We are all familiar with the established, restrictive views on human sexuality espoused by the Vatican. In my writing on queer faith, I have often expressed views that some find controversial – but my regular readers generally find more helpful.
Some gay Catholics, and some priests, have been led to conclusions even more provocative than my own. One such is “Paul Robert”, who describes himself at his site Enhanced Masculinity as a Catholic “priest trying to put together a new theology of male homosexuality”. His tone and style are markedly different to mine, but there is a fundamental point of theological agreement here: in the absence of any realistic sexual ethics taught by the nominally celibate men of the Vatican , we have no choice but to find our own path, and build a meaningful framework for sexual ethics from the ground up.
“Robert” says that he was excited when he first started reading theologians like John McNeill. So was I. He has moved a good deal further down the path than McNeill: I have not moved as far as he has, and am constantly reassessing my thinking, to identify what I can clearly accept, and what I definitively reject. As yet, there is not too much in either camp that I am certain of, and a large range of matters remain for me unresolved questions, on which I will not yet take a position. So, while we both share an objective, to contribute to the development of a sound sexual ethic for gay men, I do not necessarily support everything that he says – but I will be thinking about his thoughts. The value of reading views we may not necessarily agree with, is that they force us to reconsider our own. Ever since coming across “Enhanced Masculinity” with its unabashed celebration of male sexuality, I have found myself constantly reflecting. Just how far do I agree, and where do I draw the line – and, more importantly, why?
I have selected (and edited) some extracts from his opening posts that are worth thinking about. Be warned though, before following any links, that these are not for the faint -hearted. I noted earlier that he has gone a lot further in his rejection of the orthodox teaching than I have , and the site is quite specifically x-rated. If you do not want to risk being offended, stay away – and reflect instead on the thought behind the points that I reproduce here:
This blog is meant to be an exercise in thinking out a way of integrating my homosexuality, or, as I like to call it, my enhanced masculinity, with my Christian faith. I call it “enhanced masculinity” because that is what being gay is all about, being fully sensitive to and keyed into masculinity in myself and in every guy I meet. I know that there are lots of guys out there struggling with this. I have come up with some new ways of philosophizing on homosexuality that I hope they may find helpful.
The author of this blog is a religious and a priest in full sacramental communion with the Roman Pontiff. I am gay with a strong tendency towards fetish and kink. This experience of how my own enhanced masculinity speaks to me, and has spoken to me since the onset of human consciousness, is basic to my thinking which pivots round the realization that you cannot philosophize or theologize on homosexuality in parallel with the moral norms for heterosexuality. What happens between a man and a woman is rightly called sex. What happens between two guys needs to be called something else, like enhanced masculinity.
1. Homosexuality is a gift from God. It is men tuned up to the masculine. I recently thought of the term “Enhanced males”. There is nothing evil, nothing wrong with this condition, it is a gift to society.
2. This man for man erotic direction is totally separate in its significance and nature from the heterosexual urge. It is a mistake to think out, philosophize on, mansex in the same framework as heterosex.
3. This gift needs to be integrated into our personal lives and in the lives of Christians and society by being used. We do not have to hide our light under a bushel. God wants to be praised for his gift of masculinity by guys exulting in it, individually and together. This means masturbating….. This perfectly healthy activity should never have been forbidden in the name of religion or decency. It is a puzzle to understand why it was ever so forbidden.
4. I come from a background that talks about chastity, that encourages vows of chastity. All of that tradition has been thought up in the context of a mentality that regards heterosexuality as the uniquely valid way of human sexuality. The spiritual path of union with God that this tradition seeks is equally to be found in living in depth the gift of enhanced masculinity for those who have it.
- Catholic Sexual Ethics, Social Ethics, and Reality-Based Theology (Queering the Church)
- Does Benedict Oppose Gay Priests?(Queering the Church)
- Pope Benedict, on “Homosexuals”.(Queering the Church)
- “Speaking the Truth” on Catholic LGBT Inclusion(Queering the Church)
- A Gloss on Catholic Theology of the Body as Bogus Science Propping Up Bad Theology (Bilgrimage)
- “The Sexual Person”: Bishops, Theologians Clash on Sexual Ethics(Queering the Church)
- Why Queer? (Queering Theology and Ministry)
- “Very Insightful Blogposts on LGBTQ Spirituality” – Theology Degrees On-Line. (Queering the Church)
Recommended Books (Queer Spirituality):
- Boisvert, Donald: Out on Holy Ground: Meditations on Gay Men’s Spirituality
- Cleaver, Richard: Know My Name: Gay Liberation Theology
- Cotter, Jim: Pleasure, Pain and Passion: Some Perspectives on Sexuality and Spirituality
- Glaser, Chris: Coming Out to God: Prayers for Lesbians and Gay Men, Their Families and Friends
- Glaser, Chris: Coming Out as Sacrament
- Glaser, Chris: Come Home: Reclaiming Spirituality and Community As Gay Men and Lesbians
- Helminiak, Daniel: Sex and the Sacred: Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth
- Johnon, Toby: Gay Perspective: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God & the Universe (Revised)
- Johnon, Toby: Gay Spirituality: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
- Kelly, Michael B: Seduced by Grace: Contemporary spirituality, Gay experience and Christian faith
- L’Empereur, James: Spiritual Direction & The Gay Person
- McNeill, John: Sex As God Intended
- P. Sweasey: From Queer to Eternity: Spirituality in the Lives of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People