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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. Kindness

    For you.
    A thought to consider without a typical ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Let go and let god".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    June 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "A thought to consider without a typical ego response"

      Your posts reek of ego so the rest of it is moot, especially since you keep posting this garbage over and over again. LOL!

      June 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Reality

      ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS OF THIS BLOG:

      The Apostles' Creed 2012 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      June 7, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • TR6

      I grew up in a Christian home and started my life with the absolute total belief in god that only a child can manage. As I grew up it became more and more apparent to me that all the fantastic stories from the bible where just useless fantasy and god did not exist. All of the amazing religious experiences that people relate are just self-delusion and wild imaginings.

      June 7, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      TR6 and one day, should you have such an undeniable experience, then you will be one of those whom others deny and ridicule. But you will know that you have had it and you will realize it is impossible to convince someone who doesn't want to accept it. I believe the word for it is transformation

      June 7, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Susie

      I grew up in a backsliders home and did not believe, but as I began let go of my hardnss of heart andto listen to God, to put Him before my selfish desires, my heart as filled with the knowledge of God and His saving grace.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:14 am |
  2. Bob

    When the Nazi Pope starts excommunicating pedophile priests, maybe then I'l give a tinkers damn what he thinks.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Possessor

      Bob,

      You seem to be a very just, and important man. My question is this, to who are you just and important to?

      June 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  3. Nii

    OMEGAMAN
    Sorry to deflate your ego but the Emperor Constaninus Caesar did not convert anyone to Christianity on pain of death. The Edict of Milan granted toleration to Christianity only. Other religions were still free to gather! His own son Julian wasn't a Christian.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Which God??

      Oh, you lie! You are so out of touch with reality and history. You are one sick and twisted person. Go in you corner and stay ther.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Nii

      WHICH???
      I think we know who the liar is! The Edict of Milan is a historical docu.ment! The fact that u can only lob personal invectives is proof of ur ignorance. He was a Christian but didn't believe the Old Rome shud be destroyed. Paganism was very much weakened by Christian dominance b4 him.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  4. CGR

    where was the indignation during the many years of the cover-up of the priests who abused all those children???

    June 6, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  5. Percy Bysshe Shelley

    So much potential for good exists within the Catholic Church that it's a shame they focus their writings and doctrines almost exclusively on human genitalia.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • OmegaMan

      Shelly ole boy, I must disagree. If human suffering could be measured in weight, the Catholic church has generated ten million tons more than any other faith. The 1700 years of pain and misery committed against humanity since Constantine converted everyone on pain of death to Christianity was only trumped by the Nazis.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      doctrines and teachings are two different things.

      June 7, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  6. joe parker

    Disatisfied with the world's message that promises so much yet fails to deliver?

    I was too. After my conversion, I found ewtn invaluable for learning about the true beauty of the Church. For those who like a little edge to their truth, try realcatholictv.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:53 am |
  7. Anthony micheal

    argh! Whgy won't this post my longer message?

    June 6, 2012 at 2:46 am |
  8. joe piscopo

    You are Peter. And on this Rock I will build My Church.

    Jesus

    June 6, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • paul

      i hate joe piscopo!!

      June 6, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  9. DearbornGuy

    It is simple. Really. The good "sister" is preaching/teaching/writing the opposite of long-standing Church teaching. The Vatican says this "teaching" does not respresent what the Church teaches, and publicy says so, so as not to confuse those who see this woman as a "sister," and presume that what she is selling is what the Church teaches. What's wrong with that? If so-called "sister" does not like it, there are plenty of "religions" she can be. She just can't call herself Catholic. Perhaps she can lead the church of other non-Catholics like Pelosi, Biden, etc.

    June 5, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  10. Mary

    That mankind sins, we know. That those sins can be forgiven, we know. To encourage mankind to sin in choosing selfish desires over reponsibility to the self and the inner knowledge of the will of the Father is the essence of our question to you:
    That God chose the infant as the form Jesus Christ himself took to become man through his mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Heaven, to grow in and through humanity to be and understand all there is in a most difficult journey through this world of darkness and guide us all to continually seek and choose the way, the truth and the light; how do you reconcile your stance on worldly issues and the purported ethical conduct you propose, a veritable honor among theives code, with the doctrine of the faith and the destruction of the Blessed Mother, Mary Ever Virgin.

    June 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  11. Mary

    Where on earth did you get the idea that men and women are equals? It is obvious that the role of women is far superior to the role of men. To encourage the faulty radical feminist philosophy and state that men in their realm excluded women and that women in their realm were useless and their abilities underdeveloped and wasteful unless they were working in the material world for some one other than their own family so that that other family would be more materially prosperous with her aid while she abandons her own home, her own children, her neighborhood, her extended family, her parents, her children's education and schools, her community and her church to such an extent that she is clueless as to what is happening anywhere in her own realm and that that realm, of more importance that any material gain she may be producing anywhere else, is in an utter state of chaos; that our Catholic nuns who are charged with the spiritual renewal of those to whom they are priviledged to be given intimate contact to at many of the most vulnerable crossroads in life, should be embracing a modernist movement that is aimed at the destruction of life and the embracing of the will of the individual over the will of God, and wholeheartedly preach this view and encourage this culture of death and cultivate young men and women to adhere to the utter destruction of the basic tenets of their faith and coerce them into believing in the insanity of the radical feminist movement and its underlying principles that adhere to the hatred of self especially the hatred and downright disgust of a woman's ability to bring forth life.

    June 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  12. Mary

    which ultimately produces the greatest gift God gave to mankind: the infant; aware that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was the sacrifice made for the sins of mankind and reopened heaven to human beings as individuals and that His resurrection confirmed and conquered the theretofore unanswered question of life eternal and God's ultimate control of all matter; knowing that the ultimate betrayal of God rests not in the fact that mankind sins, but in the fact of that recognition that choosing the sin over the will of God is in effect choosing the will of self over the will of God that is clearly delineated in its most basic form in the ten commandments and in the life and death of Christ Himself; and, finally, with the most basic understanding of the workings of all creation in the universe that it is masculine and feminine complementary forces that guide all of creation and that the greatest of all creation is the human being which God created man and woman: with woman being his last and most perfect creation giving her the power to bring forth the manifestation of His greatest creation, human life; giving unto them dominion over the world to him and dominion over his spiritual guidance, his tempering of desire and his faith in his ability to pursue a purpose not of purely material gain but of the bringing forth of human beings to fulfill the promise of renewing the face of the earth and supporting woman's efforts in the spiritual teachings of each being she is so blessed to be the most intimate part of any created human relationship ever estabished and that her human model is the Blessed Mother; it is from the basis of these truths and this knowledge that our questions to you are in this day and age.

    June 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  13. Mary

    Sr. Farley's book addresses human insanity and her pity for those afflicted. That they sin and she, as a Catholic nun, neglects their souls, is the problem with her book. That she preaches that love and s.ex are synonomous demonstrates that she has lost her own faith and has become one with the world.

    June 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Mary. An absolutely stunning response. I suspect only a fraction on here will take the time to read it much less comprehend. But I am in awe.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  14. stewartiii

    NewsBusters: CNN Contributor Smacks Catholic Church for...Defending Church Teaching
    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matt-hadro/2012/06/05/cnn-contributor-smacks-catholic-church-fordefending-church-teaching

    June 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  15. Mike P

    "Turning to the ethics of [intimate relations], 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 if you are looking for a Christian line here, you're not going to get one of those, either. The Christian standard of morality in this area is simple - you can have all the physical intimacy you want, but it must be with your opposite-gender spouse. Intimate relations outside of marriage are absolutely forbidden, and marriage is defined as being one man and one woman only. That's biblical Christianity, and that's the position of the Catholic Church, and the Church is absolutely right to condemn this nun's views for going beyond the bounds of genuine Christian doctrine.

    June 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • TR6

      The Catholic standard of morality in this area is simple – you can have all the physical intimacy you want; but, only once before each pregnancy, face to face in the missionary position and you should be ashamed for doing it, anything else is considered at least disgraceful and probably an abomination

      June 7, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      TR6 hasn't read Theology of the Body by JPII

      June 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  16. Cyric

    Religion has gotten to be so stupid.

    June 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Frank

      Has 'gotten" to be so stupid?..lol...Really? Can you give an example when it was not stupid?

      June 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      What you mean is "I can't comprehend what they are talking about."

      June 7, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  17. Kindness

    For you.
    A thought to consider without a typical ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Let go and let god".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome .

    June 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Get it right

      people had been putting their treasures in the vatican, they were scammed by the catholic church. In fact the vatican has the treasures today, the treasures they swindled off people. The vatican = con men.

      June 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Mary

      You are so right. God Bless you.

      June 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Which God??

      @ kindness. I don't believe in your jeebus, then, now or ever will. He never existed as a person to begin with. It's fake and delusional.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  18. Richard

    Mr. Prothero seems a bit confused, along with Ms. Farley. That's why we've got a Pope, to unconfuse lost souls. Ultimately, American's refuse to grasp the harsh reality that what they believe doesn't count against Holy Rome and Catholic doctrine, never did and never will. Thank God.
    Doctrine ain't decided by majority rule or daily polling.

    June 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Drew

      Then why does doctrine change all the time, often when it is required to by public opinion? Why is Galileo right now, when before he was wrong?

      June 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The Church doesn't change doctrine. It has changed opinions on social matters, science and other worldly area but not doctrine. Never has never will. This is the essence of infallibility. It doesn't mean the pope or the Church can never be wrong. It only means they have never been and will never be wrong on doctrine.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Jen

      The Church HAS changed. It used to say that s-x was only allowed to procreate, and now allows natural family planning (ie having s-x when you are unable to reproduce). That's not a change in doctrine? If not, then saying m-sturbation is okay is not a change in doctrine either. There's no difference.

      June 7, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Social matters are not doctrine. Doctrine is the fundamental tenets of the faith, they are infallible and will not change. Teachings are built on doctrine. Some teachings have been, others will be changed, some will never change.

      June 7, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Jen

      Well you at least think the church should change it's outlook on m-sturbation don't you? There's literally not a single normal person alive that isn't committing that sin at least once a week. Technically young children even commit that sin. It's like saying breathing is a sin. It's ridiculous.

      June 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Jen. I've tried three times to give a reasoned response which will not post. The short answer is "No" I think the Church is correct. It is a disordered behavior. If you are truly interested to know why, I would direct you to a copy of "Theology of the Body" by JPII. He eloquently describes the connection between our individual bodies, through relationship to others and society as a whole.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Jen

      Well then the next time my I change my one year old's diaper I'll tell her she's going straight to h-ll. You're ridiculous. Hopefully you don't have kids.

      If the church won't change their views on this, then they should never have changed their views on s-x. They should revoke their blessing on natural family planning and tell people that they should only be allowed to have s-x for procreation (cause really, that's what s-x is for, not for pleasure). And NFP is fundamentally the same as using almost all forms of birth control.

      And I'm aware of why the Catholic church is against it. People are getting married older now (which is a good thing), the church wants them to be virgins and not have ever m-sturbated either? Any rational person thinks this is ludicrous (including my Catholic husband 🙂

      June 7, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Jen, obviously you have formed your opinion on what you think the Church teaches (probably gleaned from movies) as opposed to what is actually taught. Again, and especially if you are married to a Catholic research Theology of the Body. A profound deepening of your marriage awaits. With as much marital disharmony in the world as there is I would think folks would flock to this teaching. It's ironic to me that you would prefer to be less intimate rather than more.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  19. commonesnes

    Obviously, the author has an agenda, most likely a pro ho-mo marriage agenda and doesn't think any organization who does not support it should be able to repudiate a member of the organization which does support it. Wrong! The member, Sister Farley, took a vow of obendience to the Church and cannot under the guise of being a nun opensly support a position which is in direct contravention with the teaching of the Church she took a vow to obey!

    And yes, Prof. Prothero, the Church also would repudiate Sister Farley if she published a position on economic or social justice which contravened the teachings of the Church.

    June 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  20. Reality

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

    ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS OF THIS BLOG:

    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:
    ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS OF THIS BLOG:

    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 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
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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.