"You aim at a devout life, dear Philothea, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God's Divine Majesty," says St. Francis de Sales in his book "Introduction to the Devout Life".
And we can all be Philotheas, as St. Francis notes: "I have made use of a name suitable to all who seek the devout life, Philothea meaning one who loves God."
Boy (oops)…Wow, those Catholic
feminist types just don’t get it, do they!? It’s kind of amusing to observe the
antics and contortions they’re going through in defending the liberal,
progressive, modernist nunsense of the Leadership Conference of Women
Religious. And now they are incensed about the Notification from the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) that warns the faithful that Sister
Margaret A. Farley’s book Just Love 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
While many of us applaud that action and statement, the
Catholic feminist theological front thinks it’s just another indication that
those celibate old men in the Vatican are out to get all the really smartgals female scholars doing important theological work that makes a
mockery attempts to clarify Catholic moral teaching in the light of current
social trends. Yeah. I think I got that right…
To wit, here are some excerpts from an
article by Dr. Mary E. Hunt, “a feminist theologian who is co-founder and co-director of the Women's
Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER)” and a “Roman Catholic active in the women-church
movement”. Uh huh.
Margaret A. Farley’s fine theo-ethical work causes “grave harm to the
faithful,” Catholics live very graced lives. War, poverty, ecocide, racism,
colonialism, and sex and gender injustices of all sorts come to mind in the
“grave harm” category. But not in the wildest imagination of anyone other than
a Vatican bureaucrat would Dr. Farley’s sexual ethics qualify.
No matter that Dr. Farley’s
work is completely counter to Church teaching and will lead people to hell. That’s
the “grave harm”, Dr. Hunt. Or wait…maybe the women-church people don’t believe
in hell? Well, anyway, Dr. Hunt opines that
interlocutors … leave the distinct impression that they are oblivious to the
fact that postmodern ethical analysis emerges from multi-disciplinary,
multi-religious discussions grounded in concrete actions for justice.
Are you kidding me?! I
thought ethics and morality were supposed to be based on truth. Silly me.
Hunt also thinks that "A
scholar of Margaret Farley’s stature must terrify the staff of the CDF".
Farley…brings a thorough grounding in the Christian tradition with an emphasis
on Catholic thought to her books ...
Huh?! She turns Catholic
moral tradition upside down, condoning sins like homosexual behavior and
CDF theologians boiled down her opus into five cherry-picked nuggets on sex and
marriage that reflect their priorities, not hers.
Umm…I think they did that
because Dr. Farley’s “scholarly” work runs completely counter to Church
teaching in those areas. And that’s what’s important. Could it be that those
are the “priorities” of the Church?
There’s a lot more in the
article that would be hilarious, if it weren’t so downright sad. I haven’t the
time or energy to mock critique it in the way it deserves. Here’s one
last quote, though; Dr. Hunt concludes:
after the Vatican’s Notification has been forgotten, generations will recognize
that the HIV/AIDS pandemic occasioned a seismic shift in moral theology. Real
world experience drives the discussion. Margaret Farley’s name will forever be
associated with Catholic moral theology that does justice. Notify that!
All righty, then! Read the whole thing if you want, but it’s
only worth reading until the novelty of her ludicrous commentary wears off and
you start to feel nauseous and angry.
Compare Dr. Hunt’s rant with an
article by George Weigel – well worth reading in its entirety. Weigel
comments that the American mainstream media sees “religion” as a “lifestyle
choice”, and points out that this perspective leaves little room for the very
concept of absolute truth. That’s why
the liberal media has jumped on the bandwagon of those poor, oppressed nuns of
the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Weigel says:
There is even less room for the
notion of “the truth” as both binding and liberating at the same time. Yet that
just happens to be the Catholic understanding of doctrine: a “doctrine” is an
authoritative truth that invites (indeed compels) assent, and that liberates
the believer into the deep truths of the human condition and the divine life.
So when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, citing the Leadership
Conference of Women Religious’s own documents and program, avers that the LCWR
has come up short in what was specifically and deliberately called a doctrinal
assessment, the Congregation is concerned about truth, not power, and about the
integrity of religious vocations, not misogyny.
Regarding Sr. Margaret Farley’s book, Weigel observes:
There is not a whole lot in
dispute about Just Love’s contents. Not to put a fine point on it, but Just
Love makes claims about sexual morality — on just about every imaginable
question, from the morality of homosexual acts, to contraception, to
masturbation, and on to the nature of marriage, etc. — that are the polar
opposite of what is settled Catholic teaching…Still, the author is admirably
candid about her views. There is no to-ing and fro-ing here: Sister Margaret
Farley does not teach what the Catholic Church teaches about the matters she
discusses and does not pretend to do so. What she does claim is that she is a Catholic
Weigel’s explanation of what theology is and isn’t makes a
good conclusion to this discussion:
Theology, as the Catholic
Church understands it, is an ecclesial discipline: It is not religious
studies, which can be done anywhere. Theology, rightly understood, can be done
only within the Church. That Church, through its duly constituted
leaders, the bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome, defines the
boundaries of what is and is not authentically Catholic. That, and nothing else
than that, is what lies behind both the Vatican attempt to reform the
Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Church’s official critique of Just
There is ample room for
exploration on Catholic theology; for if theology is not religious studies,
neither is it catechism. But for that exploration to be authentically Catholic
— and thus of use to the Church — it has to take Scripture and Tradition as its
baseline, and it has to begin from the premise that the doctrinal boundaries of
the Church, rooted in Scripture and Tradition, point exploratory theology in the
I think Dr. Farley and Dr. Hunt could both learn something