Friday, June 8, 2012

Sister Margaret Farley's sex book & other Catholic news

Have you heard the latest from the Men in Rome?  Seems a distinguished theologian and nun wrote a book about sexual ethics. The Vatican Is Not Pleased.  Sally Quinn in the WaPo:
Of course nobody had ever heard of the book when it came out but trust the Vatican to send the book on a “Fifty Shades of Grey” trajectory and land the book onto the bestseller list. Six years after it was published, they issued a statement condemning it. According to its “notification,” the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which enforces Catholic doctrine, the book does not conform to Catholic teaching, and they want to “warn the faithful” that it “cannot be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching.” 
Masturbation, says the Vatican “is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.” Homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and approving gay marriage would show approval of “deviant behavior.” 
Is masturbation where they really want to throw down the gauntlet?
Tone deaf to the end, these Bishops.  Maureen Dowd goes on,
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith... seems as hostile to women as the Saudi Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice... 
The denunciation of Sister Farley’s book is based on the fact that she deals with the modern world as it is. She refuses to fall in line with a Vatican rigidly clinging to an inbred, illusory world where men rule with no backtalk from women, gays are deviants, the divorced can’t remarry, men and women can’t use contraception, masturbation is a grave disorder and celibacy is enshrined, even as a global pedophilia scandal rages. 
In old-fashioned prose steeped in historical and global perspective, Sister Farley’s main argument is that justice needs to govern relationships. ... 
Taking on the Council of Trent and a church that has taken a stand against pleasure, Sister Farley asserts that procreation is not the only reason couples should have sex. Fruitfulness need not “refer only to the conceiving of children,” she writes. “It can refer to multiple forms of fruitfulness in love of others, care for others, making the world a better place for others” rather than just succumbing to “an égoisme à deux.”
This latest ignoble fight with a noble nun adds to the picture of a Catholic Church in a permanent defensive crouch, steeped in Borgia-like corruption and sexual scandals, lashing out at anyone who notes the obvious: They have lost track of right and wrong.
Brava Sister Farley!  Yet another example that there ARE strong voices for sensible Catholic ethics.  Unfortunately, increasingly these voices do not wear Roman collars.

On other fronts, the American Franciscans have written a stellar letter supporting the American nuns, who are under Vatican attack.
for the Franciscans to not only stand with the sisters but to call the Vatican's approach "excessive" evidences a deep displeasure with the way that the reform of the sisters' organization is proceeding. It is fathers and brothers coming to the defense of their sisters.
And Andrew Sullivan points to another example where the Roman Catholic church institutionally continues its merger with the Republican Party.
So a priest advises a political candidate to switch parties and appears at her side in a public announcement of a partisan switch. Where does this end?
My preoccupation with things Catholic really comes down to the last:  if the RC Church has declared itself a political body that interferes with the rights of women, gays, and others who are not church members, if it tries to impose rules upon us all that even its own LAITY reject, then it behooves ALL of us to shine a bright light on their doings, expose their hypocrisy, and push back. With force.

Update:  More Catholics are fighting back against this.
A group of Catholics in the nation’s capital has released a letter speaking out against the Bishops’ recent escalation of their fight against the HHS contraception ruling. 
The authors, a longstanding community of parishioners at The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, an influential Washington church, specifically identify the lawsuits by 13 Catholic dioceses (including their own Archdiocese) and the extreme rhetoric that has been used to describe genuine policy disagreements on this issue. 
In the letter, the parishioners express concern that they are “in danger of becoming pawns” in a political feud and lament the enormous church resources being dedicated to this issue “in this time of worldwide economic distress and suffering”:
we believe that the points of disagreement have been grossly overstated by the bishops. In no way do we feel that our religious freedom is at risk. We find it grotesque to have the call for this “Fortnight” evoke the names of holy martyrs who died resisting tyranny. And we are concerned that the extremist rhetoric used to describe the “threat to our freedoms” both undermines the credibility of our church and insults those in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia who are truly suffering for their faith.


Scoop said...

Maureen Dowd got it particularly right, I think.

Why is the Roman Church so preocuppied with sex? it used to be that they at least talked about social justice, which is by far a more important component of Jesus' teaching. It boggles the mind.

IT said...

I think it goes back to the fact that so many of the hierarchy are in a repressed, adolescent stage with regard to sex and women. They are basically teenaged boys with no adult patterning for physical relationships. hence a misunderstanding of sexuality, and a pattern of child abuse.

When my wife moved to TEC from the RC church, she found a married, adult clergy to be pastorally so much more effective. Grownup relationships are pointless to discuss with one who has never had one.