Vatican-Censured Sister Honored by College Theologians

Posted June 16, 2017 7:36 pm by Mallory Nygard

Sister Margaret Farley, RSM, whose book was condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2012 and who has endorsed same-sex marriage and women’s ordination, was recently honored by the Catholic Theological Society of America at a convention held on June 8 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Sister Farley was awarded the Ann O’Hara Graff Memorial Award for “her scholarship and liberating action on behalf of women in the Church and broader community.” Farley said in her acceptance speech that, “We have not gone far enough.”

A professor emerita of Yale University, Farley’s book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics was condemned by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 2012 for its “erroneous propositions” regarding homosexual acts, same-sex marriage and masturbation.

This is not the first time the dissident theologian has been honored for her work. Farley has also been presented with five honorary degrees from Catholic colleges including Regis College in Weston, Mass.; St. Joseph College in Hartford, Conn.; Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.; St. Louis University in Missouri; the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif.; Fordham University in New York; St. Xavier University in Chicago; and the University of Detroit Mercy.

In 1992, the Catholic Theological Society of America awarded Farley with the John Courtney Murray Award, the society’s highest honor. The first recipient of the award was Father Charles Curran, a theologian who was stripped of the right to teach in a Catholic institution and who “came to be known in 1968 as spokesman for theologians who dissented from the teaching of Humanae Vitae that artificial contraception is always evil.”

New Ways Ministry, an LGBT advocacy group that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has said “has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church” and “cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States”, awarded Farley with the Bridge-Building Award in 2002.

Farley was also awarded the Thomas A. Dooley Award from the Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae of the University of Notre Dame and of St. Mary’s in South Bend, Ind. in 2013.

In 2004, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released a document requiring Catholic institutions to withhold honors and platforms from public opponents of Church teaching. “Catholics in Political Life” stipulates: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

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