Vatican slams US nun’s book on homosexuals

Professor Margaret Farley's book 'Just Love' challenges Catholic views on homosexuality, masturbation and divorce

Vatican slams US nun’s book on homosexuals
04 June 2012

The Vatican has slammed an American theologian’s book that challenges negative Catholic views on homosexuality.

Professor Margaret Farley’s book ‘Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics’ was judged by the Vatican as a ‘defective understanding’ of certain core Church teachings.

In the book Farley discusses homosexual acts, same-sex marriage, masturbation and remarriage after divorce.

In a statement made today (4 June) by officials in Rome and approved by Pope Benedict XVI, they say the book could cause ‘grave harm to the faithful’.

They added it ‘cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counselling and formation, or in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue,’ and requested she change the book for future editions.

Farley said she never intended the book to express Catholic teaching, but to help people ‘think through their questions about human sexuality.’

Farley wrote that gay people should be respected. On gay marriage, Farley asserted that legal recognition of gay marriage can help transform the stigmatization of gays.

In a response statement made by Farley, she says: ‘[The book] suggests the importance of moving from what frequently functions as a taboo morality to a morality and sexual ethics based on the discernment of what counts as wise, truthful, and recognizably just loves.

‘Although my responses to some particular sexual ethical questions do depart from some traditional Christian responses, I have tried to show they reflect a deep coherence with the central aims and insights of these theological and moral traditions.’

She insisted the Vatican’s statement misrepresented her book, and said religious people need to evolve their views on sexual ethics.

Margaret Farley is a renowned American theologian and is Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity School.

Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics was released in 2006.  

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