The calendar contains key moments in the history of the relationship between Western society and LGBTQ+ people. In order to provide the most comprehensive overview of this relationship and its different dimensions, not only major events in economic or legal history are included, but also events in the field of culture and society. Emphasis is also placed on developments on Czech territory.
Robert K. Gnuse
Seven Gay Texts
Biblical Passages Used to Condemn Homosexuality
There are seven texts often cited by Christians to condemn homosexuality: Noah and Ham (Genesis 9:20–27), Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1–11), Levitical laws condemning same-sex relationships (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), two words in two Second Testament vice lists (1 Corinthians 6:9–10; 1 Timothy 1:10), and Paul’s letter to the Romans (Romans 1:26–27). The author believes that these do not refer to homosexual relationships between two free, adult, and loving individuals. They describe rape or attempted rape (Genesis 9:20–27, 19:1–11), cultic prostitution (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), male prostitution and pederasty (1 Corinthians 6:9–10; 1 Timothy 1:10), and the Isis cult in Rome (Romans 1:26–27). If the biblical authors did assume homosexuality was evil, we do not theologize off of their cultural assumptions, we theologize off of the texts we have in the canon. The author attempts to introduce some new arguments into this long-standing and passionate debate.
John H. Elliott
No Kingdom of God for Softies? or What Was Paul Really Saying?
1 Corinthians 6:9–10 in Context
The search for biblical texts on “homosexuals” and “homosexual activity” presents a particularly prickly problem of contextual reading and interpretation. It involves, among other things, a clash of ancient and modern sexual concepts, constructs, and frames of reference. Attempts at using allegedly relevant texts as moral guidelines today are subject to serious exegetical and hermeneutical constraints.
Christoph Breitsameter – Stephan Goertz
Homosexuality and Catholicism: an introduction to the issue
In their study the authors chart the relationship of the Catholic Church to homosexuality. They show the need to examine and possibly revise its judgements about the phenomenon of homosexuality on the basis of more accurate non-fundamentalist reading of Scripture and current knowledge of humanities. While society has made a triple reversal in the sense of depathologizing, decriminalizing and dedramatizing homosexuality, and partner norms are privileged over sexual norms, Catholic moral teaching insists on the moral condemnation of homosexual behaviour and privileges the perspective of reproduction and complementarity in relationships. It remains miles away from the primacy of love because it denies that gays and lesbians can have a love relationship at all. According to the authors, religious traditions are faced with the task of taking a stand against the normative ideas of modern society: that binding knowledge about human sexuality and sexuality is not acquired only by reading scripture, that religion no longer holds a monopoly on knowledge about the world, and that sexual orientation or gender identity matters less and less in a modern society that emphasizes freedom, equality, and recognition of individuality.
Faith in the Creation and Concepts of Homosexuality
The author discusses how the Catholic Church deals with the fact of homosexually oriented people. He introduces the theology represented by the teaching office of the Church and describes how the Scripture and church tradition have become sources of theological normativity. Face to face experienced homosexuality and knowledge of humanities the author believes that these sources need to be historically reconstructed, interpreted and their meaningful intention illuminated. There are many areas of theology which have been corrected and also the pastoral tone has been changed, however, there is still no acceptance of homosexual life partnerships at the doctrinal level. For homosexually loving people who are also believing Christians, the Church offers no way out except for lifetime abstinence. The author calls for introduction of a new term, sacramental partnership, which would recognize the value of what these people are attempting to do: to live in commitment in the sign of God, who is free-loving love, without gradualizing the value of partnership life, which means without measuring it against the ideal of partnership established a priori.
Michael G. Lawler – Todd A. Salzman
Usury and Homosexual Behaviour: Parallel Theological Tracks?
This essay traces the development of the Christian teachings on the (im)morality of taking interest on a loan, initially called usury, and homosexual behaviour from their beginnings in the scriptures, through the tradition, down to the present day. It demonstrates the development of the teaching on usury, thanks to the interventions of the theologians, from absolutely immoral to perfectly moral; highlights the trajectory of the teaching on homosexual behaviour; and suggests that it too, again thanks to the teaching of the theologians, is moving along the same trajectory from absolutely immoral to perfectly moral.
Pioneer Jiří Skoblík: an introduction to theological reflection on the phenomenon of transsexuality
The aim of the article is to appreciate and highlight the contribution of the Czech moral theologian and Catholic priest Jiří Skoblík (1932–2020) to the topic of sexual orientation and identity. It brings several excerpts from Skoblik’s work on this topic, namely his work on transsexuality. Skoblík prophetically perceived these topics not only as worthy of theological reflection, but also as necessary for the relationship between Church and society. He consistently explored them both in the 1990s and in the noughties of the new century, both with regard to the question of the relationship between homosexuality and faith, and the question of transsexuality. His example as a theologian and priest shows the validity of this exploration, which cannot be understood as a cheap provocation or surfing the wave of the fashionable trends of the day.
Are we our brain?
Human Identity in the Tension between Theology and Science
Human existence is not just biological functioning, but a process and quest for identity and fulfillment: human beings are self-interpreting animals. It is argued in this paper that the search for sexual identity is a human universal, with regard to which transsexuality reveals how complex human sexuality is and how it comprehends different levels of human existence: biology, genetics, neurology, cultural concepts and the inner quest for authenticity. Human beings are thus neither identical with their genome nor with their brain and any concept of scientific naturalism falls short of adequately incorporating the different levels of human existence. From a Christian theological perspective, human beings are understood as God’s creatures and images of God. This does not exclude but has to explicitly include the varieties of sexual identity which we find in human beings.
Martin M. Lintner
Transsexualism: the process of searching for identity in the field of tension between nature, culture and personal maturation
The theological and ethical dispute
Transsexualism concerns the form of found, not freely chosen sexual identity, which is characterized by the fact that biological sex is different from the psychological one. This gender dysphoria cannot be ultimately overcome, because a biological (i.e. genetical) sex cannot be changed, despite the possibility of matching the body phenotypically to psychological gender by hormone therapy or surgery. Therefore, the task of recognition and acceptance of their sexuality can be difficult for transsexuals. So, they needn’t only prevention, but they also need support in the process of developing themselves in the corporeal and spiritual unity, so that they could find and develop their identity. This puts the issue in a fundamental debate on the relationship between biological, socio-cultural, and psychological gender identity. These different aspects of sexual identity cannot be separated from each other, but they must be distinguished. Within the right to sexual self-determination, the gender debate does not mean that anyone can freely choose and change their sexual identity, but that their right to recognize, accept and shape their gender identity given to them and conditioned by biological, socio-cultural factors is acknowledged.
The author introduces queer theology and some of its interpretations of Christianity, e.g. new view of the Holy Trinity, the incarnation of the Son of God and the role of the Virgin Mary. He shows that queer theology cannot be understood as a unitary system, but as a plurality of interpretations that open up the Christian story and Christian dogma to new meanings. Queer theology provides a multitude of alternative ways to read traditional texts, surpassing, disrupting and undermining orthodox narratives and social norms that he perceives as unifying and oppressive. Its task is not to demand recognition of its normality, but to defend its legitimacy, it means its right to respect, protection and visibility of its non-normality. It does not call for new orders, but it liberates for greater plurality of Christian theological reflection. Thanks to this, it can find new symbolic levels in the Christian tradition that can function as points of self-identification for individuals and groups that are marginalized by orthodox discourse in the churches.
The poll features the voices of LGBTQ+ people themselves, whether publicly known or not. People react to the question: “Does your LGBT+ identity have any influence on your faith and how you live it? If so, how? If not, why not?” The answer to the question captures a wide range of LGBTQ+ people’s own spiritual experiences and reflections on those experiences.
When the church splits on LGBTQ+ issues
The author, a pastor of the Evangelical United Methodist Church (ECM), is involved in the pastoral care of LGBTQ+ individuals and is therefore personally affected by the schism in his church due to differing views on the ability of same-sex couples to marry and the ordination of persons in same-sex relationships. Vaďura describes the movement in The United Methodist Church and the ECM caused by the controversy and reflects the feelings of a pastor who finds himself in a church undergoing a schism.
Taking people without any labes
Interview with Michael Martinek SDB about LGBTQ+ people in the church
An interview with priest and pastoral theologian Michael Martinek SDB discusses his experience of pastoral care for LGBTQ+ people. The answers also reflect his thought development on the issue. In the second part of the interview, Martinek discusses theoretical reflection on the issue and its grasp in the current practice of the Catholic Church, including a look to the future and possible scenarios for the development of Church theory and practice.
Where next? Enda McDonagh and Sister Gramick as role Models for the Church’s next Journey on LGBTQ+ Issues
This text looks at two figures who have pioneered the pastoral care of LGBTQ+ people in the Catholic Church: the Irish priest and theologian Enda McDonagh and the American religious Sister Jeannine Gramick. In the context of their story and the Catholic Church’s synodal process, theological questions are raised about reconsidering the Church’s attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people. The story of Peter and Cornelius from the Acts of the Apostles and the baptism of the gentiles by the Apostle Paul and the retrospective validation found in the same biblical book become the source for theological reflection here.
Photos by Libuše Jarcovjáková
The issue is accompanied by photographs by Libuše Jarcovjáková. Klára Jirsová presents her artistic career. Jarcovjáková from its beginning photographs in a unique way, which is not in line with the mainstream of the time. Recently, however, her work has received appreciation and she is often ranked alongside famous photographers such as Nan Goldin. Since the beginning of her career, she has also been photographing people from the margins of society, including those who would now be classified as part of the LGBTQ+ community. The issue primarily features her self-portraits, through which she not only explores herself but also sheds light on the topic of the issue as it reflects the dimension of humanity and fragility present within.