One of the intentions of this blog, and indeed its wider context, is an ongoing project that I see myself and others involved in, which is the working towards a theology of homosexuality in the Catholic Church. In some ways my Ph.D deals with this, and I've given papers that have touched on this issue - of the precarity of homosexuality, for example -, and I see others dealing with these various issues over at other blogs - no less Queering the Church which recently did a nice Introduction for this blog.
It's no good however academics theorizing this stuff without concrete efforts being taken to see what this looks like on the ground as it were, and to some extent I think the Soho Masses have been an attempt at just that. What I'm talking about and interested in seeing is the experiences of and existence of homosexuals being represented within the Church, and questions being asked like: what does a liveable life look like for a gay Catholic (a life of chaste celibacy with a side serving of disinterested friendships sounds more like a sentence than a theology). Conservatives typically get agitated at this point: Ooh he's dissenting; he's trying to introduce novel and vain teachings; he wants to promote gay sex in schools! No, no, no.
What I am interested in is what Jack Valero put infinitely more eloquently on a Facebook discussion of mine:
I think that it's not enough for homosexual people to be accepted in the Church: we must discover how the universal call to holiness applies to them.
This to me is sound, orthodox stuff, rooted in the Church's universal teaching and asking the question: how do homosexuals become Saints in the Church? Excluded from both family (marriage) and ministry (ordination) homosexuals that want to embrace the Church face a difficult challenge, and the Church seems to offer little in the way of consolation (except, of course, Our Lord in the Sacraments). What we need though, desperately, is an understanding of who we are in the Church as opposed to a conditional existence in the Church: we need a place as it were, a fully fledged understanding of homosexual vocation that negotiates the ex-gay ministries and pathological narratives.
I hope to pursue just this endeavour over the course of this blog, and I hope that relevant parties and blogs will join me in this and make themselves known to me: what we need, before anything else, is solidarity, instead of the suspicion and policing of others identities that I continue to bemoan: I've already had a conservative accuse me that I'll be working for the Tablet next (in conservative Catholic parlance the Tablet represents post-Vatican II liberal heresy: well, good, I'll work for the bloody Tablet; I dare say I'll have more compelling stuff to write than Oddie over at the Herald); and a liberal deplore that I don't support marriage equality, apparently (I don't really want to go into my opinions on same-sex marriage legislation in the UK, which I have posted elsewhere; needless to say I have already expressed my position to an Archbishop that the Church seems to expend a disproportionate amount of energy on what its theology considers a simulation of natural law marriage and says precious little about all those divorced couples living in sin: let's have this conversation another time). The bottom line for me is that solidarity is what is needed instead of nit-picking about whether we are conservative and/ or liberal enough. I'm Marian, Papist, and attend the Usus Antiquior; I'm not going to be questioned on my 'traditionalist credentials'.
I look forward then to exploring over the course of this blog what a theology of homosexuality looks like in both theory and practice and specifically highlighting how we can understand, interpret, and critique homophobic narratives in Church doctrine and teaching. Most of all though I look forward to making new friends and allies in this blogosphere...and offering to pray for and with my fellow brethren in Christ.
Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genitrix.