. Farley's response did not adequately clarify the grave problems contained in her book, decided to proceed with the publication of this Notification.
1. General problems
The author does not present a correct understanding of the role of the Church's Magisterium as the teaching authority of the Bishops united with the Successor of Peter, which guides the Church's ever deeper understanding of the Word of God as found in Holy Scripture and handed on faithfully in the Church's living tradition. In addressing various moral issues, Sr. Farley either ignores the constant teaching of the Magisterium or, where it is occasionally mentioned, treats it as one opinion among others. Such an attitude is in no way justified, even within the ecumenical perspective that she wishes to promote. 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.
2. Specific problems
Among the many errors and ambiguities of this book are its positions on masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage and the problem of divorce and remarriage.
Sr. Farley writes: "Masturbation. usually does not raise any moral questions at all. . It is surely the case that many women. have found great good in self-pleasuring - perhaps especially in the discovery of their own possibilities ...
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