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Vatican intensifying crackdown on American nuns
The Vatican and the American Catholic Church have issued three reprimands of Catholic nuns since last year.
June 5th, 2012
02:34 PM ET

Vatican intensifying crackdown on American nuns

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Vatican denies there's a connection, but its reprimand of an influential American nun, at a moment when the Holy See is already engaged in an intense fight with most American nuns, sends a clear message: The Catholic Church’s leaders think America’s nuns have gone rogue and must be reined in.

The Vatican on Monday censured Sister Margaret A. Farley, who teaches at Yale Divinity School, over a 2006 book she wrote that the church said is out of step with official church teaching on human sexuality.

Just weeks before, the Vatican issued a major report condemning the groups that represent most American nuns, saying those organizations had promoted “radical feminism” while neglecting teachings against homosexuality and abortion.

“The Vatican believes that there is a climate of dissent in some quarters of the women’s religious life in America,” said John Allen, CNN’s Vatican analyst. “They are trying to deal with that, and both these developments speak to that.”

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In its reprimand of Farley, the church focused on her book “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” which it said condones masturbation and homosexuality.

“Masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action,” the church said in a statement Monday that characterized “homosexual acts” as “acts of grave depravity.”

The reprimand warned church officials not to use Farley’s book, raising eyebrows in Catholic circles because she is one of the country’s most respected female Catholic theologians.

The Rev. Brian Linnane, a Jesuit priest and president of Loyola University Maryland, did his doctoral work in theology under Farley.  He said the notification could have a chilling effect on academic freedom at Catholic institutions.

“There’s a sense that the vocation of the theologian is diminished in this notification to where it’s just, ‘Keep repeating what we’ve already said and don’t question it, don’t critique it, don’t try to help us make it more adequate.’  And I think that’s troubling,” he said.

Linnane said people who read the book knew that Farley was departing from Catholic teaching in certain areas.  

“She did not write a book about sexual practices.  She wrote a new framework to think about sexual ethics, which looks at justice, instead of procreation or abstinence, which have been part of the tradition,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s a question of right or wrong so much as I think it is of the ability to raise critical questions, to try and develop new understandings of the theological tradition and in this case of the moral tradition.”

Linnane said the Vatican is right to be sure that public ministers such as priests and nuns be on the same page doctrinally as the church leaders, and he noted the rebuke was specifically against the book, not the author.

“There’s no silencing of Sister Farley in the notification, there’s no threat to her membership in her religious community; it’s just about the book, which everyone agrees probably shouldn’t be taught in Catholic seminaries, certainly shouldn’t be taught in religious education classes for young persons. Everyone agrees it’s theological speculation,” he said.

The censure came days after the leadership that represents most American nuns concluded a meeting in Washington to devise a response to an April Vatican assessment that accused the nuns of hosting speakers who preached “radical feminism” at an annual gathering of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The group represents about 80% of American nuns.

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The report also said the nuns were too focused on social justice and not enough on opposing abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.

The recent reprimands come about a year after U.S. Catholic bishops rebuked another nun, Sister Elizabeth Johnson at Fordham University, for her writings.

The bishops said that Johnson falsely claims the Catholic Church’s names are “metaphors that do not apply to the reality of God within the traditional Catholic understanding.”

“In the last 12 months you’ve seen two of America’s leading Catholic nuns who are theologians in the cross hairs,” Allen said. “I’m not sure there’s anyone left of their stature to go after.”

Many parts of the American nuns’ community and the Catholic academic world have come out swinging against the Vatican critiques. In a statement, Farley defended her work, saying it was not meant as an official church teaching.

Farley said she feared the Vatican “misrepresents (perhaps unwittingly) the aims of my work and the nature of it as a proposal that might be in service of, not against, the church and its faithful people.”

On Friday, the leaders of the American nuns whom the Vatican had criticized said the Holy See’s report was “based on unsubstantiated accusations and (was) the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency” and that the report had “caused scandal and pain throughout the church community.”

Representatives of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious are flying to Rome this week to try to chart a course forward with Vatican officials. Church experts said that the nuns could accept the assessment, negotiate or resign en masse and form a new group outside the watchful eye of the Vatican.

The reprimands originate from the Vatican’s powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Pope Benedict XVI led for decades before his elevation to the papacy.

In interviews conducted while he held that earlier post, Benedict spoke often about growing the church by pruning - becoming smaller but more devout before expanding.

It is hard to know what the reaction to the fight between American nuns and the Vatican is within the American Catholic community, but there have been some pockets of protest against the Vatican’s actions.

“It’s one thing when the Vatican goes after a theologian, because most rank-and-file Catholics don’t know any theologians,” Allen said. “But so many have been educated by sisters in a school, taken care of by a sister at a hospital or know a nun in their parish that is running the office."

He added, “When there’s a perception that sisters are under fire, there’s a tendency to support them.”

There is evidence that the reprimand against Farley has raised her profile as a theologian. Her "Just Love" was the best-selling religious studies book Tuesday on Amazon.com.

- CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sexuality

soundoff (2,186 Responses)
  1. Anybody

    "standupfortruth"

    Question: I was raised Catholic but no longer participate in the traditions. I find it tough to look at an organization like the Catholic Church for moral guidance when they don't "walk the talk". With information readily accessible more than ever before, how do you expect people to turn to the church for moral guidance when so many people in positions of power within it leveraged that power to commit morally improper acts. I mean no disrespect, I just do not understand it.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      So you walked away from the Real Presence, just like those weak minded "disciples" in The Gospel of St. John, Chapter 6? May God have Mercy on you if it is right that He should do so.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • derp

      "So you walked away from the Real Presence, just like those weak minded "disciples" in The Gospel of St. John, Chapter 6? May God have Mercy on you if it is right that He should do so"

      Priceless.

      A struggling catholic asks for guidance because of the abhorrent and immoral activities of the church hierarchy and they get.........lectured.

      Awesome; now you know why people like me are called ex catholics. Priests fvcking children is ok, but asking for guidance because you are concerned about how the church handled the priests who fvcked children is off limits.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      If there is a devil, he is laughing his ass off at you right now.

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

      I don't expect all to return as much as it would like.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      Jesus said about the Pharisees, "Do as they say but not as they do"

      June 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Anybody

      So are the both of you going to ignore my question then? Lets just say for kicks this was your chance at bringing someone back to the church, that's the best you've got? Come on guys, at least make an attempt.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Anybody'

      You won't get a good answer, because there isn't one. They will merely do the whole "you're going to hell" in so many more words play on fear thing. That's all they can do.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Anybody

      @Hawaiiguest

      You just might be right! I guess a big thing I never understood was this sense that you shouldn't question the Catholic teaching. Whenever you do so, you are immediately scorned or talked down at. For those that are so certain in their faith, why is it you all get defensive when a couple of tough, but fair questions get asked? Shouldn't people have an open forum when it comes to religion? You can't expect people to understand your point of view when every time they question it, you just say "yep, you are going to hell."

      June 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Anybody

      If you really think about it, almost every religion, and especially the abrahamic religions, discourage questioning or inquiry.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • bam

      BIGOTRY is a human thing not a "GOD" thing. man wrote the bible to control man. no 'god' would permit bigotry.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      I can't convince you to return, you have to make that decision. Vivat Jesus.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @bam

      I suggest you read the bible carefully, and if you just pick and choose what you like and ignore the obvious evil acts and attrocities supposedly commited by your "god", then there's nothing that can be done for you.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Mello

      You assume that everyone in the church is a criminal or in some way a hypocrite. Everyone is a sinner. No one is perfect. As a practicing RC, I can tell you that I question my faith in many ways. I want to know how the church got their answers, both in traditions, morals, ethics, etc. In that questioning, I find my spiritual growth and a greater love for Jesus and the church. Even with more information at our fingertips, we still will need the guidance to do what is right. Most of the posters here want to abolish religion, have chaos, and everyone fend for themselves. The RCC has stood the test of time. For those who think what those criminal priests have done is sick and terrible, I agree 100% with you. They should be weeded out, punished according to the law, and be taken out of positions of influence. Don't let their actions be the only representation of the RCC in your life.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Anybody

      @Mello

      Has the Church really with-stood the test of time though? 2,000 years running, but that is a relatively
      small amount of time when put into perspective.

      June 5, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Justiniowa

      You're on CNN.com's barf-board looking for spiritual advice. One reaps what he sows. If you have questions, talk to Catholic lay-people in person, or visit a "returning to the faith" website.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • thejet1962

      You put that well, but one thing I would add is that I mean tons of disrespect. The church deserves disrespect for the immoral acts it has committed over the years. They hide their perverts and go after the nuns??????? A heck of a pope you got there!!

      June 6, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • thejet1962

      For Mello, you make some good points. Just remember this, we aren't talking a couple or even a few perverted white collars, we are talking in the thousands. And many being protected and hidden by the church. Keep your strong beliefs but if you are giving any money to the church just know where it is going........hiding molesters and paying off multiple million dollar settlements for these immoral acts committed by their own. The Catholic Church won't recover from this in our lifetime. Way to much damage done.

      June 6, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • StinaJKlee

      @Anybody,

      I understand your frustration. Still, in the midst of everything that is going on culturally, I have recently become Catholic, BECAUSE I ask question and make decisions based on what's presented. Yes, there is a lot of information available, more than ever before, but that doesn't mean there is more truth available. Just words. You always have to consider the source and find the right source for what you are looking for. CNN.com is not the place to find truth about Catholicism. This is one of the worst places, actually, and unfortunately it seems like this is where most people get all their information. This is a place to find an opinion on a current event, loaded with rhetoric. That is all. You've said so many things I'l love to address, but I don't want to go on-and-on here about everything. If I see this as my one chance to keep a Catholic from leaving, I'd say don't look here to find out about your own faith. This is journalism. It follows its financial backings. Always read news with that in mind. Read some good books on Catholic apologetics, go to Catholic.com and ask questions, pray a lot, and see if your questions aren't answered. I think that if you really want to know, you will, because yes... the Church really has withstood the test of time over the past 2,000 years, which is only as old as it can be since that's when Jesus lived. Before that, it's rooted in Judaism, which is as old as faith itself.

      June 6, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Justus E

      I'm sorry for you that you left the Catholic Church. I believe that it is the True Church of God. The teachings are beautiful and true. Every day there is a sacrifical mass, which means the lamb of God who is Jesus who sacrificed HIS life for us and through the transubstantiation of the Holy Eucharist we recieve HIM. Through our penance and repentance we can recieve Jesus in and through Holy Communion. What other church gives you HIS body, blood, soul and divinity so HE may live in us. What other Church has priests who were given the authority by God to cast out demons. Everyone comes running to the Catholic church when a demonic force is taking over a body. I'm talking about exorcisim, No other minister, pastor can do this but a Catholic Priest. think about that for a moment, also, in what church do you find the apostels? the men who walked and were taught by Jesus himself, who witnessed HIS miracles... wow! if that doesn't grab you I don't know what will. Pray for discernment and hopefully you will be brought back to the True Teachings of Christ. God Bless you.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  2. Bootyfunk

    lol. women, how are you a part of this organization? they hate you. now a group of MEN in the vatican are going to tell a group of WOMEN what they can and cannot do.

    religion had its chance to rule the world - we know those times as the Dark Ages.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • G

      I am sure with gay fanatics we are in our period of Enlightenment right now.

      June 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  3. Dan Krischke

    CNN makes it sound like B16 is arresting all the nuns, putting them in train cars and hauling them away, never to be seen again. Any member of the clergy who teaches against the Magisterium of the Church must be corrected. If they don't like it, they can go join some other religious organization. Myself, I'll take the Catholic Church and all it's teachings. After all, we have the Holy Spirit on our side. Peace and God bless.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      I couldn't have said it better myself Dan. Thank you for your comment.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • steven harnack

      You have squat on side.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • derp

      "After all, we have the Holy Spirit on our side'

      That, and a ton of child molesters. It's always good to have child molesters on your side.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Mikoid

      Welcome to the Papal Taliban and the return of the times of the Inquisition...

      June 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • just sayin

      Dan, and you have Pope Benedict which was included in a memo about a priest, who had been sent to therapy for pedophilia, returning to church work. And how did he handle this????? Your church smells of $ h it...including you.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Ann

      "If they don't like it, they can go join some other religious organization." I completely agree with this. Each of these nuns made the choice to be part of an organization that requires their obedience. The Lutherans and Episcopalians have essentially the same theology and liturgy without the authoritarian political structure. These women should not choose Roman Catholic over Episcopalian and then complain about the one thing that makes Roman Catholic different from Episcopalian. The church hierarchy does not get its power from force these days, at least not in the US. Anyone who provides money or time to this organization is supporting the power structure, and by it's very definition must accept the church as it is.

      June 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • G

      And your enemy is a generation raised by South Park cartoons.. erhm atheists.

      June 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  4. just sayin

    I look forward to the day when the Vatican is sacked by a mob and the Pope and goons are strung up.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      That has happened, open up a history book and find out how many times. Chew on this morsel –
      It is said that the Napoleon, threatening to destroy the Catholic Church, was scoffed at by the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris in these words, “Priests have been trying to destroy the Church for 1800 years and been unable!” Words sad, but at times true. Corruptio optime pessima (the Corruption of the best, is the worst). Yet here we still are.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Napoleon couldn't conquer Russia either. Does that make Russia God's chosen country?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      No, it just was a lesson not to invade Russia in the dead of winter, at least not without a decent parka.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      So you're saying he wasn't really that good at planning? And this made him a valid threat to the church how?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      Jacques, Napoleon was as much of a threat to the Church as atheists are to my Faith.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      It is so funny you think the Catholic church will never be defeated. What are you going to do when their power and control becomes zero over the world.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      Jacques, I will contine to live the Gospel as best I can.

      June 5, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  5. Rundvelt

    Religion is for the uneducated and intellectually weak.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      What, pray tell, are your credentials?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Amazing_Grace_how_sweet_the_sound

      @Rundvelt...

      That makes you what? You're the one hanging out in the Belief Blog...

      How smart are you now?

      GOD loves the sinner, not the sin.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • derp

      Hate the belief, not the believer.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      "Hate the belief, not the believer" I see some hypocrisy, so far I haven't seen questions about the doctrine, only about people.

      June 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > That makes you what? You're the one hanging out in the Belief Blog...

      Being in the belief blog no more makes me a believer then being in Iraq makes me an Iraqi. Some people, like me, are interested in the mind tricks and nonsense people believe. Mainly because it affects my life and the lives of people I know.

      > How smart are you now?

      Smarter then you, as I have shown above.

      > GOD loves the sinner, not the sin.

      There's no reason to believe in a God or Gods. People do it because they don't like the idea of facing reality. That is to say, they're afraid of death, so they take up this concept that they're not really going to die, but are going to be going to a cloud based theme park in the sky forever and ever. And all their dead friends are going to be there. And it'll be so much fun!

      June 6, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Rundvelt

      > What, pray tell, are your credentials?

      Credentials have absolutely nothing to do with a statement being true or false. Logic fail.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • stan

      Please explain the graviton then, oh all knowing one. While your at it please explain why water freezes from the top down. Big Bang is currently a theory, would you please give us the data to solidify it into scientific law. No?

      You so-called 'science lead' need to understand that faith in science is no different at all than faith in religion. Science still cannot explain some very basic and daily phenomenom as I've listed above. As I've said time and again, you cannot ascertain a definitive while there are known unknowns. In science there are a host of known unknowns, which means you cannot definitively assume science is the refuge you consider it to be. You simply have faith that the men of science know the answers to the universe. I wouldn't hold my breath.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > Please explain the graviton then, oh all knowing one. While your at it please explain why water freezes from the top down. Big Bang is currently a theory, would you please give us the data to solidify it into scientific law. No?

      First of all, scientific theories do not go to scientific laws. Get yourself an education so you don't make yourself look foolish in the future.

      Secondly, why do I need to know these things?

      > You so-called 'science lead' need to understand that faith in science is no different at all than faith in religion.

      Actually it is different. If I want to, I can go an redo experiments listed in the papers. I cannot do that for religous faith. So you're flat out wrong about that.

      > Science still cannot explain some very basic and daily phenomenom as I've listed above. As I've said time and again, you cannot ascertain a definitive while there are known unknowns. In science there are a host of known unknowns, which means you cannot definitively assume science is the refuge you consider it to be. You simply have faith that the men of science know the answers to the universe. I wouldn't hold my breath.

      Even if science stopped right now, it does not mean a God was required to do it. It only means we've reached our intellectual limit. Like how you've reached your intellectual limit and probably won't understand my objections to your nonsense.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      cont'd apologies

      So, my point still stands. If science doesn't have all the answers, and science is the only reliable testable method we have to learn about reality, then there is no reason to believe in a God.

      Faith is what the religious have, and if faith can lead you to two mutually excluisve conclusions, for example, Islam and Christianity (which it can, we have christians and we have muslims), then the methodology is useless for determining truth and must be discarded. Logical thinking for the win.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Hear This

      Rundvelt,

      Yes, it is fear of death that is surely a motivation for believers... and also quite an element of GREED - this life and all that is real is not enough for them. They crave (covet/lust for) more... and not only more, but a PERFECT, eternal MORE!

      June 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • G

      ROTFL. Those who claim to be intellectuals are the real gutter rats.

      June 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > ROTFL. Those who claim to be intellectuals are the real gutter rats.

      Who claimed to be an intellectual?

      June 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  6. DC1973

    The day JPJII passed, I sat vigil in a pew for hours, and I cried for days.

    The day Benedict passes, I will be relieved.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Yet they were both selected by the same Holy Spirit. Not liking God's choice doesn't make it wrong. Been to Confession lately?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • DC1973

      SouthernCelt, if you believe that the Pope is chosen by the Holy Spirit and not by political convenience, I feel sorry for you.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      CD19773, were you present at the last conclave?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • derp

      "Yet they were both selected by the same Holy Spirit"

      That's funny, I thought the cardinals voted.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Mikoid

      Selected by the Holy Spirit? Selected by a bunch of fellow child molesters! The Catholic Church is SO far removed from what God (or Jesus) intended...

      June 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Even if they were elected by political convenience as I am sure the atheists will tell you that 3 were, as soon as they "Sat in Peter's chair", they were faithful to Church teaching, the Bible and gave up their worldly ways. Don't feel sorry for me; my soul is prepared, how's yours?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • derp

      "Even if they were elected by political convenience as I am sure the atheists will tell you that 3 were, as soon as they "Sat in Peter's chair", they were faithful to Church teaching, the Bible and gave up their worldly ways. Don't feel sorry for me; my soul is prepared, how's yours?"

      Why does the popemobile have bullet proof glass?

      Can't god even protect his own vice president?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      At Derp,
      Maybe it's not the Pope's time. Bulletproof glass is a protective measure. I think when a round is shot, the glass actually melts and contains the round, ceasing its projectile.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • derp

      "Maybe it's not the Pope's time. Bulletproof glass is a protective measure. I think when a round is shot, the glass actually melts and contains the round, ceasing its projectile."

      I know how bullet proof glass works.

      That is not what I asked you.

      Can you tell me why on earth the Pope would even need it?

      He is the direct conduit for god. If god can hear people and answers their prayers, than certainly he can manage to keep his second in command alive without the help of bullet proof glass.

      It would seem to me that the need for science to protect the pope pretty much shoots the hell out of the whole "faith"concept.

      What good is an all powerful ruler of everything if he can't even keep his VP from getting shot?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • just sayin

      He has bullet proof glass because he lacks faith. He truly does not believe he has God's protection or God would protect him.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • just sayin

      Did Jesus ride on the donkey in full armor? The Pope's faith is equal to the non-believer's faith.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • just sayin

      I do find it interesting how Stan Up is dancing around lol

      June 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      Derp "Can you tell me why on earth the Pope would even need it?"
      Because I firmly believe that the Pope is mortal, that if a bullet pierces him it may kill him.
      Mark 8:12 -Sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, "Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation."

      June 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Justiniowa

      The pope needs bulletproof glass because God gave men free will. Easy peasy.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Rundvelt

      > The pope needs bulletproof glass because God gave men free will. Easy peasy.

      God cannot give people free will if he knows the future and they act according to his divine plan.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  7. Patti

    I hope the church keeps cracking down on Sister Farley. Thanks to those misogynistic, idiot, hypocritical, pedophiles, she'll have a best seller!

    June 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Raphael

      It already is a best seller!

      June 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Possessor

      This book written by an stupid ignorant person, who has no idea how INFINITELY Superior it is, for a husband and wife to do act's that will hopefully will result in a child being born 9 month's later.
      Since majority of you educated genius's have no clue to what your actually writing about ( none of you have the skill's or knowlege, intelligence to do complicated brain surgery, or take a part an engine and re-build it, or actually do special forces military work ), it is un-sound irrational dripple non-sense spewing from your mouths and finger tips.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  8. bill constantine

    I see were the Pope wants to come to America in 2015, I as a senior and not a catholic say forget it. Go to Canada instead, they could use him better.. and with all the new TV gadgets it would be a waste of time. We see him rather well, and I like the person. He is doing the best job that he can...It does take out a lot from a person.. Bill the Greek

    June 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  9. Hoosier Pete

    Rather than engage in quiet diplomacy with the sisters, the Vatican chooses to criticize, castigate, and insult American nuns. They should be praising the overwhelming majority of nuns as spiritual educators and teachers, following a life of prayer and spirituality in celebration of Jesus. Why not simply hang a giant picture of some crochety 1950s nun whom everyone hated in school with a sign that says "This is you"?

    Instead, they choose to pour vinegar on a wound, and in the end, they cost themselves thousands of young women who might have chosen this life. One more nail in the coffin for future nuns and priests.

    June 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      You are misinformed. There is a revival in religious orders and am glad to hear it.

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

      Wow... those are some harsh words for a published reprimand.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Possessor

      They did Pete, they kept it quiet, in house, in hopes that they will UNDERSTAND their error's, to be able top correct them, without the public scruntiny. Step #2 in the Chastizment is brining this out in the open to bascially discredit them for their failure in upholding their vow that they, themselves WILLINGLY took and to obey.
      This is BASIC fraternal correction method. Step #1 is to do it in private, and after a peroid length of time things don't change, then it is Step#2, bring it out in the open, for EVERYONE to know, thgus get reprimanded and chastized for their failure.
      Like it or not, MOST of you would make LOUSY, pathedic leaders.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • G

      Americans are stupid. This including Catholic nuns as well.

      June 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  10. Patti

    If the church calls masturbation "an intrinsically and gravely disordered action” what do they call pedophilia? I guess among priests, it's "common practice."

    June 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      They consider paedophilia an intrinsically and gravely disordered action, a mortal sin to be precise. BTW you should really consider buying/borrowing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, you may find all the answers to these questions you are asking.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • derp

      Priests found a way around masturbation. They just fvck little boys. Apparently that is not a sin.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • derp

      "you may find all the answers to these questions you are asking"

      Maybe you could help me with this one...

      ....How does a snake talk with no vocal cords?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Patti

      Standupfor Truth, the church has had to pay out BILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars to its VICTIMS and has spawned survivor groups. That's all I need to know.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      How does Jesus revive the dead? How is the Red Sea parted? How are so many prophecies in the Old Testament, come to fruition in the New Testament. It takes Faith...

      June 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • derp

      "How does Jesus revive the dead? How is the Red Sea parted? How are so many prophecies in the Old Testament, come to fruition in the New Testament. It takes Faith.."

      Faith, or the willingness to believe fairy tales?

      My children believe in Santa Claus and the Easter bunny.

      So you are saying they have "faith" in Santa?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      No, faith is more than mere believing. Many people believe in Jesus, just are not willing to follow him.

      June 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  11. Bubba Rydel

    God, finally the Vatican has gotten some backbone. Give these feminists an ultimatum. The will go back to full 1960's type nun attire. They will spend their spare time in meditation not protest. They will obey the VAtican 100% without hesitation...or they will be cast out to live among the Lutherans and most likely WORK at Walmart.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • derp

      Wouldn't it be simpler and easier to just burn them at the stake.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • just sayin

      Those filthy Lutherans!

      June 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • just sayin

      Bubba Rydel

      God, finally the Vatican has gotten some backbone.
      -----
      Took them a while to get off the backbones of little boys..now they want to man up,,,,lol

      June 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  12. SDFrankie

    She's a respected theologian. That's analogous to being an expert on leprechauns.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      'You have a degree in baloney.'

      June 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • derp

      I am a world renowned Unicornian.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Gb

      The challenge of all progress is integration and evolution. How do we integrate the evolving context in which we live into existing biblical presentation. The current governance of the RCC seems to be struggling with considering any new hermeneutical perspectives. As much as they may believe that this is being done to "clearly define" doctrine, it seems more and more likely that the male dominated church hierarchy is becoming less curious and more judgmental. The current censure seems specifically fear based as opposed to motivated by love and care for the community.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Respected by whom? Atheists?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  13. Evangelical

    Give up the Catholic church and go to a real bible-based church.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      Yeah. Why settle for half-crazy when you can go all the way to slobbering nutball?

      June 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • JohnnyC

      No thanks, I'll stick with the one founded by Christ in Matthew 16:18.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      Where do you think the Bible came from? it wasn't published until approximately 400 A.D. It was the authority of the Catholic church that compiled the books, even the deuterocanonical ones. BTW the first King James Bible included these books?

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

      From the frying pan into the fire!

      June 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Bubba Rydel

      Jim Jones or Tammy Baker.....Olsteen or Rev. Wright. You tell me.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Dan Krischke

      Which would be your church, right? And who says your church is right? The Bible. And who collected the writings, traditions and manuscripts, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, produced the Holy Bible? Why Saint Jerome, who was Catholic. Powerful, huh? Peace and God bless.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • derp

      "Why Saint Jerome"

      How many boys did he fondle?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Like the Bible that Martin Luther deleted 7 books from and changed the wording of two others so it agreed with his view of Theology? Ms. Farley is putting society above the Church she swore allegiance to. She is a professor of a liberal college and not a Religious Sister. Her views are completely contrary to "Theology of The Body" which His Holiness, John Paul II wrote.
      It is she that is out of step, not the Church.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Linda

      YES!!!

      June 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Mike

      If Sola Scriptura worked, the reformation would have ended with Luther. but as it is, it goes on and on and on with new denominations popping up all the time.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • just sayin

      Evangelical

      Give up the Catholic church and go to a real bible-based church.
      ------–
      Rightttttttttttttttttt lol

      June 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  14. LOL Religion

    Good to see the Empire getting back to its misogynistic roots. Yes, good. Lat the hate flow through you.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      So you felt your father or father figure was a mysogynist when you needed to be corrected?

      June 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      My dad was awesome, but if he lambasted, censured or punished my mother for having an opinion, he'd be a misogynist just like the church.

      And I never had a need for a 'father figure', only you deluded whackadoos seem to need an invisible sky daddy in your lives.

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

      If you have sister(s), was your father misogynistic when he corrected your her/them?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • just sayin

      This kind of father......while still an archbishop in Munich, Germany, Pope Benedict was included in a memo about a priest, who had been sent to therapy for pedophilia, returning to church work.

      That father has zero integrity...the Catholic Church has ZERO integrity and it starts at the head down to the followers.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • just sayin

      StandupforTruth? Your precious father has yet to do this.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • G

      And you be a slave to women and vote for gay rights ok. Be a real good dad to your children too, perhaps even a 'male role model'. Yeehaw, diddly! ROTFL.

      June 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  15. izandroro

    What war on women?

    June 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  16. Michael

    No chewing gum in class.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  17. MST

    Farley was writing serious theological analysis, not simplistic catechesis. And why demean her by identifying her as a "respected FEMALE theologian"? She is one of the most respected theologians, period. And a professor emerita at Yale. I think the hierarchy is just frustrated and incapable of dealing with scholars, especially women, who are smarter and better educated than they are.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      No one is without flaws, that is why fraternal or in this case sororal correction is necessary. Pride cometh before the fall.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Unless you are a pedophile priest, right StandUp? Then they'll not only avoid punishing you, but coverup your sin and move you to another church to do the same thing. But how dare anybody say anything that doesn't go in line with their rules! It makes me sick.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Bud in NC

      to MST. Very clear and insightful. When will these old grumpy women haters fade away?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  18. StandupforTruth

    I would rather have 10 devout and faithful than 1,000 cafeteria catholics that are not in tune with the CCC. This includes religious who are not in step. We don't need social workers who portray themselves as authority.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      If you lose 1000 members for every 10 they keep, the RCC will fall apart. It will be awfully hard to keep the church running when the collection plate is passed to an empty church. I can only hope they start kicking members out by the thousands!

      If Catholics are really disgruntled with the way the church is today, they should not put money in the plate. It just ends up going to the pedophile defense fund anyway. All of those lawyers and settlements don't come cheap you know!

      June 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      The Church that Jesus Christ founded is here to stay. Matt 16:18 – And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Nah, it was founded by Paul. Just look at how much more emphasis they put on the words of Paul than on the words of Jesus. The story of Jesus was all about instilling love. Paul's words were all about instilling control and making rules. He was just another Pharisee. The same kind that were denounced in the story of Jesus. Don't you worry your pretty little head about it. There will be a time sooner than you think that the church will crumble. It is inevitable.

      I mean, just look what you are doing! In the story of Jesus, he called people to come to him, to learn and to gain a better understanding of how to live a better life. Here you are, telling people "if you don't like it, then getttttt out." Funny you say that to people that are leaving in droves. It is like saying "you can't fire me, I quit".

      June 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Topher

      Plenty of room here in the Protestant churches. We stand on the Bible. Not man.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      Since you are such authority on our Lord and Savior, then you must have missed the Gospel of John Chapter six, when Jesus lost many disciples. Guess what, HE LET THEM WALK AWAY! JON 6:60 – On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

      61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

      66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

      67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • derp

      "We stand on the Bible"

      I wipe my ass with it.

      But I guess standing on it make the same point.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Topher

      Ah, now there's an intelligent answer.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • derp

      "Ah, now there's an intelligent answer"

      From a genius who believes in talking snakes.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Topher

      From someone whose vocabulary apparently hasn't moved past that of a naughty child. So much for the more-intelligent-than-thou atheists.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Bubba Rydel

      I agree. Simply throw them out. Let them fend for themselves.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      The difference is he never shoo'd anybody away. You missed the point where he was always welcoming to people. He never said "obey my word or get out and never come back!" That seems to be what you are saying.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • derp

      "From someone whose vocabulary apparently hasn't moved past that of a naughty child"

      I'd use bigger words but you bibletards would be confused.

      Talk to any flaming shrubs lately?

      June 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Topher

      Yes. It was right next to the missing transitional forms.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • derp

      Yes. It was right next to the missing transitional forms

      Which is to say that is does not exist, yet.

      When science finds the missing transitional forms, like we have for everything else, will there be a flaming shrubbery next to it?

      Or will the faithful move the bar again, just like you did when science proved the earth was a sphere, and it circled the sun.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • afellowcatholic

      Be careful what you wish for.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • afellowcatholic

      do you fully and without reservation accept the teachings on the economy and environment contained in Caritas in Veritae? Or are you just another cafeteria catholic?

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

      @Jacques... You are right, the Catholic Church was founded by Paul (the Christian killer) and actually the first false prophet that Jesus warned about. He reintroduced all the BS that Christ tried to weed out of religion. You know, the weird rituals, women having to cover their heads, ad infinitum. I left the church as a teenager because of all the emphasis on Paul. I know, I know, according to the Catholic Church we're not supposed to use our God-given intellect to figure things out for ourselves. That's just presumptuous... We should follow the ranting of celibate men (trying to hide from their gayness), because we need them and the saints to intercede for us...

      June 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Thomas

      Society needs the Social Workers. You can take those 10 devout elitists along with Ratsinger the Hitler youth prodigy and go off in a corner to quote your scripture. Leave us the compassionate humanists that care for their fellow human beings.

      June 5, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      Not elitist because anyone who is serious about their struggle with faith can become Catholic, even the most negative and intolerant of atheists.

      June 6, 2012 at 6:23 am |
  19. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Obey, obey, obey.
    Control, control, control.

    There used to be a time when none of the church members would dare challenge the Vatican. Now we see people like these brave nuns exposing the higherups for what they are, se-xist, bigoted, and controlling. With this and the abuse and coverup scandal coming to light, it is only a matter of time before the RCC completely loses its evil grip on the world.

    June 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      If you do not want to be catholic, there is the door. I am sure there are Christian denominations that will suit your personal needs.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      I am not a Catholic nor was I ever deemed one. My mom was a Catholic and she left the church over 20 years ago. You better note hope the fake Catholics leave the church, they'll be out of business within a year! 98% of Catholic women use birth control, so you have to figure that the men being included in the sin (since they were okay with the birth control), that is 98% of Catholics leaving. I hope the Catholic church cracks down too!

      June 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      As I said before, the Church that Jesus Christ founded on on this earth is here to stay.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Explain how it is here to stay. If the membership dries up, there goes the money in the collection plates. How can churches afford to stay open if they aren't getting any money? It isn't rocket science. Do you think if a church made up of 400 people dwindled down to a congregation of 10, they would be able to keep the church open?

      June 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • derp

      "As I said before, the Church that Jesus Christ founded on on this earth is here to stay."

      They are closing schools and churches left and right here in Philly

      I guess that's what happens when you harbor pe dophiles and admonish nuns doing good works.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      On church attendance, you are asking a man that has been to a mass service with just two people, but the Lord's Supper was not denied that day.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      You can let the media push you along within the guardrails of an artificial sense of security, to nurture your feelings, to diminish or ridicule courage. Scripture, the writings of the church fathers, the lives of the Saints and the blood of the Martyrs is what keeps me standing fast to my Faith.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Your church wouldn't last very long if it only had two people showing up at every service. I'm sure that was a major anomaly. It was probably snowing very badly that day or something. You still haven't explained how a church would operate with nobody putting money in the collection plate every week.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • derp

      "You can let the media push you along within the guardrails of an artificial sense of security"

      Or you can let the church do it.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      It is simple really, live the way God wants or take your chances with the guy with the horns and forked tail. God told Adam how to live and showed him what his life could be, but Adam chose Sin instead, apparently like you and your Mother.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Jacques Strappe,
      We will go back to the catacombs if necessary but the Church will be here long after you turn to dust. That is a promise from Jesus Himself, you may want to look it up.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Yeah he said that... according to Catholics. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church was founded on the teachings of Paul, not on Jesus. Paul was essentially a Pharisee, the same kind that Jesus denounced.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • edgalbraith

      I've been looking at all this drivel for about an hour. Popes, priests, nuns, angels devils, miracles, heaven, hell etc., etc. ad nauseum. What a bunch crap. You all need to get a life. Try reading. It might help.

      June 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  20. Reality

    Tis the RCC that is in "quick crumble cracking" mode from the Vatican, to the cardinals, to the bishops, to the priests and to the nuns as the "pew peasants" have had it with the coverups and the flawed history and theology!!!- a former "pew peasant.

    June 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Justiniowa

      I'm certain the Gnostics said the same thing. I'm certain the same thing was said when the Huns threatened to destroy Rome. I'm certain the same thing was said when the Visigoths sacked Rome. I'm certain the same thing was said when there were three popes that all excommunicated each other. I'm certain the same thing was said when Luther tacked up his tenets. Wicked men did wicked things, and those wicked men deserve to be sought out and punished. None of that changed the duty or message of the Church.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:34 am |
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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.