Tag Archives: Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics

Readings: Who Is This Woman?

Do they know who she is?” My friend, a strongly committed Catholic law professor from the Midwest, almost burst out as we strode down 10th Ave. last night on the way to dinner. Did they know she is one of the most influential and most respected intellectual leaders in the America church? Do they realize the effect it has among enlightened Catholics when a condemnation comes out of the blue from Rome, when the target is revered by a network of students and professors from Africa to here? Especially in the wake of the feedback to the knuckle-rappng delivered to America nuns.

The she of course is Sister of Mercy Margaret Farley, former professor at the Yale Divinity School and author of Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics (Continuum, 2006), whose book, as reported in the New York Times (June 5) and National Catholic Reporter, has been denounced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as “not consistent with authentic Catholic theology and should not be used by Roman Catholics.” Their argument is that the theology of the book does not conform strictly with the theology of the magisterium. Farley would reply that she does not purport to present strictly Catholic theology, but to employ years of social and cultural, as well as Christian theological, research in order to strengthen the marital commitment by applying principles of justice.

America magazine

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Why the Catholic Church needs Margaret Farley

The Vatican has once again sharply criticized a nun, this time for writing on sexual ethics.

The Vatican has accused Sister Margaret Farley, a member of the Sisters of Mercy religious order and professor emerita of Yale Divinity School, of publishing a book that posed “grave harm” to the faithful.

The book title? “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics.”

View Photo Gallery: In light of the Vatican’s action, a list of nuns who have become known in the broader world. Two of the Americans listed have been canonized.

“Just Love” is a work that sets out to find “ethical guidelines and moral wisdom for our sexual lives” taking on the task of discerning issues of “character and virtue” in relationship not just to behaviors but also to the “large questions” of what human embodiment and sexual desire mean in a moral sense. (p. 15) Our sexual relations, Margaret Farley ultimately concludes, after a cross-cultural and historical exploration, must be founded on both love and justice in an integral sense. “I propose, finally, a framework that is not justice and love, but justice in loving and in the actions that flow from that love.” She seeks to help us all define a sexual ethics that is not abstract, but “morally good and just” in reality, in actual relationships. (p. 207)

If ever there were a method of moral reasoning on sexual ethics that is desperately needed in the Catholic Church today, it is the one proposed by Margaret Farley.

-full reflection by  at Washington Post

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