Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Same revolution, different day: US nun touts gay sex, liberal Catholics outraged at Vatican response

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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ROME, ITALY, June 8, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Once again, the various bodies of the “progressive” establishment in the U.S. Catholic Church have erupted in a frenzy of outraged condemnation at the Vatican office issuing a warning this week to an academic who wrote that homosexuality and masturbation are morally acceptable.

Sr. Margaret Farley, a former full professor of ethics at Yale University’s Divinity School, also happens to be a member of the Sisters of Mercy and an established leader in the Catholic Church’s own internal sexual revolution. Her 2006 book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, which asserts the moral acceptability of homosexuality, “gay marriage,” remarriage after divorce, and masturbation, has been the subject of an ongoing intervention by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2010.

On June 4, the revolution’s flagship paper, the National Catholic Reporter, published a notification Sr. Farley received from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and has been furiously fanning the flames since then. The NCR coverage has been picked up by dozens of blogs and several mainstream news outlets, all echoing the theme of the big, bad, retrograde Vatican attacking innocent defenders of freedom of thought and our new era of sexual freedom.

“Among the many errors and ambiguities in this book are its positions on masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage, and the problem of divorce and remarriage,” the CDF, which has been in discussion with Farley about the book since 2010, said in a four-page document. Farley’s position “contradicts,” “is opposed to,” and “does not conform to” authentic Catholic teaching.

While the Catholic Left thunders about the Vatican’s “war on women,” commentators in Rome have said that this is just another skirmish between the CDF and the elderly leadership of the liberal Catholic revolution in the U.S., who are growing increasingly furious that their rebellion has failed to triumph.

Foremost among the combatants in the civil war have been many members of women’s religious orders, nearly all overseen by the hard-Left feminist umbrella group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). One source told LifeSiteNews.com that the real problem is the long-standing “tolerance of liberals” by the Vatican, noting that the book had been published four years before it received any attention from the CDF.

The rebellion of the sisters, that started very publicly in the 1960s, has only lately been publicly acknowledged in Rome with the launching of the CDF’s doctrinal investigation of LCWR, a move that reportedly “stunned” LCWR, accustomed as it has become to decades of inaction from Rome. It has been noted that the furor over Sr. Farley is being manufactured by NCR at precisely the moment LCWR leadership produced their defiant response to the CDF’s decision last month to substantially reform the organization.

Among those fanning the flames is Charles Curran, the notorious priest who arguably launched the revolution in 1968. He wrote in NCR on Wednesday, “All have to recognize there is such a real crisis in the church today. But the crisis is not just a crisis in moral theology; it involves a crisis in the church as a whole and in our very understanding of the Catholic church.”

Indeed, it is impossible to deny that a near-state of civil war exists in the Catholic Church, starting with Curran’s own spectacular rebellion, followed by innumerable academics, priests and nuns, against the publication of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae that reiterated the Church’s prohibition against artificial birth control. Nearly 20 years later, the CDF was forced to declare that Curran could no longer teach as a theologian at Catholic University of America, opposing as he did the Church on precisely the same topics: divorce, artificial contraception, masturbation, pre-marital intercourse, and homosexual acts.

Over the decades since Curran published his letter against Humanae Vitae, the secular media has worked closely with the left-liberal movement within the Church to undermine or even overturn Catholic teaching, mainly on matters of sexuality. Through the media, the goal has been largely obtained: that of establishing in the mainstream of the Catholic Church the concept of “loyal dissent,” the idea that it is possible to be a “good Catholic” while refusing to accept whichever teaching is felt to be undesirable. This notion has been broadly accepted throughout the Western world and has resulted in such phenomena as the “pro-choice Catholic” politician.

One source inside the Vatican told LifeSiteNews.com that although the CDF’s intervention was necessary to clarify Catholic teaching, in the current climate, such actions often have unintended negative consequences. “Of course, this is how Hans Kung made his name, and Charles Curran for that matter.”

“Both are mediocre theologians whose names would have been lost in dusty academic obscurity had the Vatican not unintentionally made them into folk heroes of the anti-Catholic Left. In fact, they should both be thanking the CDF for bolstering their careers.”

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Indeed, this week, Sr. Farley’s book, previously of interest only to students and professors, shot into the stratosphere of the online booksellers’ world, reaching 138th on Amazon’s bestseller list, from 147,982, within hours of NCR breaking the story. Since then, the book eventually reached number 21.

And Sr. Farley herself is a far cry from the humble, anonymously habited teaching sisters whose nearly unpaid labor in parochial schools have become the stuff of American cultural legend. Although the Sisters of Mercy do not reveal the salaries of their high-ranking academic members, Yale News reported in 2006 that the salaries of full professors at Yale ranked sixth among all private U.S. universities, at an average of $151,200 in 2005.

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, the head of the Rome office of Human Life International and a long-time observer of Vatican affairs, commented on the situation, saying that the same essential error being made by Sr. Farley, her defenders, and by extension the entire “liberal Catholic” movement, has dominated the Church since the 1960s. Not even the CDF, not even the pope, he said, makes up Catholic doctrine, but the Church merely keeps it as a “deposit” handed down, ultimately, Catholics believe, from Christ himself, to be passed on and shared with “everyone of good will”.

“That is what Christ established. The main function of the Vicar of Christ [the papacy] is to determine what is in accordance with the will of the Lord. A traditional title of the pope is ‘servant of the servants of god’. It’s a duty of service.”

If this is altered through adherence to the preferences of the secular world, he said, “that is not the institution established by Jesus Christ. It would be a human institution. The value of the Catholic Church is that we are an institution established by God in order to keep the integrity of the deposit given to us by God. We are not the owners of that deposit, but we are to give it to people of good will.”

In response to the accusations of suppression of freedom, Msgr. Barreiro said, “The Vatican has as part of its duties to establish what is and is not Catholic teaching. The Church is not forcing people to be Catholic, but it has a duty of service to ensure the orthodoxy and accuracy of its teachings,” and to correct misrepresentations of it.

“We dare to deny that opposition to this is acceptable within the Church,” he said, adding that “if they don’t accept it, it’s sad, but it is a function of the truth.”

In cases like that of Sr. Farley he said:

A person who calls herself a Catholic has to write and teach in accordance with the teaching of the Church. To do otherwise is to defy not only Catholic teaching, but logic.”

To clarify, if you are a member of a club, and you want to remain the member of that club, you have to follow the rules, if you don’t, you’re not being “suppressed” if the club asks you to leave. Similarly, If you pretend to play soccer, you have to follow the rules of soccer, otherwise you are not playing the same game. You invent your own game, and you play in accordance with the rules of the new game, that could be called soccer 2. But it’s no longer soccer; it’s a different game.

If…they want to follow their own rules, fine, but it’s not Catholicism; it’s a different religion. We don’t pretend to use force against different religions, but they have to be honest and not call themselves what they are not.


Msgr. Barreiro acknowledged that many Catholics involved in these battles over the years have become disheartened with the lack of action by Church authorities, but he said that this notification can be taken as a signal for renewed action.

“We now have to wait and see if the notification is implemented by the local ordinary [bishop],” he said. “If this woman continues and does not cease teaching and promoting these ideas, she might receive the same sanctions that Kung and Curran have received, and be barred from teaching or writing as a Catholic theologian. If she continues there might be an escalation of sanctions.”

The second benefit, he said, is as a “warning to local ordinaries that her book cannot be used.”

With the CDF’s notification, the book will in theory be barred from use in ecclesiastical institutions. Barreiro said that the next step is up to the informed laity: “The function that concerned laity might have is to be vigilant that this book is no longer used.”

“If it is used against this prohibition,” he said, “it is up to the knowledgeable laity to bring it to the attention of the local ordinary [bishop] and if that fails, to the CDF.”

He confirmed that this uproar is being orchestrated to generate smoke and light in response to the CDF’s actions against LCWR. “Clearly, her order is protecting her,” he said, “that it’s apparent from the CDF‘s document, and it’s also a known thing that her order is one of the dissenting orders that are part of the problem with religious in America.”


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UK quietly opens the door to genetic engineering, ‘3-parent’ embryos

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By Hilary White

Last month the UK’s Department of Health quietly redefined the term “genetic modification” to open the door to allow certain kinds of modification of human embryos – thus potentially making it the first country in the world to allow genetic engineering.

Scottish journalist Lori Anderson recently raised the alarm over the change in a column in the Scotsman, in which she alleged that the change is designed to “dupe” the British public into accepting “full-scale germline genetic engineering,” using human embryos as test subjects.

Anderson said that in July, the Department of Health “effectively re-wrote the definition of ‘genetic modification’ to specifically exclude the alteration of human mitochondrial genes or any other genetic material that exists outside the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell.”

“The reason for doing this is that it believes it will be easier to sell such an advancement to the public if it can insist that the end result will not be a ‘GM baby’.”

This change follows a statement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body that regulates experimental research on human embryos, approving the procedure to create an embryo from one couple’s gametes but with genetic material added from a third party donor, a procedure called in the press “three-parent embryos”.

Anderson quoted a statement from the Department of Health comparing this procedure to donating blood. The statement read, “There is no universally agreed definition of ‘genetic modification’ in humans – people who have organ transplants, blood donations, or even gene therapy are not generally regarded as being ‘genetically modified’. The Government has decided to adopt a working definition for the purpose of taking forward these regulations.”

This assertion was challenged by one of the UK’s leading fertility researchers, Lord Robert Winston, who told the Independent, “Of course mitochondrial transfer is genetic modification and this modification is handed down the generations. It is totally wrong to compare it with a blood transfusion.”

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The HFEA, which throughout its history has been known as one of the world’s most permissive regulatory bodies, has been working steadily towards allowing genetically modified embryos to be implanted in women undergoing artificial procreation treatments. In a document issued to the government last year, they called the insertion of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) into embryos “mitochondrial donation” or “mitochondrial replacement”. mDNA is the genetic material found in the cytoplasm outside a cell’s nucleus, problems with which can cause a host of currently incurable genetic illnesses.

In the statement issued in June, the HFEA said the technique of inserting “donated” mDNA into already existing in vitro embryos, “should be considered ‘not unsafe’ for the use on a ‘specific and defined group of patients.’”

“Mitochondria replacement (or mitochondrial donation) describes two medical techniques, currently being worked on by UK researchers, which could allow women to avoid passing on genetically inherited mitochondrial diseases to their children,” the statement said.

The HFEA admitted that the techniques are “at the cutting edge of both science and ethics” and said that the results of a “public consultation” in 2012/13 were being examined by the government, which is considering “draft regulations”.

In June, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children echoed Lori Anderson’s concern, commenting that the HFEA is attempting to deceive the public. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said, “Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.” 

Any manipulation of human genetics, always breaks “several important moral rules,” entailing the creation of “human guinea-pigs,” Tully said. “Human germ-line manipulation and cloning – changing the genetic inheritance of future generations - goes against internationally-agreed norms for ethical science.”

He quoted Professor Andy Greenfield, the chairman of the scientific review panel that approved the techniques, who said that there is no way of knowing what effect this would have on the children created until it is actually done.

“We have to subject children who have not consented and cannot consent to being test subjects,” Tully said.

Altering the mDNA of an embryo is what cloning scientists refer to as “germline” alteration, meaning that the changes will be carried on through the altered embryo’s own offspring, a longstanding goal of eugenicists.

In their 1999 book, “Human Molecular Genetics” Tom Strachan and Andrew Read warned that the use of mitochondrial alteration of embryos would cross serious ethical boundaries.

Having argued that germline therapy would be “pointless” from a therapeutic standpoint, the authors said, “There are serious concerns, therefore, that a hidden motive for germline gene therapy is to enable research to be done on germline manipulation with the ultimate aim of germline-based genetic enhancement.”

“The latter could result in positive eugenics programs, whereby planned genetic modification of the germline could involve artificial selection for genes that are thought to confer advantageous traits.”


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Cable series portrays nun as back-alley abortionist

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By Ben Johnson
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'To depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,' said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Cinemax TV series The Knick portrayed a Roman Catholic nun as a back alley abortionist who tells a Catholic woman God will forgive her for going through with the procedure.

In its latest episode, which aired Friday night, the series showed Sister Harriet (an Irish nun played by Cara Seymour) telling a Catholic woman named Nora, “Your husband will know nothing of it. I promise.”

“Will God forgive me?” Nora asked, adding, “I don't want to go to Hell for killing a baby.”

“He knows that you suffered,” the sister replied, before performing the illegal abortion off-screen. “I believe the Lord's compassion will be yours.” 

The period medical drama is set at the Knickerbocker Hospital (“The Knick”) in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, when abortion was against both civil and ecclesiastical law.

“It is no secret that Hollywood is a big pro-abortion town, but to depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said. “The only saving grace in this episode is the real-life recognition of the woman who is about to have the abortion: she admits that her baby is going to be killed.”

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The series is directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for such films as Erin Brockovich, the Oceans Eleven franchise, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. More recently he directed The Girlfriend Experience, a film about prostitution starring pornographic actress Sasha Grey.

Critics have hailed his decision to include a black surgeon in circa 1900 America. But after last week's episode, the New York Times stated that The Knick has chosen to “demonstrate concern for other kinds of progress,” citing the depiction of the abortion. 


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Catholic Malta enacts ‘transgender’ employment discrimination law

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By Hilary White

An amendment to Malta’s Employment and Industrial Relations Act means that employment “discrimination” against “transsexuals” is now officially prohibited in the Catholic country. The provision, which was quietly passed in May, came into effect on August 12th.

The law allows those who believe they have a complaint to make a case with the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, with an industrial tribunal or the courts. A government spokesman told local  media, “Employees do not need to prove that their employer has discriminated against them.”

“They only need to provide enough evidence pointing to a likely case of discrimination. The employer will then need to prove that discrimination has not taken place.”

The amendment defines illegal discrimination against “transgendered” people as, “in so far as the ground of sex is concerned, any less favourable treatment of a person who underwent or is undergoing gender reassignment, which, for the purpose of those regulations shall mean, where a person is considering or intends to undergo, or is undergoing, a process, or part of a process, for the purposes of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” 

Silvan Agius, Human Rights policy coordinator with the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, told Malta Today newspaper that the new amendment brings Maltese law into harmony with EU law.

“This amendment is continuing the government’s equality mainstreaming exercise. The inclusion of gender reassignment in the Act also brings it in line with the anti-discrimination articles found in both Malta’s Constitution and the Equality for Men and Woman Act,” Agius said.

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Agius is a key member of the homosexual activist apparatus in Malta’s government working to entrench the ideology of gender in law in Malta and elsewhere. In June, he was a featured speaker, with the notorious British anti-Catholic campaigner Peter Tatchell, at a Glasgow conference organised by the Edinburgh-based Equality Network, a group that helps organise and train homosexualist campaign groups.

The amendment to the law follows promises made recently by the country’s equalities minister, Helena Dalli, to a “transgender” congress in Hungary in May. Dalli, who brought forward Malta’s recently passed same-sex civil unions bill, told a meeting of gender activists in Budapest that while her government’s focus had been mainly on homosexuals, that she would shortly be turning her attention to “trans” people.

“The next step now is a Bill towards the enactment of a Gender Identity law. A draft bill has been prepared and it has now been passed to the LGBTI Consultative Council for its vetting and amendment as necessary,” Dalli said.

“Some of you may be thinking that we are moving forward quickly. I have a different perspective though. We are doing what is right, what should have been done a long time ago,” she added.

Since the legalisation of divorce in 2011, Malta has been remarkable for its rapid adoption of the gender ideology’s agenda. In 2013, Malta was named the “fastest climber” on the Rainbow Europe Index, a survey organised annually by ILGA Europe, the leading homosexualist lobby group funded directly by the European Union.

The ILGA Europe report notes (p. 114) that Helena Dalli Helena “was one of 11 EU Member States’ equality ministers to co-sign a call for the European Commission to work on a comprehensive EU policy for LGBT equality.” The report also noted that although the new Labour government has proved cooperative, the Christian Democrat Nationalist Party has “progressively proved more receptive to LGBTI issues, including same-sex unions.”


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