Sisters of Mercy president defends Farley, criticizes CDF
The president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas has issued a statement defending Sister Margaret Farley and her book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics.
In a notification published June 4, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that the 2006 book is “in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching in the field of sexual morality … Among the many errors and ambiguities of this book are its positions on masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage, and the problem of divorce and remarriage.”
“Sister Margaret Farley, RSM, is a highly respected and valued member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas,” said Sister Patricia McDermott, the order’s president. “I know that I speak for our membership in expressing our profound regret that a Notification has been issued.”
“Sister Margaret has given witness to the highest quality of academic work and compassionate presence,” Sister McDermott continued. “She assiduously attempts to present the Catholic tradition as formative of her own rich experience while recognizing the ecumenical audience she often engages. While being faithful to her own faith tradition and commitments, her sensitivity to the varied circumstances, realities and needs of her students is the context she consistently honors.”
“The process initiated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been lengthy, arduous and extremely difficult,” she added. “I am deeply saddened that Sister Margaret has had to engage in this process for more than three years and that the Congregation has rendered this Notification concerning the significant pastoral and ethical thinking that are represented in her book, Just Love.
Two theologians at Jesuit colleges, David Hollenbach of Boston College and Paul Lakeland of Fairfield University, also issued statements in defense of Farley, as did Harold Attridge, a lay Catholic who serves as dean of Yale Divinity School, where Farley is professor emerita.