(great article – a comprehensive discussion, suggest reading it all..m)
If Margaret A. Farley’s fine theo-ethical work causes “grave harm to the faithful,” Catholics live very graced lives. War, poverty, ecocide, racism, colonialism, sex and gender injustices of all sorts come to mind in the “grave harm” category. But not in the wildest imagination of anyone other than a Vatican bureaucrat would Dr. Farley’s sexual ethics qualify. How fortunate we are to have a scholar of her caliber, and how appropriate that she is appreciated widely. Recent attention to her work only serves to deepen her impact and broaden her audience; 24 hours after news broke of the Vatican censure, the book was propelled from an Amazon ranking of 142,982 to 16. ..
The June 4 Notification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) titled “Regarding the Book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics by Sister Margaret A. Farley, R.S.M.,” left many scandalized by the intellectually embarrassing and morally tawdry work of a group that obviously needs a permanent vacation. William Cardinal Levada and company at the CDF are simply out of their league theologically when it takes them six years (the book was published in 2006) to comment on an important work—and they still get it wrong.
A first-year graduate student could have handled the analysis in a week. S/he would have figured out that Dr. Farley was dealing with ethical method (how we frame and approach moral questions), not defending the Catechism of the Catholic Church. ..
Vatican interlocutors, who obviously have no clue about such matters, only embarrass themselves by publishing their ignorance in six languages. They leave the distinct impression that they are oblivious to the fact that postmodern ethical analysis emerges from multi-disciplinary, multi-religious discussions grounded in concrete actions for justice..
The Roman men are hell-bent on reining in American nuns, if only to prove that they can rein in somebody in a world that pays them increasingly little heed. They fear that such intellectually powerful and theologically persuasive women, who identify with the institutional Roman Catholic Church through their membership in canonical communities, will trump them in the public arena.
Her critics simply miss the fact that Margaret Farley does not do ethics the way that they do. She does not share their ethical priorities on what Catholic moral theologian Daniel C. Maguire calls matters of the “pelvic zone.” Her scope is justice writ large—beginning in places where people are oppressed, violated, and demeaned. That the Vatican places masturbation at the top of its list highlights its perverted priorities in a deeply troubled world…
(some more choice sentences in the article