February 15, 2012 ( – The Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (SCDF), has censured a book questioning the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexual morality and ordered it removed from bookstores, according to reports in the Spanish media.

The book, “Sexuality and the homosexual condition in Christian Morality,” (Sexualidad y condición homosexual en la moral cristiana) by Spanish Redemptorist priest Marciano Vidal, is published in Spanish by the Society of Saint Paul, a religious order devoted to Catholic publishing and media outreach.  The Spanish newspaper El Pais reports that no detailed explanation was given, but simply that the book contains expressions “contrary to the doctrine of the Church regarding sexuality.”

Previous works by Vidal on similar topics have already been condemned in a notification of the same Vatican office in 2001 by then Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, for claiming that the Catholic Church’s teachings condemning sodomy, masturbation, contraception, sterilization, artificial insemination, and in vitro fertilization were open to doubt, and making ambivalent statements about “therapeutic” abortion.


Although Vidal at the time agreed to revise his works to bring them into conformity with Church teaching, in cooperation with the bishops of Spain, he ultimately decided not to do so.

“It was asked of me that if I would like to do a new edition of the Morality of Attitudes, I would have to enter into a relationship with the Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference,” Vidal later told the Spanish news agency IVICON.  “Maintaining that dialog, I have decided not to do a new edition.”

Following the decision of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Argentinean newspaper Pagina 21 has published an image of the letter written in Italian by the superior general of the Society of St. Paul to the Society’s provincial superior for Argentina, Chile and Peru, ordering the cessation of sales and publicity for the book, as well as the removal from the Society’s catalog.

The same letter orders the removal from sale of another book by Methodist minister Pablo Ferrer and also published by the Society of St. Paul, “Couples and Sexuality in the Community of Corinth.”

While the Society of Saint Paul’s officials in Argentina have indicated that they will obey the order, El Pais reports that the leader of the Brazilian branch of the Redemptorist order, to which Fr. Vidal belongs, is refusing to pull his book.

The Portuguese-language blog Mass on Sundays (Missa aos Domingos) has published an email from Redemptorist priest Marcelo Araujo, who runs the order’s publishing house Santuario, claiming that he has received no notification from the Brazilian bishops’ conference nor the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the book. He defends the book openly, claiming that it was not condemned for doctrinal reasons but rather “simply responds to a consternation caused by comments of an Argentinean site which, without knowing the content, only for the fact that Fr. Vidal was questioned once by the CDF, now thinks that whatever book he writes is against the Catholic faith.”