Where Official Church Teaching on Same-Sex Relationships Misses the Mark

John Duns Scotus

John Duns Scotus

A brief search of these pages reveals my fondness for Richard Rohr, the prolific Franciscan writer and retreat director. In his daily Meditation for today, Fr. Rohr remembers his Franciscan forebear, John Duns Scotus, and has this to say:

John Duns Scotus (1265-1308), the Franciscan philosopher, called each soul a unique “thisness” (haecceity), and he said it was to be found in every act of creation in its singularity. For him, God did not create universals, genera, and species, or anything that needed to come back again and again to get it right (reincarnation), but only specific and unique incarnations of the Eternal Mystery—each one chosen, loved, and preserved in existence as itself—by being itself. And this is the glory of God!

This insight demonstrates precisely where the “official” positions of current Church leaders goes astray when it arrives at its positions regarding the relationships of gay and lesbian people. Instead of actually looking at the “thisness” of individual persons and learning from the lived experience of real, flesh and blood LGBT people, these Church leaders seem to think that God is so limited that God has created a “one-size-fits-all” picture of humanity. Instead of seeing the uniquess and individuality of LGBT folks, bishops and (most) popes see the most common expression of human sexuality — heterosexuality — and then impose that expression on all other humans, whether the mold fits or not.

Thank God there are spiritual writers like Fr. Rohr who regularly remind us of the full Tradition of our Catholic faith — a Tradition that is rich and diverse and recognizes the dignity not of some generic humanity, but the dignity and haecceity of every human person!

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