My Take: Vatican is unjust to condemn nun's 'Just Love'
The Vatican publicized its condemnation of Sister Margaret Farley on Monday.
June 4th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

My Take: Vatican is unjust to condemn nun's 'Just Love'

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

A few years ago I sat on a book prize jury and weighed the merits of the book "Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics" by Margaret A. Farley, a nun in the Sisters of Mercy order. I thought it was well-researched and well-argued, and I was not surprised when it won the 2008 Grawemeyer Award in Religion (and with it a $200,000 prize).

On May 21, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith forwarded to Sister Patricia McDermott, president of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a Notification condemning Farley's "Just Love." On Monday, the Vatican published that Notification online.

Not surprisingly, the matter preoccupying the Vatican here is not poverty or hunger or oppression. It is sex.

“Among the many errors and ambiguities of this book,” concludes the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “are its positions on masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage and the problem of divorce and remarriage."

"Just Love" surveys sexual ethics from various philosophical, historical, religious and anthropological perspectives before turning to its central topic: the ethics of love and sex.

When it comes to love, Farley argues, love itself is not enough. “The question ultimately is, what is a right love, and a good, just, and true love?” she writes.

Her answer? Love is just when it meets three criteria: “it is a true response to the reality of the beloved, a genuine union between the one who loves and the one loved, and an accurate and adequate affective affirmation of the loved.” In short, “persons are not to be loved as if they were things.”

Turning to the ethics of sex, Farley advances a parallel argument, though this time she articulates seven norms: “do no unjust harm,” “free consent of partners,” “mutuality,” “equality,” “commitment,” “fruitfulness” and “social justice.”

So if you are looking for a libertine line here, you are not going to get one. But as the Vatican noticed and Farley herself admitted in a statement Monday, this is not toeing the traditional Catholic line, either.

Instead of grounding her thinking here simply in scripture and tradition, Farley draws as well on secular perspectives and contemporary experience. And she is alive to the possibility that same-sex relationships can meet her criteria for justice, including that of “fruitfulness,” rightly understood.

Once again, I must admit that I cannot make sense of what the Vatican is doing here.

In recent weeks, the Roman Catholic Church has gone after U.S. nuns for fighting poverty rather than fighting gay sex. Now, the Vatican is targeting a nun individually.

A cynic might say that the Church is trying to distract us from a sexual abuse scandal that continues to fester. If so, it isn't working, and few are buying the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's claim that Farley is somehow a renegade Catholic whose writings must be shunned by the faithful.

Dozens of theologians are supporting her publicly, noting (among other things) that the Vatican didn't even do Farley the courtesy of meeting her argument with an argument of its own. Meanwhile, McDermott has expressed the “profound regret” of the Sisters of Mercy over the Vatican’s decision to issue a Notification against the book.

As I took "Just Love" down from my bookshelf Monday morning and paged through its arguments, what stopped me up short was this introductory passage:

In Western culture, at least since its Christian formation, there has been a perduring tendency to give too much importance to the morality of sex. The sexual has threatened to take over the moral focus of whole generations of persons. Everything about the “sexual” is considered “moral” or “immoral,” and “morality” is almost reduced to “sexual morality.” All of this is to the detriment of concerns about economic justice, the oppression of whole peoples, political dishonesty, and even theft and the taking of life.

Farley goes on to argue for the importance of thinking and writing about sex, since we "frequently harm or betray ourselves and one another precisely as sexual beings." But the point stands. As does this question: Why is the Vatican so focused on an issue Jesus himself almost entirely ignored?

I acknowledge the right of the Roman Catholic Church to police the thinking and writing of its own. But I will continue to be disappointed by the Vatican until it shows me that it is at least as concerned with economic and social justice as it is with masturbation and gay sex.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Ethics • Homosexuality • Opinion • Same-sex marriage • Sexuality • United States • Vatican

soundoff (577 Responses)
  1. Seyedibar

    Why condemn a nun for love? Condemn her for her belief in ridiculous primitive folktales.

    June 5, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Scott

      I am going to start by saying I am not at all religious. My question is this, Why is it that whenever there is a religious article people like you post your beliefs? Are you that threatened by religion? There is no proof there is a God and no proof that there isn’t. So why bash other people’s beliefs? Does this make you feel better about yourself? Just wondering. To each their own.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Scott

      OOPS, that wasn't directed to you. What the heck?? Sorry

      June 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Mary

      Love and s.ex are not synonyms.

      June 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  2. RES

    The Vatican is not about love. It is about power and control!

    June 5, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  3. Howard

    Reasonable people can agree that basic human functions can be ignored only by risking the physical and mental health of the persons doing so. Reasonable people can also agree that s.exual activity is a natural and basic adult human function.

    Now that we've established those two points, can someone please explain how on Earth a cadre of adult males who've dedicated their lives to rejecting s.exual activity can possibly be qualified to speak to the subject?

    June 5, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Well, I figure that they must be the foremost experts on masturbation.

      June 5, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Mary

      None of your points make sense.

      June 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  4. Average Joe

    It seems that every day CNN has some article or segment on TV attacking the Catholic Church. You won't find similar items about Islam. CNN knows better. Maybe this hypocrisy is why the network is dead last in ratings.

    June 5, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • derp

      Don't read CNN then.

      June 5, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Yeah...your pedophile infested cult can't hide in the shadows anymore. I know you supporters of your child rapists would like to go back to business as usual but that's just too bad. The morally superior secular public wouldn't think of trying to defend such repugnant acts.

      June 5, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Well, if the CC would stop making news by publicly attacking various people, perhaps there would be nothing to write about. Also. Muslims have very little real influence here to get worked up about.

      June 5, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Bob

      Every day some twerp asks "Why is this important?" on every article on every site on the Internet. Its called having nothing constructive to add.

      June 5, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Frank

      Or it's Catholic supporters of their child rapists who wish to take the focus back off their cult.

      June 5, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • ellid

      Reporting is not attacking. FAIL.

      June 5, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  5. WWRRD

    Remove the log from your own eye so that you can see the speck in another's.

    June 5, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  6. thomas

    The pedophile perverts at the Vatican said what?

    June 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Brian

      exactly. What they push for is unnatural which lead to all the garbage behind public views while they try so hard to cover up when it happens to maintain that unrealistic unnatural behavior/image;

      June 5, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • rh

      If you say all priests are pedophiles, then please also add that all public school teachers are pedophiles, all coaches are pedophiles, and all parents are pedophiles, because there are many many examples of people in those roles who are pedophiles.

      The Catholic Church does act pretty dumb, even criminally neglectful, but they are not the worst in the world when it comes to hypocrisy.

      Look up information on Orthodox Jewish pedophiles being covered up by NYC DA and his office.

      June 5, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • BethTX

      Exactly. How 'bout issuing a "Notification" on turning creepers over to the authorities?

      June 5, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  7. Russ

    @ Prothero: as a non-Catholic, I've got to come to their defense. I can't believe how you are dodging the issues here.

    1) the Catholic Church has made much of its name in the last century about fighting poverty. heard of Mother Teresa? are you not listening to the radio? the Catholic Church is consistently on with commercials talking about "the fight to end poverty."

    2) you can't have it both ways on the s.ex issue. Policing doctrinal stances on s.ex has everything to do with policing s.exual misconduct – BOTH pedophilia & (as the Catholic Church sees it as a sin) pro-ho.mo.se.xual behaviors or stances. It is being CONSISTENT to pursue se.xual misconduct in ALL forms – activity, doctrine, etc.

    3) as an academic, you can't feign ignorance that Farley's definition of love is directly contrary to the Church's – and seeing as how God defines love (Scripture even says "God is Love"), this is no small thing. "Commitment" defined apart from Christ can become the opposite of Christianity. This debate on ho.mo.se.xuality is largely centered on that underlying concern for those in the conservative camp.

    4) In light of that, claiming Christ rarely speaks to s.ex severely separates it from marriage (something Scripture does not do), not to mention avoids the rest of Scripture. Christ spoke several times on marriage – and quite clearly about its importance. you're taking a very minimalist approach (as if only the Gospels are Christ's positions when conservatives believe the whole of Scripture to be God's Word) – which is disingenuous when you know you're opponents here believe differently than you. It is not inconsistency within their own framework, but inconsistency with yours – which certainly feels like the main thrust of this entire article.

    In sum, your incredulity is rife with personal blindness. You are actually attempting to do the very mistake that you contend they make: deflecting the issue before us by appealing to another (poverty vs. s.exuality). You want to see them change their positions on s.exuality, so you claim they should be more about economics & injustice – which, despite your objection, is something they publicly, frequently discuss. And you use that as a distraction from the fact that they are merely bringing their long-held positions to bear on this issue.

    It leads me to ask a question: are you one of those professors who grades papers based on whether the student agrees with your opinion, or how consistently argued one's point is? It certainly seems that is how you are grading the Catholic Church.

    June 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Brandon W.

      @Russ: as a non-fan of Prothero, I've got to come to his defense. I can't believe how you are dodging the issues here.

      1)The Catholic Church has never made it's name on fighting poverty and Mother Teresa diverted almost all of the funds donated to her to build nunneries. She was a sadistic woman following the sadistic policies of the RCC. They encourage and foster suffering. They think it "refines" the soul so they are not against poverty at all. Are you an idiot?

      2)There is nothing in the Bible that prohibits any kind of child abuse, and any suffering those pedopriests cause to children must "surely refine their souls with their suffering" as the RCC teaches. Thus the RCC does nothing about the pedopriests.
      As to gays, it is ironic that many priests are gay, yet are given absolution as many times as they need it. They talk the Pauline doctrine that includes hate against gays, yet are gay themselves in many instances. Jesus never said a word about gays.
      There is no "both ways" as these are two different areas of concern.

      3)Prothero actually reads some of that stuff, yet you insist he cling to one singular ho.mo.phobic interpretation of both "love" and "commitment" without any basis in truth for any sort of religious interpretation at all. He is free to list his own take on it (see the ti.tle of the article) just as you are free to be a pinch-brained little bigot.

      4) You have lost your way on number 4. You claim to have some sort of better take on things, yet you cannot articulate them to save your life.

      The rest of your rant is a thinly veiled ad hominem attack. Your whole post is riddled with hypocrisy.

      June 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Brandon W:

      1) You cannot dismiss Mother Teresa that easily. It's simply denying the reality of years of living among the poor as one of them and serving them. Calling someone sadistic who lives among the poorest on the planet as one of them *by choice* almost immediately discredits anything else you say.

      2) You must not have read the Bible. The entirety of the minor prophets is about God's heart being for the defenseless, "the fatherless & the widow." Again, it's not the you're just over-generalizing. Your biblical claims are without factual basis.

      And it is "both ways" here with Prothero: you can't complain about pedophilia and say the RCC shouldn't crack down on se.xual doctrine – they go hand in hand.

      3) Yes, Prothero reads it, which is why it's unacceptable that either he feigns ignorance or he bypasses the central argument. I'm not insisting he adopt another position – I'm insisting he recognize the consistency they are attempting to strike with their *pre-existing* dogma. I'm asserting he is only objecting that they are 'cracking down' because he disagrees with their position.

      They were inconsistent before on this issue, and he didn't complain – because he felt is was in his favor. Now that they are being more vigilant about what the leadership of their church espouses, he's upset that a past mistake (in their estimation) allowed some who held a stance with which he agreed (but their own church did not) to continue unchecked.

      4) The RCC believes the entirety of the Bible to be God's Word. Prothero's argument presupposes his own position (that it is not). It is not an effective criticism of someone else's argument that they are making their own position more logically consistent, but you dont like it because 't disagrees with your external presuppositions.

      Brandon, it is not hypocrisy to point out someone else's hypocrisy – unless you claim not to need the same thing. I welcome the discussion, but you seem to have missed the main point. Prothero has not presented a logically consistent argument here. It is not ad hominem to point that out. Yes, the last question was pointed – but the point was just this: Prothero seems to have allowed his personal opinions to blind him to the blatantly logical move the RCC is making here.

      June 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Brandon W.

      1) I can and I do with good reason and plenty of facts on my end. If you feel my use of facts "discredits me" then that says something about you, don't you think?

      2)(aren't these number things fun?) I would say it is you who have not read the bible. Your god, as described by his actions and the general narrative, is nothing more than the fantasy wish-fulfillment of a series of human sociopaths that wrote the bible in the first place.
      You cherry-pick to say your god is such a sweetie-pie while ignoring the genocide, the murder of millions of innocent men, women, and children, the psychotic torture and terrorism that plays out throughout the bible, the petulant demands for violent and murderous obedience, the hundreds of blatant contradictions, the commands to murder and torture slaves, children, women and anyone else who is not doing things according to a contradictory set of rules.
      Cherry-picking is the most common failing of religious people. You are doing it right there.
      As to being on "both sides" the fact remains that morals are not tied to your bible. One can oppose vicious criminal conduct like child molestation while opposing bigotry that has no basis in fact. There is no contradiction there for me. Prothero might be doing things differently, but I am merely pointing out that they are not mutually exclusive points of view.
      You drag "doctrine" into it and the problem immediately becomes "who's doctrine?" "what interpretation?"
      What a cherry-picker prefers is to use certain passages while avoiding and ignoring all the rest – and since they are all contradictory and easily twisted to suit any purpose, claiming "doctrine" has any credibility is to act the fool.

      3)What you call a "past mistake" is actually the RCC's long-standing criminal policy. It was never a "mistake" for them, I would guess, for they have been doing it for centuries! You make it sound like a little bit of spilled milk when we are talking about millions of tortured, violated, murdered, and abused children over the course of centuries! But perhaps I am not understanding your argument anyway. You don't write very clearly and that's a fact.

      4)I can't quite make out where you are going or where you're coming from here. "outside presuppositions"? Seriously?

      Well, if Prothero is being blind about something, it's at least comparable to your own blindness. Maybe he will explain himself to you, although I don't see why he would bother. He wrote a pretty good article that is clearly written and appears to me to be pretty consistent. Perhaps you should read it again. I think you missed at least one point he was making near the end there...

      June 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Brandon W: you're demonstrating my point.

      1) saying Mother Teresa was sadistic is like saying Hitler was a teddy bear or that the Holocaust never happened. it's like claiming we never landed on the moon. when you say something so unsubstantiated and contrary to one's lifetime of work, it discredits almost anything else you'd say.

      (the numbers help hold the varied arguments across several responses)
      2) i have read the bible. i have a postgraduate degree in this field. the discipline (methods of interpreting) is called hermeneutics. the "pick & choose" argument is great for freshman intro classes, but it ignores the broader discipline of biblical theology (not to mention almost 2000 years of scholarship). i can tell from your arguments that you're probably not willing to hear much about that, though.

      here's a pop culture analogy: ever watch sixth sense or usual suspects or really any good suspense movie? if you turn off the movie before without watching the last 15 minutes, you miss virtually the entirety of the actual story. sure, you've got details, but you're misinterpreting them. according to Jesus, the same is true of the Bible (Lk.24:27, 44). all of the Bible is about him. If God went to the cross himself to suffer in our place, it changes how you read the Old Testament. That's not picking & choosing (b/c you still read & believe ALL of it), but it changes HOW you read them. like this...


      why does that matter? b/c the genocide you're citing is actually evidence of what the two things the cross tells us more clearly:
      a) it's worse than we want to admit (we all deserve this kind of death)
      b) it's better than we dared to imagine (Jesus was willing to take that death in my place)

      on your doctrine & interpretation question, your point is moot with the RCC. The pope decides. The RCC does. That's Prothero's whole problem (and now yours) – the RCC di.ctates proper interpretation & doctrine for its adherents. but that's bleeding over into the discussion of #4...

      what you have forgotten is that those who actually believe this stuff (as a result) believe there is One God (i.e., who is consistent) – a God who wrote all this through various human authors. you don't have to agree with them to realize that is a substantially different point of departure than you have. you assume the texts to be self-contradi.ctory & thus find a self-fulfilling prophecy when you read it. they come w/ the opposite presupposition. now, good scholarship would lead you at least to concede their differing point of departure. but what you believe at the outset is blinding you even from doing that. at least concede that they are being consistent within their own framework.

      3) I'm not covering for the depth of evil done under the auspi.ces of the Church – but what Prothero (& now you) seem to be unable to recognize is that those evils are directly contrary to the *teachings & beliefs* of the Church. Prothero doesn't complain when the RCC cracks down on pedophiles (by going back to & stressing their core teachings) but he is only complaining when the church is doing the very same thing on topics with which he disagrees. That's inconsistent. Again, that's argument #4, too.

      4) in case you didn't get it twice above... Prothero makes it clear he disagrees with the official teachings of the RCC. his complaint is that they are actually enforcing those teachings among their own leadership – BUT he wants them to do THAT VERY THING w/ pedophiles. Now he's complaining (on the nun's topic) because he disagrees w/ the RCC on this particular issue. that's wanting to have it both ways – or at the very least, simply wishing 'they were more like me.' but it's not based on their own beliefs. and it's not a compelling argument for Roman Catholics...

      now, you don't have to agree with someone to make a compelling argument – but you do need to understand where they're coming from (presuppositions). if Prothero is actually attempting to engage the RCC, that's the fundamental flaw in his argument. If he's addressing the court of public opinion, he might as well come out & just say: "well, at least they're being consistent with what they believe, but I just don't like it." Instead...

      5?) (your addition) Per his final point: he says 'it's ok that they police themselves but I'm disappointed they aren't concerned with economic & social justice issues.' As I said in my first entry on #1: they are concerned w/ poverty & social justice – but not at the EXPENSE of their other doctrines. that's asking them to be self-refuting (or simply to convert to another faith). Prothero's complaint is basically that they are being consistent in what they believe – he just objects to where that consistency collides with his own opinions. His "outside presuppositions"... (outside = "not theirs, but his"; presuppositions = "the beliefs he assumes beforehand"...which are contrary to theirs).

      and the last paragraph of this article is sadly an attempt to do the very thing he's complaining about: deflecting. it's like when politicians are arguing over the economy & one is losing the argument so he brings up the other's personal failures. it's deflection. it's dodging.

      June 5, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • jake

      "You make it sound like a little bit of spilled milk when we are talking about millions of tortured, violated, murdered, and abused children over the course of centuries!"

      It is true, the local priest here shoots lasers from his eyes and eats children's toes off before sodomizing them....

      June 5, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Danny M

      Applause!!! Everyone can go home now!

      June 5, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • ellid

      Mother Teresa is a terrible example of Vatican social justice since she repeatedly refused to upgrade her facilities to offer more than palliative care to the sick, took money from brutal dictators like the Duvaliers, and taught that AIDS patients should not use condoms despite the clear and overwhelming evidence that condom use would directly benefit the poor she allegedly served by protecting them from disease. Far better is Dorothy Day or Peter Maurin...but they weren't ostentatiously pious and more orthodox than the Pope, so of course they haven't been canonized.....

      June 5, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  8. prophet

    we are praying for everyone

    June 4, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  9. Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

    This is so hilarious. A woman gives an enlightened view of something, and just look at the bottom ... The Great King, in audience bla bla bla.." Like this is 1400 or something. What a bunch of idiots.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Brandon W.

      You tell us three times? Have you popped up out of an old Middle Eastern fable? Or just having posting problems?

      June 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • rh

      The only problem is that she can't have it both ways. If you belong to an organization with a hierarchy, and you disagree with the hierarchy, that is a major problem.

      Why must people insist that they MUST belong to an organization they disagree with? You don't join the KKK if you love African-Americans. You don't join a synagogue if you are anti-Semitic.

      Until they get rid of tax exemptions for churches, this kind of thing will continue. Any organization that sets forth rules that ban free speech and equal rights should not have a tax benefit. But she can't have her cake and eat it too.

      June 5, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Yeah, there is no disagreement on doctrine with the CC..... hahaha

      June 5, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  10. Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

    This is so hilarious. A woman gives an enlightened view of something, and just look at the bottom ... The Great King, in audience bla bla bla.." Like this is 1400 or something. What a bunch of idiots. They actually think that "the faithful" are SO f–king stupid that they need the old farts to think for them, and "ban" a book. Give me a break. No wonder they have nothing better to do than molest little boys. They have nothing to read, except Alice in Wonderland. What a joke !

    June 4, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • ran76

      I guess the Vatican forgot about the "Song of Songs" aka "The Song of Solomon" that's included in the Bible

      June 4, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  11. Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

    This is so hilarious. A woman gives an enlightened view of something, and just look at the bottom ... The Great King, in audience bla bla bla.." Like this is 1400 or something. What a bunch of idiots. They actually think that "the faithful" are SO fu-king stupid that they need the old farts to think for them, and "ban" a book. Give me a break. No wonder they have nothing better to do than molest little boys. They have nothing to read, except Alice in Wonderland. What a joke !

    June 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  12. PrimeNumber

    Farley's photo is captioned "The Vatican publicized its condemnation of Sister Margaret Farley on Monday". The Catholic church does not condemn people. It condemns the misrepresentation of genuine Catholic teaching. I've heard that the RCC comdemns gays. Yet in nearly six decades in the church, I've rarely heard the subject mentioned at all. What a great job to be a journalist in today's media. You could throw stones from a position of safety. You could put out just enough information to allow people to form their own distorted opinions.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • jake


      June 5, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  13. Blue Balls

    Pretty much every nun I've ever seen is fuck ugly. I wouldn't deep dick a single one of them. Crusty vaginas. Rough, old feet all cracked on the bottom. They all stink like antiques.

    June 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • jake

      Thanks for sharing, you have contributed to the discussion significantly.

      June 5, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  14. TR6

    I would have completly rejected the idea of reading a book about love and se-xuality that was written by a nun. But now that the Vatican has condemned it, I’m going to have to pick up a copy.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Blue Balls

      Wow, aren't you just queen rebel. You're a big, bad rebellious bitch aren'tcha.

      June 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • rftallent

      I ordered a copy last night, lol.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  15. prophet

    did you know that St Paul wrote that you should not join a religion that does not allow its people to get marred. This is a Fact but all the catholic translated bibles have left this out,

    We are praying for them.

    June 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Huebert

      Who is this we?

      June 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  16. prophet

    sister maragret is a very silly women because when she became a nun she knew the rules, and if she doesn't like it then leave the catholics they are only a religion and not really about God. Some of the writers on here deserve the money more than she did. She was only writing about her own ignorance and mstake. Another women trying to change men to suit herself. When will they learn. This lady really has shown herself to be very silly i do hope she will learn to not criticise but leave if she doesn't like what she freely joined and was informed as well.

    Anyway we will be praying for her.

    June 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  17. Ken in Texas

    He says " But I will continue to be disappointed by the Vatican until it shows me that it is at least as concerned with economic and social justice as it is with mast-urba-tion and gay s-ex." ,,,, All he has to do is open his eyes and look around honestly. Mas-turbat-ion and gay s-ex makes headlines, and is politically correct so that is what people are looking at. But look at the many many social programs, hospitals, medical care, social justice programs from immigration to labor rights and you'll find the church right in there helping as best they can. All you have to do is look and quick being so tunnel visioned on PC hot button issues.

    June 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Huebert

      Please show me one headline about mastu.rbation.

      June 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • google it you idiot


      June 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • God hates masturbation so you are going to HELL now!!!

      From the article:
      "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which had been carrying out an investigation into the book, responded with a scathing criticism which tackled each of the issues Farley had raised.

      It insisted that "masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action", homosexual relations are "acts of grave depravity", and "a marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death."

      June 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Huebert

      Hurrah, we have two headlines about the BOOK UNDER DISCUSSION. Ken's position is that masturb.ation makes headlines. My position is that it does not. It's undisputed that this book has made headlines. The way to refute my position is to find a headline about mastur.bation, not a headline about the same book on a different news cite.

      June 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Huebert is an idiot

      What part of "google it you idiot" don't you understand, idiot?

      June 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Uncle Fester

      Huebert is on loan from the Idiot Warehouse because some other idiot wasn't able to come.
      We lost the address and cannot send him back, alas!

      June 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  18. PrimeNumber

    "persons are not to be loved as if they were things". It is not possible to love a person as if it were a thing. That is not love at all. I say this from thirty-five years of marriage to the same woman, having raised four kids, and nursed three elderly parents through decline and death. Maybe if SOME nuns were allowed to marry, they'd know somethings by exprience instead of theory.

    June 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Unfortunately I have known those capable of loving a person as if he or she were a thing.

      It is not good or right, but it is possible.

      June 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • PS

      Then you know how to do it right... as someone who was married to a jerk who acted like I was his possession, his "thing" to do with and treat as he pleases, I can assure you, sir, there are plenty of people around who treat others like inanimate objects and then declare undying love... that is, as they define it. I agree with you, that is NOT true love, but they don't understand that concept.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  19. Bootyfunk

    "I will continue to be disappointed by the Vatican until it shows me that it is at least as concerned with economic and social justice as it is with m.asturbation and g.ay s.ex."

    prepare to be disappointed for a long, long time...

    June 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      The Vatican represents two thousand years of human experience. You and Prothero see through the lenz of the zeitgiest (there have been so many zeitgeists !). Perhaps your approval is not required?

      June 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • sam

      It seems to be what they love to talk about most.

      June 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • sam

      @Primenumber – the Vatican '2000 years of human experience'? On what planet?

      June 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @PrimeNumber – What has those 2,000 yrs done for their morality? I mean, moving priests around accused of child molestation doesn't sound like they learned anything.

      June 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      We all represent more than 2000 years of experience. The CC however wishes to arrest development and keep us back in time forever.

      June 5, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  20. Reality

    To the nitty-gritty with no book purchase required: (something Prothero, the RCC to include the nuns are too shy to discuss)

    The reality of se-x, contraception and STD control: – from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

    Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

    The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

    The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% actual failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% actual failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

    Added information before making your next move:

    from the CDC-2006

    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from:

    Consumer Reports, January, 2012

    "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

    Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

    The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":

    1a. (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
    1b. (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)

    Followed by:

    One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
    Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
    The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
    Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
    IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

    Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

    June 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Here u go Reality


      June 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Uncle Fester

      I laughed at the article. Those Mormons are so disgustingly comical its a wonder they don't implode from the hypocrisy.

      June 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • rh

      LOL, the main reason for abortion is using no birth control and then being surprised. Contraception failure results in a small percentage of abortions.

      When I was in junior high, I went to a program with kids from different schools including urban schools. A story going around is that one 13 year old girl had already had five abortions, and still would not use birth control.

      June 5, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Reality

      Guttmacher- 2011

      "The Guttmacher report shows “54 percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method *usually condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant.” These figures are similar to those of a report in Spain showing abortions doubling despite increased family planning promotion."

      June 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.