Fr. James Martin, SJ, sticks up for Sr. Farley and her teachings

The usual suspects are encircling with nurturing and supportive embraces Sr. Margaret Farley, author of a  dreadful book, filled with grave errors concerning faith and morals.  Click HERE.

Fr. James Martin, SJ (whose recent Twitter campaign demonstrates that he sides with the Magisterium of Nuns rather than CDF in the matter of the LCWR) has in the Jesuit-run America Magazine come out with a full-throated defense of Sr. Farley and her ideas.

Here is a sample.  Don’t feel compelled to go there, though some of the comments are a hoot:

Book by Margaret Farley, RSM, Condemned by Vatican
POSTED AT: MONDAY, JUNE 04, 2012 07:51:55 AM
One of the most respected [by whom?] Catholic [c] theologians in the United States has been severely critiqued by the Vatican for one her most recent books. Margaret A. Farley, RSM, who teaches moral theology at Yale Divinity School, [isn’t she now listed as “emerita”?] and has served as a mentor for generations of Catholic theologians, [no wonder so many of them are so screwed up] has been critiqued for her book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, published in 2006. Sister Margaret has served as past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, and was also awarded (among her many awards) her peers’ highest honor, the John Courtney Murray, SJ Award. [Well!  Isn’t that something!] The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has condemned her book for its presentation of several topics: “Among the many errors and ambiguities in this book are its positions on masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage and the problem of divorce and remarriage,” read the Notification from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. [Those are pretty serious matters.  Perhaps Fr. Martin doesn’t agree.]

The Vatican Notification read, in part: [You can find all that  on your own.]

Sister Margaret responded to the Notification in a statement released to NCR. [aka Fishwrap.  They all stick together, don’t they?] “Although my responses to some particular sexual ethical questions do depart from some traditional Christian responses, [You are suppose to infer that those “responses”, being “traditional”, are outdated and subject to change.] I have tried to show that they nonetheless reflect a deep coherence with the central aims and insights of these theological and moral traditions. [Sister Farley: You failed.] Whether through interpretation of biblical texts, or through an attempt to understand ‘concrete reality‘ (an approach at the heart of ‘natural law’), 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. This is what my book, Just Love, is about.”  [You see, modern man is all grown up now.  We moderns have a new reality.  We aren’t any longer subjected to those old restrictive ideas and taboos.]

In reviewing the book for America in 2006, the Boston College [Yet another Jesuit run place.  Isn’t it amazing how often Jesuits and their acolytes turn up when it comes to dissent to Catholic moral teachings?] moral theologian Lisa Sowle Cahill wrote, “This long-awaited work by America’s leading Catholic feminist theological ethicist, Margaret A. Farley, is the product of years of experience, reflection, scholarship and wisdom. [and errors.  Don’t forget the errors.  Farley gets it all wrong.] Just Love is decisively shaped by Farley’s longstanding interests in the sexual equality of women and men, and of gay and straight couples; and, more recently, in advocacy for people affected by AIDS, especially women in Africa. [Just forget about the Church’s centuries of consistent moral teachings about any of those things.] Just Love’s thesis is that justice [can “justice” be separated from the truth made clear in the Church’s teachings?] is central to sexual morality, especially justice in the sense of respect for the real identity and needs of the other….As a theologian, Farley gives us a social ethic of sex that incorporates both the biblical ‘option for the poor’ and the orientation of Catholic social thought to the universal common good. As a feminist, she reminds Catholics that their tradition should make its global option for women more consistent, more explicit and more effective, especially in the areas of sex, motherhood, marriage and family.” [I suspect this gobbledygook is merely a justification for “You can have sex with whatever and however many warm-blooded critters you want without anyone mentioning sin.]

Margaret Farley is an immensely well respected theologian and scholar, [I suspect that’s going to change.] and is a revered mentor for many Catholic theologians. It would be difficult to overstate her influence in the field of sexual ethics, [And THAT, friends, is why the CDF Notification about her dreadful book is very important.  First, if her awful book wasn’t subject to such an examination, then no one’s should be.] or the esteem in which she is held by her colleagues. With this stinging critique, the Vatican has again signaled its concern about theologians writing about sexual morality. [Watching out for Catholic teaching on failth and moral?!?  The CDF?!?  What’ll they come up with next?] This Notification will certainly sadden Sister Margaret’s many colleagues, her generations of students, and those many Catholics who have profited by her decades of reflection on the faith. [I wonder if it will sadden anyone who lost the happiness of Christ’s Kingdom because they, at her urging and bad teaching, endangered their immortal souls through deviant sexual practices or the erosion of their faith and morals under he influence.] It will also, inevitably, raise strong emotions among those who already feel buffeted by the Vatican’s Apostolic Visitation of Catholic sisters in the US, and its intervention into the LCWR.  [Boo hoo.]

NCR also has an extensive list of reactions from prominent Catholic theologians here. And Michael Peppard’s provides an analysis of the CDF Notification on Dotcommonweal.

Will Fr. Martin start a new Twitter campaign for poor, persecuted Sr. Farley?

He could use the hashtag #WhatSrFarleyMeansToMe !

He’ll have WDTPRS’s full support!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. St. Louis IX says:

    Pity Jesuits .
    I have about 60 years of the America Jesuit paper bound. I wonder if there would be any interest in a book burning party. Maybe to raise money for some good Catholic cause or media outlet.

  2. SonofMonica says:

    Fr. Martin has posted this stuff on Facebook, as well. All the NCR-type nutjobs are on there commenting about the mean old Vatican and how great Sr. Farley is. If I weren’t banned from commenting on Fr. Martin’s page, myself (as “conservatives” are often banned by Fr. Martin), I’d make some sort of ironic comment along the lines of, “Who cares about what this old, white, celibate thinks about sex? She’s all comfortable in her elite, academic echo-chamber. Why not listen to the actual sexual experience of the faithful who adhere to the Church’s teaching?”

  3. benedetta says:

    Just as with a similar defense of Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, notice how he is too chicken to come out and defend what is indefensible…OK to let the gals get slapped around and do your dirty work for you, eh Jesuits? Just award her with platitudes and prestige and have the teaching taught for you before or ever after you attempted to teach it yourself. Thus destroying a magisterium and a generation of young people. My, my.

  4. DanW says:

    Isn’t +Luis Ladaria, who signed the document for the CDF also a Jesuit? That’s what I found when I googled his name. The copy of the document has S.I. behind his name which I belive should be S.J.

  5. robtbrown says:

    The copy of the document has S.I. behind his name which I belive should be S.J.

    No J in Latin; that’s why it’s S.I.

  6. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Remember the recent interview on PBS between Christendom’s Donna Bethell and Fordham’s Jeanine Hill Fletcher?

    Is Fletcher one of those “mentored” by Farley?

    Here’s that video if anyone wants a refresher.

  7. Peggy R says:

    Is it appropriate to continually refer to Sr. Margaret as “Margaret Farley” or “Farley” without the “Sr.” or the acronym of her order behind her name? Doesn’t that diminish her status as a woman religious? Does she prefer not to be denoted as a woman religious?

  8. Peggy,

    Maybe there is a level of honesty that she reflects when she drops the title Sr. from her handle. I respect her for that.

  9. Glen M says:

    Fr. Martin has publicly stated his support of things like liberation theology and liturgical dance. He implicitly supports things like female ordination, gay marriage and the sexual ethics of Sister Farley.

    Pope Boniface XIII said silence gives consent. It’s time for the Vatican to exercise its responsibility in correcting wayward clerics like Fr. Martin and entire orders if necessary. If only from a public relations standpoint it would not be a bad idea to launch a visitation on the Jesuits.

    It is also necessary for some type of action on so-called Catholic publications like the National cAtholic Reporter, America Magazine, and the Tablet. There are too many parishes and other institutions who subscribe to and promote these rags thus threatening the faith.

    Let’s remember the purpose of the Church is to help souls get to Heaven. Correcting the LCWR, Jesuits, and anyone else in need is not about power, hidden agendas, or the rest of the mainstream media spin – it’s about salvation. It’s not Fr. Martin, Sister Farley, or the National cAtholic Reporter that’s the problem – it’s the Enemy. He is very smart and deceitful, his charms affect us all. We need the institution Christ created to fight the Enemy and rejoin our Creator.

    Sister Farley published her trash six years ago. Why did it take this long for the chair of St. Peter to correct her? Why are there pro-choice nuns, pagan-esqe Jesuits, yoga chapels, etc, etc, etc? Please God send the graces needed for our Church leaders to fulfill their office and guide the flock out of modern danger.

  10. Jay E says:

    “With this stinging critique, the Vatican has again signaled its concern about theologians writing about sexual morality.”

    Let’s be more precise. The Vatican is again signaling its concern about theologians RE-WRITING sexual morality. The CDF obviously didn’t have a problem with John Paul II’s work in the Theology of the Body, or other works by orthodox theologians that actually present Catholic moral teaching. It’s not sexuality that’s the problem. It’s heretics like Sr. Farley.

  11. poohbear says:

    Sad how nuns of a certain theology never look happy. They are always pictured with such dismal looks on their faces. They are brides of Christ– they should be glowing.

  12. acardnal says:

    As I recall, Fr. Martin, S.J. was removed as editor of America magazine (Jesuit pub in USA) at the request of the Vatican. I’m sure that doesn’t influence his thinking at all about this case.

  13. BaedaBenedictus says:

    “Doesn’t that diminish her status as a woman religious? Does she prefer not to be denoted as a woman religious?”

    She isn’t a Catholic religious but a defiant heretic and an excommunicate, a wolf in a pantsuit. [No, until she is pronounced otherwise, she is still a member of a religious institute. She has NOT been excommunicated, and we hope that she will reverse her views so that it doesn’t come to that. I think she is not a wolf. Who knows about the clothing.]

    The fact that all the CDF or anyone else in authority will do to stop her deadly poison is to give her a bad book review, won’t change that.

    Pray for the souls being led to the eternal fires by the shepherds and consecrated religious in our church.

  14. thomas tucker says:

    Just this morning at Mass, I was using a missalette called Give Us This Day, and it looked really good. Then I noticed that a reflection for a day later this month was written by Sister Joan Chittiester. That gave me pause. When I looked the periodical up online today, I saw that Fr. Martin was on the Editorial Board, and now I read about his defense of Sister Farley. Needless to say, any thought I had about subscribing to this periodical has gone out the window.

  15. acardnal says:

    Correction: I confused Fr. Martin with past editor Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ who was let go.

  16. BaedaBenedictus says:

    “As I recall, Fr. Martin, S.J. was removed as editor of America magazine (Jesuit pub in USA) at the request of the Vatican.”

    That was actually Fr. Thomas Reese, who after his vicious “persecution” is now comfortably ensconced at Georgetown spreading his poison with the Woodstock Theological Center. Of course that’s his part-time job; his full-time job is MSM wh*re, happily wearing his collar while undermining the Church for the benefit of journalists at Hell’s Bible and its ilk busy working on new anti-Catholic hit-pieces.

    It’s nice work when you can get it.

  17. acardnal says:

    Sorry, three consecutive comments but I think Pope Benedict should consider bringing back the “Index of Forbidden Books”. Wasn’t there another American Sister and theology professor who had her booked rebuked by the Vatican last year?

  18. Bryan Boyle says:

    OOOOHHHHH…imagine my surprise when I saw that a Jebbie was tripping over himself in defense of the indefensible.


    St. Ignatius must, seriously, be approaching a rotational speed in his grave that will soon end up in valve float and breaking the camshaft. I’m thinking even he would say, in the argot of the age, “stick a fork in them, they’re done”.

    I realize that the Holy Father has a lot bigger fish to fry right now. But, disbanding this order (along with the rest of them…it would only be acknowledging the reality of what they’ve become) would go a long way towards restoring some sanity to the proceedings.

  19. Ezra says:

    Three of St Ignatius Loyola’s “Rules for Thinking with the Church“:

    1. Always to be ready to obey with mind and heart, setting aside all judgement of one’s own, the true spouse of Jesus Christ, our holy mother, our infallible and orthodox mistress, the Catholic Church, whose authority is exercised over us by the hierarchy…

    11. To value most highly the sacred teaching, both the Positive and the Scholastic, as they are commonly called…

    13. That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtedly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same.

    Why do 21st-century Jesuits seem so very, very far from St Ignatius, their founder?

  20. EucharistLove says:

    The Church is Christmas and Sr. Farley is the Grinch.

  21. Indulgentiam says:

    In 1986 I was a fresh faced social worker when I met my first AID’s patient. Back then of course it was called GRID. He was a sweet faced young man whose agony I remember to this day. Homosexuality is a scourge and anyone who doesn’t know that has never seen one of these poor souls die. These “I know better than The Church and by extension of course the good Lord” need to read the CDC’s own statistics—
    “Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadilysince the early 1990s. In 2006, MSM accounted for more than half (53%) of all new HIV infections in the United States.”

    The magisterium of nuns, jesuits [j] and all who agree with them are more than just a scandal. They are what Saint Robert Bellarmine called a “Pest of Youth”
    “…But I am also sorely grieved at heart, at hearing that among so many upright young men, there are those, corrupters and corrupted, who move among them, who encircle those who are simple of heart, and by their works entice them…to incitements of lust. Woe unto you imitator of the devil, pest of youth! …what shall you do when you see yourself in the company of those whom you have deceived, in those living combustions of flames! Oh how often will you then say: “Perish the day I first saw you, first sought to address and deceive you! For by hurling you to vice…I was hurling myself into these torments! He, in turn, shall reply to you “Perish the day that first brought you to me as a thief and executioner of my soul!”…This shall be the duet, the symphony of these wretches.”(Hell and its torments by: St. Robert Bellarmine Bishop, Confessor Doctor of the Church 1542-1621)
    Our Lady of the Clergy pray for us!

  22. Seattle Slough says:

    Gosh knows Sr. Farley loves nature in spite of what it’s done to her. That is one scary photo.

  23. Mariana says:

    “We moderns”
    are so passé

  24. Pingback: L’Affaire Farley and the Ongoing Chill Factor in Contemporary Moral Theology | Catholic Moral Theology L’Affaire Farley and the Ongoing Chill Factor in Contemporary Moral Theology |

  25. Brad says:

    Indulgentium, what was the young man’s name? Do you recall? I want to pray for him.

  26. Indulgentiam says:

    His name was Michael. i will not give out his family name for obvious reasons. The good Lord bless you for your kindness :)

  27. Clinton says:

    Just who is it who determine who may be called a ‘Catholic theologian’? Our bishops
    years ago washed their hands of any authority in that matter– Sr. Farley answers to
    no one but her employers at the (protestant) Yale Divinity School.

    The simple truth is that the hiring and tenure committees, and the admissions officials
    responsible for the graduate programs, and the editors of the theological journals–
    these are the people who appoint and anoint all of our ‘Catholic theologians’. Our bishops
    have chosen to have zero role in the process.

    The 1983 Code of Canon Law declares that all Catholic theologians must seek a
    mandatum, essentially a permit to teach, from his or her bishop (Canon #812).
    In the past thirty years, the majority of our bishops have maintained that the issuance
    of a mandatum is a personal matter between a theologian and his bishop. Thus,
    we must assume that Sr. Farley’s Ordinary had granted her permission to teach as a
    Catholic theologian and that even now she is in good standing. However, we cannot know
    for sure unless one of them makes her status just as public as her theology.

    I’d bet that Sr. Farley never asked her bishop for a mandatum, and that her bishop(s)
    never insisted Canon Law be respected. Our bishops have made Canon #812 a dead letter,
    and Sr. Farley’s ‘Catholic theology’ is the inevitable result.

    It’s amazing, really. If our Church were merely a corporation, it would be as if the company
    allowed an ad agency to employ anyone it pleased, broadcast any message about the
    company it wished, shape the company’s brand– all without any means of oversight or
    review from the Board of Directors. What could possibly go wrong with that arrangement?

  28. Mark01 says:

    What exactly is this supposed to mean: “Just Love’s thesis is that justice is central to sexual morality, especially justice in the sense of respect for the real identity and needs of the other”? Of course drawn to its logical conclusion, what she’s saying is that anything you do sexually is OK, and justice demands that we treat your deviant behaviour, whatever it is, with respoect because it is your real identify. Never mind that we have a fallen nature, you must respect whatever I choose to do in that fallen nature, because it’s who God made me to be. I’m OK, you’re OK.

  29. haribo says:

    I imagine for a lot of the theologians who have done well for themselves in academia, a notification from the CDF would be the crown jewel of their CV. Everyone in the field knows that to be in the running for a prestigious chair, you have to first make a name for yourself. What better way to do that in theology than by being censured by the Catholic Church. Some might argue orthodoxy is the antithesis of scholarship, so a condemnation by the Vatican might serve as proof you’re dong the right thing.

  30. ContraMundum says:


    Some might argue orthodoxy is the antithesis of scholarship

    Not really. It tends to be an unexamined assumption, not an argument. Ironically, unexamined assumptions really are the antithesis of scholarship.

  31. Susan the Short says:

    Seattle Slough, that scary photo made me recall a quote by photographer Cecil Beaton:
    “By age 50 we each have the face we deserve.”

    Apologies if I got the quote wrong.

  32. NoTambourines says:

    We’ve got some conversions to pray for. I know what the intentions for my Rosary will be this evening.

    The farther afield someone is, how much more wonderful it would be to see them come back.

  33. disco says:

    Did you hear the one about the jezzie who got himself a nihil obstat?

  34. Clinton says:

    “Margaret Farley is an immensely well respected theologian and scholar, and is a revered
    mentor for many Catholic theologians. It would be difficult to overstate her influence in the
    field of sexual ethics, or the esteem in which she is held by her colleagues.”

    —- Fr. James Martin, SJ

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what is wrong with Catholic theology as it is done in this
    country. Fr. Martin does not exaggerate– Sr. Farley is, in fact, a rock star in her decadent
    circles. She served for years as the president of the once-respectable Catholic Theological
    Society of America whilst publicly and without censure peddling her tripe. She and her
    fellow-travelers have been slowly crowding out the bishops from their legitimate role as
    teachers of the Faith, and have built up the Magisterium of Nuns.

    Things will only get worse. The CDF cannot be expected to do all of the work cleaning up the
    state of Catholic academia in America– our bishops need to reassert their authority as
    teachers. Sr. Farley shines as a star only because our bishops have been so dim.

  35. acardnal says:

    Support the “Fellowship of Catholic Scholars” as an alternative to the CTSA. An orthodox and faithful group of academicians.

  36. Bob B. says:

    What is it about the Jesuits today? Fr. Martin siding with a sister who has obviously lost her Catholic way and a bunch of Marquette Jesuits signing a recall petition of a pro-life governor…What, nothing from the rest of the Jesuits and Jesuit universities?

  37. ContraMundum says:

    The CDF cannot be expected to do all of the work cleaning up the
    state of Catholic academia in America– our bishops need to reassert their authority as

    I will now expose myself as an idealist by pointing out that academia, too, has a responsibility to rid itself of such contributions. The fact that no one inside or outside of academia expects real intellectual honesty from That Side Of Campus says plenty about the state of the American educational system. This is one of many crises that are crashing down on us at the same time. If it were the only one, it would be easy to fix, but it is NOT the only one.

  38. heway says:

    I would laugh if it wasn’t so sad. Why would I seek out this celibate woman to answer my questions about sexual morality? What gives her the ability to advice me, certainly not her writings. [So, you don’t listen to anything priests or bishops teach either.]
    As for America magazine, I canceled my subscription some years ago. I don’t believe that intelligent catholics buy these books and magazines.
    Also….please do not paint all Jesuits with the same paintbrush! Be discerning.

  39. AnAmericanMother says:

    That quote is variously attributed to George Orwell, Coco Chanel, and Fay Weldon. My old Bartlett’s doesn’t include it.
    If that gnomic utterance is true, I shudder to think what the subject of the photograph above has been up to.
    She looks cruel, hostile, and defiant. What’s more, it’s a professional photo in circulation, so she apparently likes the portrayal.
    Applying my usual standard: If she were in a jury panel, I’d get her out of there before she contaminated the others.

  40. AnnAsher says:

    Is she reading the NMBLA edition of the Bible? No wonder so few know how to be Catholic anymore.

  41. philologus says:

    What times we live in! Shall we call them the “Third-Sophistic”? Regarding Farley, I simply offer the famous admonition of Gregory of Nazianzus (First Theological Oration, 3):

    ?? ??????, ? ?????, ?? ???? ???? ??????????, ?? ??????.
    Philosophizing about God is not for everyone. Nope, not for everyone.

    How similar to the sophists are these strange folk! There’s a marvelous bit earlier on in the oration, where Gregory compares the Eunomians to professional wrestlers.

  42. philologus says:

    Apparently the comment box doesn’t like Greek!

  43. sarahlcc says:

    Is it just me, or does this woman remind anyone else of Margaret Sanger? Google the picture…’s almost as if the same spirit peers out.

  44. Clinton says:

    ContraMundum, I suspect that few people expect real intellectual honesty from “That Side
    of Campus” because the subject at hand, Catholic theology, is already ridiculous to them.

    The triumph of relativism in modern academia means that few disciplines are held to a
    standard of objective intellectual rigor. If the majority believe that truth is merely subjective,
    if it’s just whatever one feels it to be, then a theologian who treats it as an objective reality
    will at best be regarded as a fool.

    We have been fortunate to have had true Catholic academics like Janet Smith and Mary Ann
    Glendon and Avery Cardinal Dulles. Sadly, their numbers have been few beside the endless
    clown car that is Catholic academia today. Theology used to be regarded as the “Queen of
    Sciences”, but for the last 40-50 years she’s been debauched and abused and left on the side
    of the road as the subject for ridicule.

  45. oledocfarmer says:

    All I can say about that mug is, “Freight train, meet dirt road.”

  46. Katylamb says:

    Gosh! Who cares how she looks? It is actions that count, not looks. How shallow!

  47. Gail F says:

    I went to Fr. Martin’s Facebook page and read the comments. Wow.

  48. gc5341 says:

    Sorry to have to say this but I believe it to be a true observation leading to a possible explanation for Sr. Farley’s writings that defy Catholic Church teaching. Sr. Farley looks like a satanic clown and I wonder if she is possessed by the devil. My thoughts are only speculation but this scenario could be plausible.

  49. JKnott says:

    But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth? Luke 18:8

  50. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Mark01 —

    No, it’s perfectly true that relationships of love are supposed to be regulated by justice. For example, by the demands of natural law and Catholic teaching, which surely should be included in “justice in the sense of respect for the real identity and needs of the other”.

    In justice, men and women should be married to each other before they have sex; sex should be practiced in a chaste and respectful way that is open to life; people should stay married; and nobody should be getting up to any perversions or bad practices which are disrespectful and unjust to themselves or other humans, or offensive to God. And so on.

    The problem is that apparently, they are weaseling out of the loving and beautiful demands of justice, and instead going for “just what my friends think is okay.”

  51. ContraMundum says:


    Understand that I teach physics at a state university. Physics, math, chemistry, etc., are fields in which relativism does not hold sway, in contrast with pretty much all the humanities and social sciences.

  52. Long-Skirts says:


    (to “I Walk The Line” my apologies to Johnny Cash)

    I keep a close watch on this soul of mine
    I keep my eyes uplifted to sublime
    For as in Heaven and earth the Pope can bind
    Because you’re mine, the Tridentine

    I find it very, very easy to be blue
    Oh Holy Father please do what you must do
    A violent papist, I am a fool for you
    Because you’re mine, the Tridentine

    As sure as sin is dark and grace is light
    I pray for you both day and also night
    While neutered men sin low pervert true height
    Because you’re mine, the Tridentine

    The Vati-leakist conquer and divide
    The gender-benders of Mercy want your hide
    Cristero-Priests and Mass can turn the tide
    Because you’re mine, the Tridentine


  53. benedetta says:

    Think about it: they wanted Obama, they got him. They wanted gay marriage, and, in some places, they are getting that. They wanted, from way back, the prochoice and the big abortion, and, they’ve had that. But they can’t take people’s souls without consent, and, they don’t have the “official magisterium”. So now they are desperate.

  54. magister63 says:

    Good grief! I wasn’t sure if I was looking at Richard Simmons or something from Battlestar Gallactica! At least she shaved for the picture!
    In all seriousness, this is just another anomaly in the conciliar Church which has led to the state of emergency we find ourselves in. Thank God if you have the true Faith and attach yourselves to the Immaculate. Under her mantle we shall find protection from this storm which seems to overcome the Barque of Peter. In the end, she will triumph. Kyrie eleison!

  55. Kathleen10 says:

    I’m very glad books such as this are called into question, very glad. But with all sincerity I ask why has it taken so long? Is this the first book written by a nun with such terrible “theology”? Haven’t these lies been written or taught openly for quite awhile now? Please, don’t get me wrong, as I said, I’m extremely happy these are now called into question, and I support Bishop Sartain and anyone involved in the effort to stem this terrible tide. I just don’t understand where has everyone been up until now? Did no one notice? I’m in the dark, as usual, and not understanding how these things work in the church at all. Nonetheless, hurrah for the effort!

  56. ContraMundum says:

    Under her mantle we shall find protection from this storm which seems to overcome the Barque of Peter.


    “Seems to overcome the Barque of Peter”? Um, I don’t think Sr. Farley or Fr. James are really that important. Nor are all the other Sr. Farleys and Fr. Jameses. This isn’t like the Arian crisis, or the Protestant Reformation, or the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy. There aren’t antipopes making a (serious) claim to the papal throne or Saracens invading. The Pope is not in prison, as when his predecessor was arrested by Napoleon, to say nothing of the many martyrs under the Roman Empire.

  57. acardnal says:

    Maybe you can’t see the forest through the trees.

    One of many ways they are important is the souls they are infesting with their venom. I think it very well could be like “like the Arian crisis, or the Protestant Reformation, or the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy.” And “Saracens invading”? Of course they are!

  58. Frances M says:

    I didn’t know before now that Mick Jagger is a Catholic theologian.

  59. ContraMundum says:


    Yeah, it’s always appealing to believe that we are living through one of the most important disasters in history. It makes us feel special; after all, surely God would save special saints like us for a great crisis. In the Protestant circles I from which I converted, this manifests itself in a belief that the favorite political enemy of the day might be the Antichrist and that the Rapture will probably occur sometime within the next decade.

  60. Long-Skirts says:

    magister63 says:
    “Good grief! I wasn’t sure if I was looking at Richard Simmons or something from Battlestar Gallactica! ”

    and then

    Frances M says:
    “I didn’t know before now that Mick Jagger is a Catholic theologian.”

    Oh my gosh, you guys are so funny!! LOL!!!! Stop it, you’re killing me!! Hysterical!!!

  61. Widukind says:

    The embodiment of Cruella DeVille she might be?

  62. Geoffrey says:

    I hate to join the bandwagon of insulting a person’s looks, but am I the only one who heard the jingle “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” when first looking at her photo?

  63. Supertradmum says:

    While these so-called theologians are selling books and making a name for themselves in academia, people’s souls are at risk of eternal perdition.

  64. Robbie J says:

    Fr. Z, I don’t know much about this new mindset masquerading as “theology” but all I can say is: with regard to matters sexual, my wife are practising Catholics. We don’t question the Catholic church’s teachings on sexuality: we obey. The result, after almost 27 years of marriage, is something I can only describe as a “sweetness” in our spousal relationship. I truly believe we are blessed by God and our love for one another could only be possible (after so many ups and downs) because we Trust In Him and the teachings of His holy church. God Bless You!

  65. Spaniard says:

    Biblical approach “to the poor”? What about the Bible’s approach to homosexual acts, such as “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination” (Lev 18, 22), or Romans 1, 26, which clearly states “unnatural relations” as evil, or the SIN of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the just celebrated story of Saint Charles Luanga and companion martyrs, who refusing to have homosexual acts with their king where sent to martyrdom? I suppose she doesnt mention any of it in her book, does she?

  66. Glen M says:

    Dear Fr. Z, I’ve read that one can excommunicate themself in three ways: heresy, schism, apostate. If that’s true then hasn’t Sr. Farley committed two of these already? [Please post a link to a document that says she is excommunicated. Really, friends, let’s be careful about throwing around terms like that. Whether she should be excommunicated is another question. We don’t get to decide those things on our own. Matters of excommunication are governed by law.]

  67. Darren says:

    I used to proudly give to miy high school’s annual fund. Used to… it’s a Jesuit school. I know some crazy things the chaplain was doing about 10 years ago or so (reading from the quran and other books of other religions during the school masses, to help the non-Catholic students feel more included). He’s not the chaplain anymore… but I just wonder. Could the few good Jesuits out there break away and form their own true Ignatian order, as the Jesuits once were? Well, there are other new Ignatian orders out there.

    The order needs a real “cannonball to the leg” so to speak, as St. Ignatius suffered which led him on the path to holiness.

    I don’t watch EWTN much these days (I don’t watch much of anything on TV these days), but what is everyone’s opinion of Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ? He always seemed like one of the good Jesuits, but I admit I never watched him all that much.

    There is a BEAUTIFUL old large church in Jersey City, NJ – St. Aedan’s. Big church, few people… the Jesuits took it over (incorporating it into the “Catholic” St. Peter’s College which is nearby). I keep praying they don’t start messing with things inside… I doubt it, it is so old and beautiful… still has the communion rail and all… (Fr. Benedict Groeschel attended St. Aedan’s school as a child.)

  68. philologus says:

    I personally don’t think figures like Fr. Martin and Sr. Farley will have much of an impact on future generations of Catholics. The reason is that the younger generations who share their views simply don’t become Catholic, or don’t continue as practicing Catholics. They move in circles where such views are not controversial.

    I honestly don’t think the younger generations “get” the cause of persons like Sr. Farley. You have to remember that such movements as are represented by Sr. Farley’s thinking are essentially reactionary in nature. Sr. Farley is “reacting” to a perceived Catholic reality that doesn’t really exist anymore. People in their 20s don’t perceive the same threats to their identity and freedom, which Sr. Farley claims to perceive.

    I think, instead of joining her cause, most people in their 20s would simply ask why Sr. Farley would continue to be Catholic?

  69. Glen M says:

    Fr. Z, I’m certainly not stating Sr. Farley is excommunicated, I’m asking if this is the case. If one can excommunicate themself by heresy and schism, then is that not Sr Farley’s situation? IN LINGUA ORIGINALE

    “the matter concerned doctrinal errors”

    “the dissemination of which risks grave harm to the faithful”

    “Sr. Farley either ignores the constant teaching of the Magisterium or, where it is occasionally mentioned, treats it as one opinion among others”

    “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”

    The Catechism defines Heresy as: “the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same.” (2089)

    Given Cardinal Levada as the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith description of Sr. Farley’s positions, isn’t it heresy?

    Also, given Sr. Farley’s public response in defending her positions and not correcting them, isn’t she defying lawful authority, thus in schism?

    “Schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him” (2089).

    My motivation for asking is not to wag a finger at Sr. Farley in a “you’re going straight to Hell” manner, but sincere Christian concern for her soul and others. If we are to attain salvation ourselves while helping others along the way we need to understand the faith. There are many average Catholics today who honestly believe most doctrine is up to personal interpretation with the Golden Rule and the Great Commandment trumping all else.

    [When the Church wants to make pronouncements about excommunications, she states them clearly. “Because of X and Y, Sr. Soandso incurred Z (citing canons, etc.).”]

  70. Clinton says:

    Philologus, I believe I understand what you’re saying, but I agree only in part. The likes
    of Sr. Farley will have an impact on future generations of Catholics because they are
    one of the reasons why so many do not continue as practicing Catholics.

    My roomate for two years in college had a cohort of childhood friends, all expensively
    educated at a Jesuit prep school. To a man, each had ceased practicing their Faith. That’s not
    too surprising — temporary lapses often occur at that time in life. Yet what still astonishes me
    is the smug, knowing cynicism they had regarding the Church. They each felt they knew Her
    well, and that She was a bit of a tired joke. Where did they learn the cheerful rationalizations
    for their fornication, the abortions and drug use? It’s been years since college, but I don’t
    believe any have returned to the Faith of their fathers, nor are their children Catholic. Those
    guys were shaped by the likes of Fr. Martin and Sr. Farley.

    Fr. Martin and Sr. Farley and their ilk are not the future of the Church. Yet they are shaping
    Catholic youth, and as the cliche says, the children are our future. We’ve already seen that
    many congregations of sisters don’t seem to care that they’ve imploded their own numbers.
    Why do we think they give a thought to imploding the numbers of practicing Catholics? Why
    do we think sisters who cannot attract postulants can attract our children to the Faith? If
    they don’t believe in a future for their own congregations, what makes us think they give a
    thought to the next generation of Catholics? Why do we still give them our youth to shape?

  71. philologus says:

    Clinton, I see your point. I also have experience with Prep schools and I agree with your assessment of the convictions of the majority of their graduates, convictions that are fostered in Prep classrooms by retired hippies who are frustrated that their revolution has only turned out to be a kind of ill-timed flatulence in the grand banquet of Christianity.

    The thing is: college students are not lining up in support of these people. They’re indifferent to them. Their causes seem old-fashioned, outdated, moot, irrelevant. Church isn’t important enough to most college kids for them to care whether the Church gives Her blessing to same-sex marriages.

    Those to whom Church is important, I find, are very much put off by the likes of Sr. Farley. These and their progeny are the future of the Church.

  72. Pingback: St. Augustine CDF Sr. Margaret Farely Fr. James Martin LCWR | Big Pulpit

  73. Hidden One says:

    I am an orthodox Catholic with a ‘traditionalist’ liturgical outlook.Were I also a Jesuit, some of these comments would be tarring and feathering me, too, by association.

    Some of my fellow commenters may wish to rethink some of their words even if only because there are faithful Jesuits, both in and done formation. Perhaps some of them even read this blog. [True! Good point.]

  74. Indulgentiam says:

    @Hidden One–Thank you for the correction. What I should have said is-The magisterium of nuns and anyone who believes as they do-
    I humbly apologize and ask forgiveness for my defamatory statement

  75. Clinton says:

    “… their revolution has only turned out to be a kind of ill-timed flatulence in the grand
    banquet of Christianity.” Now that is a brilliant turn of phrase, Philologus!

    Hidden One, I agree that whatever opinion people may have of Jesuits as an order, no one
    may dispute that the Society has given us fine priests and teachers like Fr. Mitch Pacwa SJ,
    Fr. Joseph Fessio SJ, and Avery Cardinal Dulles SJ (RIP). May their tribe increase.
    I will add that the priest who most often celebrates the EF Mass for my parish is an iron
    pillar of orthodoxy, an elderly Jesuit who has been faithfully serving the Church as a priest
    for longer than most of the readers here have been alive. God bless them all.

  76. JJMSJ says:

    Thank you, Hidden One and Fr Z.
    There are some faithful Jesuits here and I, for one, don’t understand the generalizations.
    But I also don’t understand the comments making fun of a person’s physical looks, which some find so amusing, so color me clueless on a few counts.

  77. acardnal says:

    I would also add Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ to the list of orthodox and faithful Jesuits. Raymond Cardinal Burke is/was a huge proponent of Fr. Hardon.

  78. Rachel K says:

    The photo is unflattering and a bit scary. I saw the comment from Irishgirl that she looks very mannish and Fr Z comments that we can’t always help how we look- BUT, Isn’t it a spiritual truth that the eyes are the mirror of the soul and that the further we stray from the path of Truth the less ‘ourselves” we become. So is it possible that our physical appearance reflects our spiritual progress? Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was very lined and worn-out looking but she always looked radiant and feminine. And a smile always helps!

  79. Fuquay Steve says:

    I know nuns are not to be considered for their physical beauty but please, do my eyes have to bleed?

  80. Amandil says:

    “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

    If this Sister ever reads this blog, let us act in such a way that she will see the joy that comes from the true faith of Jesus Christ. Let us concentrate not on external appearances but on the beauty of her soul, for which a great price was paid.

    Recordare, Iesu pie, quod sum causa tuae viae; ne me perdas illa die.

  81. Johnno says:

    Fr. Z:”Please post a link to a document that says she is excommunicated. Really, friends, let’s be careful about throwing around terms like that. Whether she should be excommunicated is another question. We don’t get to decide those things on our own. Matters of excommunication are governed by law.”

    What you say is entirely true, however it seems abundantly clear that we’re missing the forest for the trees. Do you think that the Churhc itself has attached itself to some ridiculous standards of what when and how someone is determined to be excommunicated that the Church leaders now, infected with modernist tolerance and extreme views of when a conscience is violated, that the Church has been negligent and inneffectual to call out obvious evil that simple children can see is abundantly clear? In which case, this strict legalism, or rather this ideology that ‘everyone by defualt must be considered as if they suffer from invincible ignorance’ has affected the Church to to avert its eyes and ignore the clear and obvious? If they don’t want to issue a formal notice of excommunication, they can at least stand up and loudly denounce the work and views of such people and embarass them publicly as is fitting with the level of their dissent and open defiance and error so that there would be no doubt as to what is authentic Catholic teaching?

    [When you are elected to the See of Peter, you can change the Church’s laws. In the meantime, the Notification accomplished what is was intended to accomplish.]

  82. snoozie says:

    “[When the Church wants to make pronouncements about excommunications, she states them clearly. “Because of X and Y, Sr. Soandso incurred Z (citing canons, etc.).”]”

    So there is no such thing as Latae sententiae excommunication? I’m not being a smart alec here, I’m seriously looking for clarification…

  83. snoozie: Of course there are. They are few in number. And when they are public matters, they are normally confirmed with a public statement.

  84. ContraMundum says:

    I think one could reasonably hold the opinion that the medieval Church was too quick to issue excommunications, and the Church today is too slow.

  85. Melianthus says:

    As offensive as the Sister’s book is to the teachings of the Church, the comments about her looks are equally offensive. If you have something to say about her writing then say it. The comments about her looks are juvenile and simply uncharitable and unkind.

  86. trekkie4christ says:

    I must admit I have some egg on my face at this point, for having defended Fr. Martin in his earlier Twitter campaign. However, I still maintain that it was a better move to give him the benefit of the doubt, but still keep a close eye on what he was saying beyond that point.

    Now that this has come out, however, I must withdraw my full support from Fr. Martin. While he does have some great insights into modern spirituality, unfortunately his ability to determine the relative gravity of social and moral issues is severely lacking. Anyone who would place the importance of increasing social welfare (when we already have too much, IMHO) over that of saving totally sinless, impeccably innocent lives has their priorities all out of order.

  87. Hidden One says:

    To all,

    If my comment above was of use to you, please spare me a prayer as reparation on my behalf for certain words and generalizations that I have made in the past concerning the Jesuits and for the taming of my tongue so that I won’t do it again.

    Fuquay Steve ,

    There are Saints who prayed to be made ugly and it was granted. There are also Saints who needed no such prayer.

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