Some Fishwrap types have chortled that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith aided sales of Sr. Margaret Farley’s dread and perverse book. Why, they burble, would the bad men at the CDF do something so stupid as to condemn Farley’s books? If those bad men reeeeeeally want to hurrrrrrrt Farley, they would have ignored her book! Leave aside that the CDF has no desire to hurt Farley. They are trying to defend the Faith and help people, including Farley, avoid going to hell.
That is the way Fishwrap types view fidelity to the doctrine of our Catholic faith.
At the site of the Cardinal Newman Society, there is a good response to the idiots who weigh Farley’s spot on the amazon.com list against the CDF’s actual role.
Here is part:
So why would the CDF condemn Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics by Sr. Margaret Farley? Especially since the author herself wrote on Yale’s website “that the book was not intended to be an expression of current official Catholic teaching, nor was it aimed specifically against this teaching. It is of a different genre altogether.”
Well, somebody forgot to tell that to many Catholic theologians, because they’ve used the book in classrooms in Catholic colleges all across the country and as support for their own writings, sometimes challenging the teachings of the Catholic Church.
While Just Love has been largely ignored by the public, it seems to be quite popular in the world of Catholic higher education. [Get that?]
Perhaps most offensively, Fordham University theology and religious education professor Kieran Scott lists Farley’s book as one basis for his argument to “reassess cohabitation as a viable moral option” outside of marriage in Human Sexuality in the Catholic Tradition (2007), which Scott co-edited with Fordham religious education professor Harold Horell.
Sister Farley’s Just Love was a required text in Fairfield University’s 2010 religious studies course, “Sexuality and Spirituality in American College Life.” Really, doesn’t that say everything about the contemporary Jesuit university?
The prior year, Fairfield lauded Sister Farley’s “keen intellect and prophetic voice” in a statement praising Farley as well as her book, “in which the notion of justice serves as a key to understanding, and re-thinking, human sexuality and the Christian moral tradition.” Farley was there to deliver the University’s Anne Drummey O’Callaghan Lecture on Women in the Church.
At Loyola University Chicago, the spring 2012 seminar for first-year doctoral students in ethics and theology, taught by Sandra Sullivan-Dunbar, required students to read Just Love. The spring 2010 “Christian Ethics” course at Seattle University, taught by Susan Secker, also required Sister Farley’s book. And Loyola Marymount University in 2009 listed Just Love under “required texts” for its “Issues in Moral Theology Today” course taught by Jonathan Rothchild.
Secker seems particularly enamored of Sister Farley, as she noted in her course description:
Sister Farley is an eminently respected Catholic ethicist who has written this volume as a pastoral response to issues of sexual ethics shaped by her years of teaching and ministering at Yale University. Make sure you read her preface and introduction. Of particular importance is her attentiveness to gender, culture, race and religious pluralism in her construction of a framework for sexual ethics. [And don’t miss her descriptions of “self-pleasuring”.]
Just Love was a “suggested” text for the “Christian Sexuality” course at Seattle University in 2011, taught by Fran Ferder and John Heagle. Boston College offered a spring 2010 seminar class on “Contemporary Theories of Justice” by Fr. David Hollenbach S.J., who listed Farley’s book in a supplemental reading list for students. In 2005 Fr. James T. Bretzke, S.J., then of the University of San Francisco, included Farley’s book in his Sexual Ethics Bibliography under “Miscellaneous Sexual Ethics.” Father Bretzke is now a moral theologian at Boston College.
Sister Farley noted her own book in a speech she delivered at the Conference for Mercy Higher Education at Gwynedd-Mercy College, a Catholic college in Pennsylvania, in 2006.
This is far from an exhaustive list. There are likely many other instances of Farley’s book being used in classrooms of Catholic colleges or listed in footnotes of several theological articles or books. Far from being in “a different genre altogether,” as Farley has claimed, her book was being used in theology classrooms and was the basis for many articles being read by college students now and over the past decade.
And it is that serious concern, not how high the book ranks on Amazon, that should matter most to the Vatican – and undoubtedly it does.
There it is.
The book contains many things that are contrary to the Catholic faith and advance things that are spiritual dangerous.
THAT is why the CDF issued the Notification.