Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Role of the Gay Community in the Great Dialectic

Monday, March 1, 201

Along with the emergence of the feminine archetpe over the last fifty years,there was a parrellel emergence of a positive gay identity at all levels, social, political, cultural and spiritual all over the world. That emergence has a teleological purpose in the development of the anima-animus mundi. This presence of a visible gay community, for the first time is an integral part of that dialectic and is another aspect of the rediscovery of the feminine or, what I prefer to call, the balancing of the masculine and feminine in a new synthesis in the human personality.

Clearly the dominence in the dialectic of the masculine archetype with the repression of the feminine has gone hand in hand with the repression of the homosexual. G. Rattrey Taylor in his book: Sex In History points out that patriarchal cultures combined a subordinationist view of woman with a strong repression of male homosexuality; whereas cultures based on a matriarchal principle tend to combine an enhancment of the status of women with a relative tolerance for male homosexual practices. The rise of the feminine archetype in recent years gives us reason to hope that gays and lesbians will be fully accepted in the future human community. It is interestong to note that those countries who continue to severly persecute gays are the same countries that continue to severly subordinate women to men. because they are freqently in touch with and act in accord with the feminine dimension of themselves.

At the heart of all homophobia is feminaphobia and repression of the feminine. Gay men are seen as a threat to patriarchy because they are frequently in touch with and act in accord with the feminine dimension of themselves. So the evolution of the feminine archetype potentially brings along with itself gay male liberation.

Every dialectical movement toward a higher synthesis, if it is to succeed,must carry within itself the seed of synthesis. I believe that providentially the seed of synthesis in the masculine'feminine dialectic can be found if the LGBT community. This is a perfect example of the prophecy of scripture that the stone that was rejected becomes the cornerstone.

For this dialectic to reach a successful conclusion depends on the emergence of a visible group that can live out fully both its masculine and feminine dimensiom in good equilibrium and can bring forth a ballance synthesis of the two. This I believe is the providential role of the gay and lesbian political and spiritual groups that have sprung into existence over the past 50 years.
Posted by John McNeill at 12:14 PM 0 comments
Saturday, February 27, 2010
The Role Of Women In The Church

In his book, Passion of the Western Mind, Richard Tarnas decisively makes the point that the future of the whole human race depends on allowing women to be on totally equal basis with men on every level. Tarnas concludes his book with this statement:

"The restless inner development and incessantly innovative masculine ordering of the reality charcateristic of the Western mind has been gradually leading, in an immensly long dialectic movement toward reconciliation with the lost feminiine unity, toward a profound and many- leveled marriage of the masculine and feminine, a triumphant and healing reunion. Our time is struggling to bring forth something new in human history. We seem to be witnessing, suffering, the birth labor of a new reality, a new form of human existence, a "child" that would be the fruit of this great archetypal marriage,, and that would bear within itself all its antecedents in a new form.

"Each perspective, masculine and feminine, is both affirmed and transcended, recognized as part of a larger whole; for each polarity requires the other for its fulfillment. And their synthesis leads to something beyond itself: It brings an unexpected opening to a larger reality that cannot be grasped before it arrives, because this reality is itself a creative act."

If it true that the future of the human race depends on the integration of the feminine on an equal basis with the masculine, it is equally true that the future of the Catholic Church will depend on its willingness to integrate women into its power structure. Tragically, however, the present leadership is fighting tooth and nail to prevent that integration.

Archbishop Weakland reveals the strength of that opposition in his memoirs, A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church. In 1968 Rembert was elected Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Order in Rome and held that post for the next six years. During those years Rembert describes a growing friendship with Pope Paul VI but simultaneously the development of a serious conflict with traditionalist Cardinals of the Curia, especially Cardinal Antoniutti. Their conflict was primarily over the autonomy and independence from central authority of the Benedictine monasteries. The conflict was also over the role of women in the Church. After visiting the convents of Benedictine nuns all over the world Rembert felt the need to facilitate the way women could use their gifts in the Church. He had no idea how important it would become and how much opposition it would generate from Cardinal Antoniutti and many members of the curia. For example, after Rembert organized a summer program for Benedictine nuns at St. Anselmo, the Benedictine Seminary in Rome, Cardinal Antoniutti canceled the program saying the nuns had no need of further formation. Rembert went directly to Pope Paul VI who ordered Antoniutti to allow the educational project to continue. (This same curial opposition to nuns continues today with the appointment of papal inquisitors to rein in the American sisters, eliminate their independence and bring them back under the authority of the men in the Vatican)

The present Pope would argue that he has no choice, that the decision to exclude women from priesthood was a decision made by God and Jesus and he has no authority to rescind that decision. What was unquestionably an unjust and sinful cultural failure in the past to recognize the equal status and dignity of woman has been transformed by the Pope into a divine dispensation. By this slight of hand the Vatican is trying to maintain the Church as an exclusively man's club and, as a result has made the institutional church deaf to the voice of the Holy Spirit, an heirloom from the past but irrevelant to the future of humanity.

Pope Benedict has frequently claimed that he is willing to give women positions of authority in the Catholic Church. At this juncture in time the faithful should call his bluff. No one needs to be a priest to be a cardinal. The faithful of the Catholic Church should call on the Pope to immediately appoint all elected heads of major religious order of women as Cardinals of the church. Certainly they are more deserving and better qualified than are most in the presenr College of Cardinals. And who is better qualified to choose out next Pope.

I believe also that the major religious superiors have the right and the duty to appoint a commision to send to Rome to investigate whether the Roman Curia is governing the Catholic Church is a spirit consonant with the teaching and values of Jesus Christ.
Posted by John McNeill at 11:53 AM 2 comments
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Justice for women in the Church

Over the past fifty years of ministry in both my study and experience I have becom more and more convinced that the deepest root of homophobis both in our culture and in our church is feminapbobia, the fear and suppression of the feminine. Consequently, the most important contribution that can be made to gay liberation is for the gay community to commit itseelf to women's liberation.

I published a book that deals with this connection in the epilogue: Emerging From The Heart Of The World. The book was recently reissued by Lethe press. The title is Freedom, Glorious Freedom: The Spiritual Journey To The Fullness Of Life For Gays, Lesbians, and Everybody Else. ( A summary of that study can be found in my article Misogyny and Homophobia on my website:

I am aware that many bloga deal even better than I with empowering women in the Church. My hope is to offer a few suggestions for an effective pragmatic program to help brings this about.

My fist suggetion is to, as Republicans would say, "Starve the beast". The Vatican and the Bishops will not empower woman until they see it as a financial neccesity. Lets call on all the faithful to stop giving money to the institutional church and contribute money instead directly to charity. Refuse to directly support the institutional church until it deals with its female members in a just manner.

My friend Brendan Fay suggested that money should be sent to Mary Hunt's organization WATER, to set up a scholarship fund for woman, who feeling called by God to priesthood, need support to attend a seminary and prepare themselves to become effective priests.

In my next few blogs I will make further pragmatic suggestions on how to go about achievig justice for women in the institutional church.
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