So much of the discussion surrounding LGBT issues is in some ways part of a larger discussion in the Church about gender in general. So it is instructive sometimes to take a step back and look at the larger questions about gender.
The topic of gender in the church was put into the spotlight earlier this week when Pope Francis stated that he understood that Pope John Paul II’s ban on women’s ordination was a final statement on the matter. In response to that declaration, Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, New York, penned a blog post on America magazine’s website entitled “It’s Not a Complement: The Pitfalls of a Gendered Theology of the Church.”
Imperatori-Lee uses as her starting point the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, who heavily influenced Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Her aim is to look not just at gender roles for individual persons, but at how the concept of gender influences the structure of the Church as a whole. Key to this idea is Balthasar’s distinction between what he calls the “Petrine” and the “Marian” dimensions of the Church (relating, respectively to St. Peter and Mary, the Blessed Mother):
Source: Bondings 2.0