Sunday, June 10, 2012

Quote of the Day

If Margaret A. Farley’s fine theo-ethical work [Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics] 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 4th 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 6 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.

. . . Dr. Farley’s scholarly work is characterized by a careful, reasoned, realism about the human condition. She brings a thorough grounding in the Christian tradition with an emphasis on Catholic thought to her books on commitment, embodiment, respect, and, the most recent and controversial one, on love. Rather than embrace her project and explore, as she does, the range of ways that good people try to love—with an emphasis on the demands of justice in every intimate relationship—the CDF theologians boiled down her opus into five cherry-picked nuggets on sex and marriage that reflect their priorities, not hers. They missed the forest for the trees. Their statement is deeply insulting, not to mention morally suspect, in that such a stellar scholar’s reputation is impugned. As my mother would say, “Consider the source.” . . .

– Mary E. Hunt
"Notify This! Vatican Bungles Response to Sexual Ethics Book"
Religion Dispatches
June 9, 2012

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – June 4, 2012
Just Love
"A Wise and Thoughtful Study of Sexual Ethics"
In the News
An Energizing and Spirited Weekend
The "Ratzinger Letter" of 1986 as "Theological Pornography"

Recommended Off-site Links:
Why I Keep Blogging: People Are Suffering (and Notes on Margaret Farley's Vatican Condemnation) – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, June 10, 2012).
Vatican Censures Sister Margaret Farley’s Theology of Sexuality – Francis DeBernardo (Bondings 2.0, June 4, 2012).
Vatican Criticizes US Theologian's Book on Sexuality – Jerry Filteau (National Catholic Reporter, June 4, 2012).
Book by Margaret Farley, RSM, Condemned by Vatican – James Martin, S.J. (America, June 4, 2012).
No Justice for Margaret Farley and Just Love – Jamie L Manson (National Catholic Reporter, June 4, 2012).

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