Angela O’Brien


Vatican corrects Yale nun: reaffirms sinfulness of homosexual acts, masturbation, divorce

Angela O’Brien

VATICAN CITY, June, 4, 2012 ( - Today the Vatican corrected a wayward theologian, who claimed that homosexuality, divorce, and masturbation, are morally acceptable.

In a Notification published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) on Sister Margaret A. Farley R.S.M’s book: “Just Love. A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” the Vatican asserts that the book contradicts Catholic doctrine. The Notification was signed by Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of CDF, and approved by the Holy Father.

In her book, Sr. Farley claims that homosexual relationships and activities “can be justified according to the same sexual ethic as heterosexual relationships and activities.” “This opinion is not acceptable,” declares the Vatican Notification.

In its Notification, the Vatican clarifies that while people with homosexual tendencies must be respected, in no way can homosexual acts or unions be approved. Homosexual acts, the Vatican reiterates, are “acts of grave depravity.”

The Vatican distinguishes between “persons with homosexual tendencies and homosexual acts.” While persons with homosexual tendencies must be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, and “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided,” nevertheless homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”

The CDF also condemned Sr. Farley’s views on homosexual unions. Sr. Farley urges that U.S. legislation should support “social recognition and legal standing to unions between lesbians and gays,” making such unions equal to heterosexual unions. “This position,” states the Notification, “is opposed to the teaching of the Magisterium.”

On masturbation, Sr. Farley had written that it “usually does not raise any moral questions at all,” and maintains that it is not a moral issue, and can actually benefit relationships.

The Vatican refutes this, explaining: “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose. For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.” Contrary to Farley’s assertions, the Vatican says masturbation is, “an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.”

Sr. Farley also maintains that divorce is sometimes acceptable, stating that marriages may be “subject to release” especially in situations “in which too much has changed” in the relationship.

“This opinion,” states the CDF Notification, “is in contradiction to Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.” The Vatican declares that not only is divorce illicit, but also in cases of marriage after divorce, “the new union cannot be recognized as valid.”

While the CDF presented an evaluation of the book to Sr. Farley, asking her to address the doctrinal errors in it, she failed to clarify the problems. The Vatican has thus declared that her book may not be used in Catholic teaching, counseling, or “ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.”

Sr. Farley’s false propositions, the Notification asserts, risk “grave harm to the faithful” and the Vatican expresses deep regret that she would maintain views that are in “direct contradiction with Catholic teaching in the field of sexual morality.”

The CDF sent an evaluation of the book to Sr. Farley, alerting her to the doctrinal problems in it. However, she failed to clarify the book’s errors, and so the Congregation proceeded with publication of the Notification. The Vatican asserts that Sr. Farley’s book contains “erroneous propositions, the dissemination of which risks grave harm to the faithful” and expresses deep regret that Sr. Farley “affirms positions that are in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching in the field of sexual morality.”

Can you donate just $5 for PRO-LIFE?

Help LifeSite remain the #1 most-read pro-life website on the Internet. We urgently need your help to hit our Fall campaign goal today.

Share this article


Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook