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Vatican criticises nun for her book about sexuality

The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith issued a formal censure to the nun for her book which looks at masturbation, homosexuality and divorce.

Pope Benedict XVI, the former head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith
Pope Benedict XVI, the former head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith
Image: AP Photo/Luca Bruno

THE VATICAN HAS strongly criticised an American nun who has written a book about sexuality, saying the book is not consistent with Catholic theology and should not be used by Catholics.

The Vatican cited the book’s stance on masturbation, homosexuality, marriage and the problem of divorce and remarriage as some of the many errors which it said the book contained, and issued a formal censure.

The book, called Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics was written by Sister Margaret Farley, an American nun who has taught at Yale University. In a statement, Sr Farley said the book was designed to help people think through their questions about sexuality.

She said she does not dispute the judgment by the office that the book does not follow official Catholic teaching, but added:

In the end, I can only clarify that the book was not intended to be an expression of current official Catholic teaching, nor was it aimed specifically against this teaching. It is of a different genre altogether.

The Vatican’s moral watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a formal notification yesterday which warned that the book does not conform with the teachings of the Church. The document was signed by the prefect of the group and was approved by the Pope.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had heard from a panel of experts last year who said that the book contained ‘erroneous propositions, the dissemination of which risks grave harm to the faithful’. Sister Farley was sent a list of issues the Vatican had with the book and invited to correct them, but the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith said her response ‘did not adequately clarify the grave problems contained in her book’.

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