Vatican's Condemnation Of Nun's Sex Book Turns It Into Bestseller

Sister Margaret Farley


Just a few spots down from the Fifty Shades trilogy on Amazon's bestseller list sits another sex book. You won't find steamy S&M scenes in it, but you will find an American nun telling you that it's a-okay to masturbate, have gay sex, get divorced, and marry more than once. That's not the amazing part. The amazing part is how a book written in 2006 and stuck at #142,982 on the list as of Monday, is suddenly sitting one spot higher than Oprah's new book club selection.

The book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, was formally and publicly denounced by the Vatican on Monday and banned from Catholic schools. That was enough to shove Sister Margaret Farley's six-year-old book up to the #1 spot on Amazon's best selling religious studies rankings and #16 overall. In fact, you can't even order it on Amazon at the moment because it's sold out. Hey, Vatican: censuring're doing it wrong. 

Plenty of theology academics stepped up to support Farley, who is a prominent theologian and professor emeritus at Yale's School of Divinity, which is good because now we get to sit back and watch a bunch of religious leaders battle it out over whether God wants us to touch our naughty bits or not.

Some key arguments:

Sister Awesomeface Farley: “Masturbation… usually does not raise any moral questions at all. … It is surely the case that many women… have found great good in self-pleasuring."
Church: "...masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action..."

Sister Farley: “My own view… is that same-sex relationships and activities can be justified according to the same sexual ethic as heterosexual relationships and activities."
Church: "This opinion is not acceptable. ...homosexual acts [are] acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."

Sister Farley: “My own position is that a marriage commitment is subject to release on the same ultimate grounds that any extremely serious, nearly unconditional, permanent commitment may cease to bind."
Church: This opinion is in contradiction to Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of marriage

For the record, I'm pretty sure that any Vatican-approved sex book is simply not worth reading, and this is amusing. But there's a bigger question here. Fifty Shades blew up when libraries started banning it, and this book flew up the charts when the Vatican condemned it, so is getting-banned the new getting-glowing-reviews? If so, I'm off to write something horrifically offensive then swim in a vat of money like Scrooge McDuck.

Image via

Image of Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics
Author: Margaret Farley
Price: $32.31
Publisher: Continuum (2008)
Binding: Paperback, 336 pages
Image of Sex Lives of the Popes
Manufacturer: Prion
Part Number:
Kimberly Turner

News by Kimberly Turner

Kimberly Turner is an internet entrepreneur, DJ, editor, beekeeper, linguist, traveler, and writer. This either makes her exceptionally well-rounded or slightly crazy; it’s hard to say which. She spent a decade as a journalist and magazine editor in Australia and the U.S. and is now working (very, very slowly) on her first novel. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two cats, ten fish, and roughly 60,000 bees.

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misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind June 19, 2012 - 12:02am

I know this article is a week or so old at the time of me writing this, but I wanted to say I enjoyed it. There does seem to be a correlation between the banning of books and the explosion of said book's sales afterward. It's something we've noticed before, but never to this degree! And here I thought it was the selling of movie rights that made you a best-selling author... I wonder what would happen if you achieved both a banning and a movie?