During a segment broadcast Tuesday night, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell repeated the word “masturbation” over and over again during a lengthy condemnation of the Catholic church’s antiquated views on human sexuality.
Coming to the defense of Sister Margaret Farley’s 2006 book “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” O’Donnell displayed an image of a crucifix and the Bible with the word “rewrite” just below them, then thanked the Vatican for bringing Farley’s book to his attention before launching into his tirade.
As it would happen, he said, the church’s office that “spends its time deciding which books to hate” was, until 1908, called “The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition.” O’Donnell was speaking, of course, about “The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith,” which took issue with Farley’s book and singled out her positions on three specific things: masturbation, same sex relationships and divorce.
And in particular, they called self-pleasuring “an intrinsically and gravely disordered action” that poses “grave harm” to Christians — whereas Farley suggested that no harm has ever come of it.
Instead of bowing to Vatican pressure to shut up and obey, Farley has gone on a book tour, appearing earlier this week on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Some of her fellow nuns are also hopping on a bus and driving around the country to raise awareness of what Republicans in Congress are trying to do with the budget.
“What [Catholics] know is that the most behaviorally contradicted rules of Catholicism on masturbation, on homosexuality, on sex and marriage and procreation in general, are all man-made rules,” O’Donnell explained. “And the men who made those rules are the men who gave you the inquisition. And those men didn’t have the basic human decency to get the word ‘inquisition’ out of the Vatican until 1908.”
“The inquisition guys aren’t going to stop the nuns on a bus,” he concluded. “And no, they’re not going to have much luck stopping masturbation.”
This video was broadcast by MSNBC on Tuesday, June 12, 2012.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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