A French bishop would like the Catechism of the Catholic Church to be revised to “soften” the current position. German and Belgian bishops want to bless same-sex unions, perhaps to erase the abuse scandal. Their ideas occupy the front of the media scene, to the point that one wonders who could think otherwise without being an “apparatchik” of the institution, locked in sexist and petty-bourgeois prejudices.
From my humble point of view as a priest in the field, far from theologians and experts, I suggest not to relax but to expand for the following reasons.
An outdated concept
The concept of homosexuality in the singular is now outdated: already in 1984, the moralist Xavier Thévenot spoke of “male homosexuality”, emphasizing that there were differences and that female homosexuality was another problem.
The once “homosexual” movements are rightly called LGBTQIA+ today, emphasizing the extreme diversity of sexual orientations and practices. It is therefore no longer a question of being for or against “homosexuality”, but of positioning oneself in the face of these multiple and “fluid” sexualities.
Freedom from all sexual norms
The demand no longer relates only to the “inclusion” of this or that behavior, but to a liberation from all sexual norms in the name of “creativity” (Mgr Bordeyne) with no other limit than the acceptance of individual freedoms in society. interweaving of unique stories.
It is with good reason that queer theologies criticize so-called “progressive” churches for wanting to absorb the diversity of genders and orientations into the mold of “heterosexual marriage”. This desire to “include” stems from a paternalism in which an alienating structure is extended to others without questioning the initial model.
Lin Marie Tonstadt, for example, fiercely criticizes “the usual pleas for the acceptance or inclusion of queer, trans or non-binary people by the state or within the churches… The perfect fulfillment of one’s innermost self is would do in marriage: people who seek marriage with a person “of the same sex” would only ask to be admitted into an already existing institution rather than modifying it in any way. (Lin Marie Tonstadt, Queer Theology, Labor et Fides, 2022, p.108)
More men and women?
In this perspective, the Christian God would be “absolute love” which transgresses all norms and all genders: “There is no longer man or woman. (Gal 3:28). According to theologian Patrick Cheng: “Christianity is a message of radical love, which crosses all borders. Christians believe in a God whose love abolishes all binaries. »
According to Massarini, God would have attempted a first model of sexuality, leaving the door open to others: “God had not foreseen the sexual needs of man, (so He created the woman)… After having invented the -à-vis feminine, God, faced with these people recognized as homosexual, lesbian, transgender and bisexual, could he not invent a new wonder for Adam? (Bernard Massarini, Homosexuals and transgenders in the Church: a redesigned ethics. New City, 2021, p.171.)
For us Catholics, such a thought is incompatible with Revelation. The first chapters of Genesis, as Tradition has interpreted them, are without any ambiguity on this point: “God created the human being in his own image; male and female He created them. (Gn 1:27). Humanity, insofar as it is in the image of God, finds its primary structure in the male/female sexual alterity, inscribed in the body.
“It is not good for the man to be alone…I will make him a suitable helper.” And this is the creation of woman, the word “helper” (‘ezer) designating not an inferior but someone on whom one can count. (The word is used for God). The woman is therefore in no way a “first attempt” that God would have made somehow (Massarini), while waiting for other sexualities. She is the only one who corresponds to man in the divine project. And it shows that corporeity, which allows union in difference, has a spiritual dimension in Adam, created from the earth, animated by the breath of God.
The “theology of the body” of John Paul II offers us a prophetic recapitulation of this biblical vision of man. And I used it extensively in prison and in psychiatry with people condemned by society. Repressing is not enough to enlighten consciences and educate freedom. Far from being outdated or idealistic, this theology is still too little known and used.
Claims against the Churches
Human love, in the image of God, is therefore not devoid of norms. And that’s happy. Creation reveals to us that life supposes an order. Otherwise, it is the domain of violence (which in the Greek Bible is often called “anomie”, absence of norms, of law). This is, in my opinion, the problem that LGBTQIA + logic comes up against: monographs, commissioned by these movements, reveal the difficulty of living without norms, with intramarital violence much higher than what we find in heterosexual couples. : one will benefit from reading studies like Queer abuse.. under the direction of Catherine Donovan, 2020, or articles like Domestic Violence in LGBTQIA + relationships, 2019 or Intimate Partner Violence and sexual abuse among LGBT people: a review of existing research, Taylor N. TBrown and Jody L. Herman, 2015… An honest pastoral care of LGBT people should be much more interested in this internal violence than contenting itself with making flat claims against the Churches.
Biblical teaching offers guidelines more than constraints. Having been a chaplain in prison and in psychiatry, I met many people who were “outside the box”. The first pastoral work is not to endorse, even less to bless, but to allow people to situate themselves in truth. This is what Christ does in all delicacy with the Samaritan woman (to the 6 concubines) or with the adulteress. This is what the Church must do today, knowing that “love and truth meet together” (Ps 84) and that “he who does the truth comes to the light. (Jn, 3.21).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church would therefore benefit from affirming the biblical vision of humanity not only in relation to homosexuality but rather in relation to the generalized sexual deregulation which threatens us today. This is what the patristic and medieval commentaries of Rom 1, 25-32 already did.