Received by email from the author.

Thanks, Richard.

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A.W.Richard Sipe

June 13 2012


If one definition of masturbation can be “self-stimulation limited to self-gratification that is incapable of any generative possibility”, then that is exactly what the Vatican is exercising with ever-greater vigor and enthusiasm—against Jesuit theologian Roger Haight, and Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., against American nuns for their preferential charitable efforts in favor of the poor and against injustice rather than rallying the faithful to the church’s authentic teaching against abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and all matters sexual.

They are all objects of censure from the dreaded Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—the former Office of the Inquisition. I was encouraged by one high ranking church official to publish my books on clergy celibacy and sexual behavior, but warned: “It’s a good thing the Church no longer has the power to castrate or burn at the stake or you would be in trouble.” Words now are the Vatican’s tools of torture and excitation.

Sister Margaret Farley now is one of the major targets of their words and sexual fantasies. Authentic is the operable Vatican word—along with intrinsic, depravity, disordered, inviolable and defective—in its condemnation of Farley’s well-reasoned framework for discussion of Christian sexual ethics entitled “Just Love”.

Her book forthrightly explores the ethics and understanding behind sexual ethics and the varied perceptions held by Christians. She said her book, “was designed to help people, especially Christians but also others, to think through their questions about human sexuality … moving from what frequently functions as a taboo morality to a morality and sexual ethics based on the discernment of what counts as wise, truthful, and recognizably just loves,”

Farley unabashedly approaches topics the Vatican reserves to its own magisterial (authentic) teaching—masturbation, same-sex unions, homosexuality, homosexual acts, divorce and remarriage.

The Vatican appointed a Commission of experts to review the work and found it “contained erroneous propositions, the dissemination of which risks grave harm to the faithful.”

The commission is certainly in error when they write: “the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.” That simply is not true despite the magisterium and the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Most Christians know better.

The Commission again cite the catechism to counter Farley’s discussion about divorce and remarriage and accuse her of contradicting Catholic teaching that excludes the possibility of remarriage after divorce because, “by its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses.”  So, “the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was.”

When it comes to the question of homosexuality the Vatican obviates any dialogue by appealing to scripture that they claim “presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,” and they reinforce their argument with tradition that “has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”

The conclusion of the Vatican is that Farley “also manifests a defective understanding of the objective nature of the natural moral law, choosing instead to argue on the basis of conclusions selected from certain philosophical currents or from her own understanding of ‘contemporary experience.’ This approach is not consistent with authentic Catholic theology.”

It is the Vatican that cannot get the objective nature of natural law straight. Certainly that constitutes “A body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct.” But that ethical belief system is inherent in human nature and discoverable by reason rather than revelation—that’s what makes it natural.

Margaret Farley’s appeal to reason in understanding the nature of human sexuality comes far closer to truth and reality than the Vatican’s ipsilateral ruminations.

Although I appeal to a metaphoric use of masturbation in deconstructing the Vatican commission’s denunciation of “Just Love”

there is a very real sense in which masturbation must be taken into account when considering documents about human sexuality emanating from the Roman Catholic clerical system.

In my study of priests in the United States (A Secret World 1990) I could conclude that masturbation was consistently the most frequent sexual activity of this vowed-celibate group.

During 1968-9 I served on an American Medical Association committee developing a book, Human Sexuality (1972). Doctor William Masters also on the committee said that he once conducted a survey of 200 Catholic religious and 198 reported that they had masturbated at least once in the previous two-year period. He added good naturedly, “ I don’t think the other two understood the question.”

We can safely assume that many of the Vatican-assigned priests do masturbate, and most observant Catholics would not begrudge them this tiny secret pleasure.

We also know, however, that some priests sexually abuse minors. (Between 6% and 9% in the U.S.) Most Catholics would agree that this clerical behavior poses a greater “risk of grave harm to the faithful” than Sr. Margaret’s book.

The Vatican commission that denounced “Just Love” (and the work of Haight, Johnson and the LCWR) disseminate several erroneous propositions while they hide behind their authoritative words. First and foremost they ignore the reality of sexual behaviors of Roman Catholic clergy who they insist vow “perpetual and perfect chastity, therefore celibacy” (Canon 277). The pope maintains that this is a God-given requirement for ordination and he lacks the power to change it.

They perpetuate the myth that Roman Catholic clergy actually behave celibately despite knowledge that some bishops and priests have more or less long term sexual partners, heterosexual and homosexual. Some have fathered children; some use contraceptives; some have tolerated abortion of conceptions authored by clergy “for the good of the church”. (Many can be named.) And the list goes on.

The Vatican’s rationale about sex is that “all sex is gravely sinful” if not downright depraved outside a valid marriage; but they are the authors of this morality; they define what is sin. They are the arbiters of forgiveness. They ignore or minimize clerical sin and rationalize that “priests are human” and brag that they are a church of forgiveness—a neat self-serving system for their non-married staff.

They have the power over sin, but need to control sex of lay folk by inducing guilt because fear is the only way an inquisition works. They are unwilling to dialogue about sexual ethics risking loss or their upper hand.

The Catholic Church has lost all credibility when it comes to any pronouncements about human sexuality—contraception and masturbation included. This loss of ethical stature is the main consequence of the secret sexual life of the Vatican, bishops, priests and their unreasonable teaching.

“Just Love” presents a reasonable set of propositions for ethical dialogue. What does the Vatican have to lose from a more reasonable and nuanced discussion of human sexuality? Will they be recognized as even more corrupt than already imagined if they allow debate about sexual ethics? When human sexuality is removed from the category of taboo and guilt as Margaret Farley suggests, and subjected to reasonable criteria, ethics based on “the discernment of what counts as wise, truthful, and recognizably as just love” emerges quite naturally.

Little wonder the Vatican is consumed by masturbation.







    13 Responses to “VATICAN MASTURBATION by A.W.Richard Sipe”

  1. ERW Says:

    I truely wish, all my family memters had just a fraction of the brain capaciy and interity Richard Sipe and some of the commentators on this blog have, we certainly would be blessed.

    The solid and unrefutted documentation on http://www.richardsipe.com about the corruption of our church should be required reading for all Catholic high school and college courses in history, socioilogy, theooigy, and psychology at least.

  2. Thomas Says:

    They might be master baiters…but fishermen, they are not!

  3. DR.HENRY Says:

    A detailed and honest report on priests who masturbate needs urgent attention. I stood at the ticket counter of Delta airlines in Atlanta some time ago, and I was thoroughly disgusted to hear two priests talking quite passionately about masturbation, within earshot of two young ladies who were doing their best to help passengers. A book entitled PRIESTLY MASTURBATION by Richard Sipe would enlighten many Catholics on the critical state of masturbation among priests and seminarians. Since masturbation is a mortal sin, many of these priests go ahead and say Mass the next day. That is a sacrilege, according to Roman Catholic moral theology. The book might easily be a best seller. Papal masturbation needs to be discussed thorougly by the nuns who write theology books. Go for it sisters.

  4. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    i don’t care who does and who doesn’t masturbate…after all, what are balls for?

  5. Thomas Says:

    Even if masturbation is a part of the cycle of their dysfunction…balls are always lost and found. When one looses their marbles…look out! Damn…the media and the devil made me say that!

  6. Augusta Wynn Says:

    Since the virgin celibates, those who comprise the Roman curia, can’t enjoy sex, why should anyone else be allowed? Sex is dirty and awful and so are women, and everything is woman’s fault anyway or we would all still be with Adam and the peaceful animals.

    Women seduce men and that is why the vatican men cannot allow women to be priests. Women are unclean and the real reason why men are not allowed to masturbate is that they might be fantasizing over women instead of children. If the Roman Curia could control the thoughts of the masturbator it might be a different story. But they cannot take a chance at this stage of the game. So they must condemn all masturbation, even though they would only really like to target the hetero masturbators.

    Hetero sex acts must always include pregnant possibility. The Vatican men know just everything about women, especially how relaxing and joyful sex is while worrying about being pregnant. Sex the way God intended it. They know this because they are very interested in the sex lives of women. Pope John Paul II wrote a lot about it because he was so interested, too. He never had to worry, just like Cardinal Levada, about falling into the near occasion of sin while reading about how much and how often women like to have sex…no fear of masturbation and hell for these two holy men.

    Yep. I don’t know about the rest of you, but hearing the Inquistition talk about masturbation just about says all you ever need to know about the holy men running the Vatican.



  7. Thomas Says:

    Someday mind you…National Geographic might just produce the marriage contract of Jesus and his friend Mary. Then, there might not be enough egg in the world to smear the faces of hierarchy.

  8. Thomas Says:

    God always likes a good laugh.

  9. ClevelandGirl Says:

    Right on, Augusta! Wankers who tell us we can’t be wankers too telling us what kinds of sex is good and bad (the latter especially if involves dirty, filthy, whorish temptress women and girls). Yeah, right. Lots of credibility and moral authority there!

    And on the war on women front, there was an interesting victory in Michigan. This really showed up the hypocrisy about abortion legislation in vivid color. This gave me a huge laugh! (I hope Bill Maher mentions this on his show on Friday…) I *so* love how these women responded for being silenced for mentioning lady parts and male contraception:


  10. N.D. Says:

    Love requires respect for the inherent Dignity of the human person. Any act, including sexual act, that does not respect the inherent Dignity of the human person, is not an act of authentic Love.
    From the moment we are created and brought into being at our conception, we have been created in the Image of God, equal in Dignity, while being complementary as male and female.
    Love is not possessive, nor is it coercive, nor does it serve to manipulate for the sake of self-gratification. Love exists in relationship, and in every relationship, as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters…we are called to Holiness.

  11. Thomas Says:

    All of this might be so…but, there is nothing holy about sperm, eggs, or sex organs. It’s a part of the complete package—God invented sex…man and women only discovered their basic needs. If we believe that the best that we can give back to God is celibacy…forget it—He doesn’t want it!

  12. ClevelandGirl Says:

    Self-Love is the sincerest kind!!!!

  13. Thomas Says:

    Not if self-love is sewn to the skins of hierarchy—then it is corrupt.

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