The Vatican on Monday sharply criticized a book on sexuality written by a prominent American nun, saying it contradicted church teaching on issues like masturbation, homosexuality and marriage and that its author had a “defective understanding” of Catholic theology.
The Vatican’s orthodoxy office said the book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics” by Sister Margaret Farley, a member of the Sisters of Mercy religious order and emeritus professor of Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, posed “grave harm” to the faithful.
In its statement, the Vatican singled out specific problems in Farley’s book which it said “affirms positions that are in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching in the field of sexual morality.” Farley, for example, writes that masturbation doesn’t raise any moral problems and can actually help relationships rather than hinder them. The Vatican asserted that according to church teaching “masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.”
On gay marriage, Farley said legal recognition of gay marriage can help transform the stigmatization of gays. Levada wrote back that approving gay marriage would not only signal approval of “deviant behavior” but would obscure the value of traditional marriage between man and woman in society.
In her statement, Farley said she had aimed to propose a framework for sexual ethics that “uses a criteria of justice” in evaluating sexual relations. She acknowledged that her responses to certain issues do depart from traditional doctrine, but said they nonetheless were coherent in theological and moral traditions.
The Vatican criticism, while seemingly harsh, is rather tame. It’s not a formal censure of Farley herself, but just the book. And given that Farley doesn’t teach at a Catholic university, the Vatican couldn’t forbid her from teaching as it has done with other Catholic theologians who don’t toe the Vatican line.
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Source: Yahoo News
Image: Huffington Post