Crowning an investigation spanning several years, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued a sharp rebuke of Sr. Margaret Farley, R.S.M. The Vatican notification, directed at Sr. Farley’s book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, comes in response to the dissident nun’s failure to clarify certain doctrinal issues raised by the Congregation in a 2010 preliminary investigation.
“Among the many errors and ambiguities of this book are its positions on masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage and the problem of divorce and remarriage," according to the Congregation. Also highlighted is the book’s failure to recognize the “role of the Church’s Magisterium as the teaching authority of the bishops united with the Successor of Peter.”
Despite her obligations as a Catholic nun, “Sr. Farley either ignores the constant teaching of the Magisterium or, where it is occasionally mentioned, treats it as one opinion among others” and “manifests a defective understanding of the objective nature of the natural moral law.”
This is not the first time Sr. Farley has been called out on her errant and heretical positions. In 1984, she co-signed a newspaper ad for Catholics for Free Choice, which explicitly dissented from the perennial Catholic teaching on the immorality of abortion. The assertions in this ad were condemned by the Catholic Bishops of America as “not clear and consistent,” “not correct” and “not substantiated by scholarly research.”
In 2010, TFP Student Action launched a campaign urging the University of Detroit Mercy, a Jesuit institution, to severe its scandalous ties to the abortion industry, which included web-links to Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women, as well as Sr. Farley’s inclusion on the Board of Trustees. Garnering over 11,000 messages of protest, the campaign did see the removal of some links to Planned Parenthood. Now, Sr. Farley is no longer on the Board of this Catholic institution.
The Congregation has sent a clear signal by issuing its document: Sr. Farley’s obstinate rejection of Catholic doctrine is unacceptable and unconscionable and Catholics must not be led astray by them.
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