Breaking News: Vatican Opposes Gay Marriage…

…as part of a broader agenda to systematically oppress and silence women. That, at least, is the position of some unnamed “critics” in a USA Today article. The story is a response to a recent Vatican censure of a book on sexual ethics by nun and Yale professor Margaret A. Farley.

After two years of study, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a “notification” on Farley’s Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, saying it contradicts Catholic doctrine on key issues such as gay marriage, homosexuality and divorce.

Coming just days after U.S. nuns rejected the Vatican’s reasoning for a wholesale makeover, and a year after U.S. bishops sanctioned another nun theologian, the condemnation of Farley is the latest example of what critics see as a top-down attempt to muzzle women’s voices and an obsession on sexual ethics.

Curiously, there is no report of critics taking aim at Farley for her obsession with sexual ethics–after all, she is the one who published a book on sexual ethics–but the Vatican, in evaluating and responding to the work, reveals its deep and abiding obsession. More importantly, this notification is clearly an attempt to silence women and has nothing to do with the long-standing and well known opposition of the Roman Catholic Church to homosexuality. I mean, who could have expected that the Vatican would react negatively to the argument “that ‘masturbation … usually does not raise any moral questions at all,’ and that homosexual acts ‘can be justified’ following the same ethics as heterosexual ones.” Apparently Farley could, as she admits that some of her views are “not in accord with current official Catholic teaching.”

Nevertheless, there is clearly a vast, institutionalized misogynistic mechanism at work here. Luckily we have feminism to protect women from facing the same standards of ethical orthodoxy as men.

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8 thoughts on “Breaking News: Vatican Opposes Gay Marriage…

  1. Well, there is certainly a vast institutionalised mechanism, of which all those in authority are men. And understanding of how gay people are born that way shows that the old understanding of it being a choice, which is sinful, is wrong.

    • I hope you’ll excuse me but I really don’t see how any of that makes any sense. That men are in authority in the Roman Catholic Church does not necessitate an institutional attempt to silence women. More importantly, even if there were such a program being undertaken, the reaffirmation of a centuries old position on homosexuality should in no way be interpreted as an expression of that conspiracy simply because the person being censured is a woman. Women can be wrong–as Farley admits she is, by official Catholic standards–apart from their being women. The immediate flight to conspiratorial misogyny is logically and rhetorically impotent.

      (Incidentally, your response, as if anticipating my objection, makes no attempt to connect your two entirely separate–and conspicuously unsupported–assertions that there is institutional sexism and that homosexuals are “born that way.” You state them in two sentences which could just as easily be placed in distant and unrelated paragraphs. Starting your second sentence with “and” does nothing to establish a conjunction between the two ideas.)

      • Well. Gay people are born that way. If you consider that an unsupported assertion, you are ignoring the experience of millions of people, and the scientific evidence, though you may rely on some junk science. And, indeed, if it is an entirely free choice to be gay and the person could be happily heterosexual, why should the person not make that choice? Because the Bible says so? But the Bible also condemns wearing clothes of more than one fibre.

        As for the marginalisation of women, the people in authority are all men. Priests, cardinals, popes, bishops, whatever, all men. Religious people must be able to think for themselves. If women could take these roles, most women would still be silenced, because of the level of control imposed from the top down.

        If it makes no sense to you, it is because you do not have a sufficiently open mind.

      • It’s entirely possible that my close-mindedness is an issue, but I’m inclined to believe that this is more of an issue of logic than anything else. I’d like to encourage you not to impute to me any ideas which you have not seen me express here. In the above post, I say nothing about my view of the role of women in an ecclesiastical hierarchy or about sexual ethics. I have decided opinions on both of those issues, but I assure you they are not based on “junk science” and they are not, so far as I’m concerned, geared toward oppression.

        What the above post does do is expose an argumentative error in the “critics” of the Vatican’s notification, and my reply to you hoped to show that your endorsement of their objections suffered from the same flaw. There is no logical connection between opposing homosexuality and misogyny and there is no grounds on which to claim that the censuring of this book is an inherently misogynistic act just because the author is a woman. The Vatican would oppose homosexual behavior regardless of the anatomical incidentals of the author, making the paranoid accusation that this censure is part of a broader sexist conspiracy entirely vacuous.

        It simply doesn’t stand the test of reasonable scrutiny, regardless of my above unexpressed personal views of sexual ethics and gender economics.

  2. What ideas do you believe I impute to you?

    • The entire first paragraph of your previous reply is responding to arguments I haven’t made about positions I may or may not hold. About the science of sexual attraction. About the roots for the opposition to homosexuality being in the strictures of the Law. About the possible motivations for “choosing” to be homosexual.

      More importantly, all of it is moot. If I were a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, the Vatican’s notification would not thereby be proved misogynistic. If I were the founder of GenderPAC,the Vatican’s notification would still not thereby be proved misogynistic.

      Whatever my personal views, it does not come to bear on the non sequitur that because Farley is a woman, Vatican censure of her thought must be part of an effort to oppress women.

  3. No, it is supporting Farley’s position.

  4. […] recently commented on the foolishness of reading misogyny into the Vatican criticism of Margaret Farley’s […]

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