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Dear Pope: About Sr. Margaret . . .

Jun 05, 2012 — Categories: ,

I am just writing to thank you for denouncing Sr. Margaret Farley’s excellent book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics.” This is the best PR any author could possibly get and, as a result, the book has soared to the Best Seller list at Amazon overnight. I realize that God works in strange and mysterious ways, but this is too good.

I am just writing to thank you for denouncing Sr. Margaret Farley’s excellent book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics.  This is the best PR any author could possibly get and, as a result, the book has soared to the Best Seller list at Amazon overnight.  I realize that God works in strange and mysterious ways, but this is too good.

It seems to come as some surprise to you and the Vatican that many Christian scholars, including Catholic ones, bring intellectual rigor and critical thought firmly grounded in scripture and tradition to some of the most urgent issues of our time.  Sr. Farley is one of the most respected of these scholars.

More importantly to me, she was my professor and mentor in seminary.  She was the reason I chose Yale Divinity School.  She gave me a firm foundation in Christian ethics and taught me the skills of critical thinking in applying the tradition to pastoral ministry and activism.  She more than anyone, pointed me in the direction of my vocation and I am forever grateful for that.

Sexuality seems to still confound you and yours.  Your fear of new information and insight would be merely sad if it weren’t so harmful to individuals, families, and the church.  In fact if you had studied Sr. Farley’s work and that of other contemporary Catholic moral theologians you might have had the resources to address the crisis of sexual abuse of children in the church.

Sr. Margaret’s fundamental principle in her book, Just Love, is that intimate sexual relationships be shaped by justice, respect, mutuality, equality, commitment and the absence of coercion and fear.  These are the values that we should be bringing to our pastoral care, our preaching and teaching, and our activism.  These are the values that support prevention of sexual abuse and violence.

Sr. Margaret is retired from teaching at Yale Divinity School.  But her ministry among us is flourishing.  Thanks be to God.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute

P.S.  When you have a moment, please denounce my book, Love Does No Harm: Sexual Ethics for the Rest of Us.  Thanks.


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Sr. Margaret

Posted by Jerry at Jun 06, 2012 01:45 PM
Right on! As usual.

Margaret Farley

Posted by Diane Monti-Catania at Jun 06, 2012 01:46 PM
Perfectly stated! Margaret Farley was the most inspirational, intelligent and compassionate person that I encountered at Yale Divinity School. Her insightful preaching/teaching on the subject of ethics has informed my work and ministry for the past ten years. The world (and church) would be a better place if we listened to the prophets among us. I join you in your support of this esteemed woman.

Dear Pope: About Sr. Margaret...

Posted by The Rev. Sue Sprowls at Jun 06, 2012 01:46 PM
Dear Marie,

Amen! Amen! Amen!

Margaret is among my most cherished mentors as well. When I tell people they haven't really lived until they've studied sexual ethics with a woman religious, they look at me as though I'm daffy. But you and I and countless others know that "Just Love" is exactly what she teaches, preaches and lives.

Thank you for your letter. And thanks be to God for Margaret Farley!

Yours in Faith,
Sue Sprowls


Posted by barry at Jun 08, 2012 03:23 PM
Cheering you from Australia! Well Said! Well Done!


Posted by Jan Fuller at Jun 14, 2012 01:35 PM
Love this!

Mark Twain et al.

Posted by adam fisher at Jun 14, 2012 01:36 PM
Mark Twain once thanked the Boston Public Library -- then an arbiter of good taste and salaciousness -- for banning one of his books (which, I can't remember). His argument was much the same: The ban guaranteed an additional 5,000 copies in sales. "Huckleberry Finn" received similar treatment from various sectors of society (at varying times)including the Concord Public Library and the NAACP.

Even with it's come-hither double whammy of sex and religion, it is hard not to imagine that Sr. Margaret's book would have slid quietly off the edge of an increasingly flat world if the Vatican had not jump-started its prospects.

It does make you wonder, though, how the Vatican sees things: Which is more hellish -- to think or to refrain from thinking. It seems to me the Vatican came up with the wrong answer. I hope Sr. Margaret makes a million bucks.

adam fisher

Dear Pope: About Sr. Margaret . . .

Posted by Rev. Kobutsu Malone at Jun 14, 2012 01:37 PM
Very well stated Marie. I survived sexual and physical abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy as a child under the oppressive rule of the "Christian" Brothers.

Mr. Ratzinger has for decades involved himself in crimes against humanity by enabling the systematic abuse of children. Now, when the heat in the kitchen starts to become uncomfortable, he strikes out against Women in a pathetic attempt to deflect from his own culpability and complicity. His loathsome attack against Sister Margret betrays his true character – firmly grounded in coercion and fear; completely lacking in justice, respect, mutuality, and equality.


The Pope Denouncing Sr. Margaret

Posted by Min. Simone Travis-Tate at Jul 16, 2012 03:16 PM
Dr. Fortune just want to say "You go girl!

Solid letter

Posted by Mike OConnor at Jul 16, 2012 03:17 PM
Love this - a well written letter with strong opening and (my fave part) the postscript! I hope for a big, positive impact from messages like this. Tweeted as soon as I could.