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Transgender and Catholic: Nick Stevens

20 May

Young Adult Catholics

1bscOViayn-jumboThe following was originally posted by the NYTimes on Transgender Today.  Nick Stevens a member of the Call to Action 20/30 Community.

Transgender and Catholic. These two words often aren’t used in the same sentence (at least in a positive way), but these words best describe who I am.

Yes, I’m a Roman Catholic in an increasingly secular world. But I’m also a Catholic in a transgender community who has often experienced religion as a mask for bigotry or even violence.

So when I came out as a transgender male at my small Catholic college in St. Louis I feared my peers would not respond well. Whether it was reactions of hesitation or outright exclusion, I knew things would change.

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Men Pray the Rosary Too: Against a “Theology of Women”

10 May

Katie Grimes teaches us how not do do “theology of women”:

“While Mary did indeed achieve union with God through bearing God’s Son in her body, and while only women can become pregnant, no woman before or after Mary has ever given birth to God. Mary’s pregnancy stands as a historically unique and unrepeatable event. What makes Mary’s pregnancy emblematic of the human capacity for union with God is not so much the fact that it was a pregnancy but the fact that she carried God inside of her body.”

“… is Mary’s ‘yes’ to pregnancy really that different from the ‘yes’ offered by Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane? Both ‘fiats’ served as a response and submission to God’s will. Just as Mary accepted pregnancy and did not initiate it, so Jesus accepted crucifixion.”


Last month, on the way back from his spectacularly successful trip to Brazil, Pope Francis offered some off the cuff comments that sent the Catholic blogosphere buzzing.

While re-affirming the church’s longstanding prohibition on the ordination of women, Pope Francis called for what he termed “a truly deep theology of women in the church.”

Many in the Catholic blogospherecelebrated the Pope’s remarks, interpreting them as evidence of the Pope’s appreciation for women.  But I am not so sure we should greet these words as “good news.”  The problem seems to be exactly opposite of what Pope Francis argued.  I blame not the absence of such a “theology of women” but the fact that so many church officials think we need a “theology of women” in the first place.

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Vested interests*

4 Dec

Young Adult Catholics

001Almost a decade ago, I began to acquire priestly stoles I could not possibly use.

In 2005, while attending the School of the Americas protest in Fort Benning, Georgia, I browsed the stalls of the vendors. A woman from Latin America operated one stall, full of crafts and hand-woven cloth. Among her wares was a rich purple stole. It bore images of Jesus in the desert and women at a well and was draped on a hanger.

The scene triggered something. I had to have it. I moved as if in a dream. My heart beat louder while I wrote my credit card number on a piece of yellow paper. I paid eighty dollars I would have done better to save.

I went back to my friends. I showed them my grocery bag, warily removing the purple stole from it as though authorities would be more concerned about this than…

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The Need for Asexuality in Theological Discourse by Lachelle Schilling

22 Nov

Asexuality is an orientation that is misunderstood and marginalized. That is, if it is allowed a presence at all. I consider myself to be sensual, loving to receive and give pleasure, affectionate and romantic, and longing for a relationship that respects my bodily boundaries which happens, for me, to mean physical touch that does not include genital sex.

The recognition of asexuality into our theological and theoretical discussions can offer another way of understanding agency and the erotic in our lives. It can help us access the sacred narratives we long to have deeper connections with. In addition, when we allow a more holistic and generous understanding of asexuality as it is actually experienced by those who self-identify as such, it creates a livable space for us to exist, to imagine in midrash, perhaps, among the abstinence narratives which can be problematic in theological literature, our sacred presence.

Consider Mary…

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1 Nov

Friendly reminder from your neighborhood Catholic: we’re not Evangelicals, JP2 and B16 were both chill with evolution, and a Jesuit thought up the Big Bang. So don’t make Bill Nye’s mistake:


31 Oct

There are many things we can praise Pope Benedict for — prompting conversations about translation studies, finding a theological justification for condoms, impeccable taste for vestments — but let’s for a moment add to the list of things we can blame him for: this blog.

On any given day before February 2013, I was the only one willing to have a conversation with me about Catholic politics and culture was me (YES, I’ve had conversations with myself, don’t judge me, I’m part Arab, I talk to myself with my HANDS). Then suddenly Benny had to go and resign in the middle of Lent and everyone started talking about it. The media. My colleagues. My family. And even though I was still only starting to get into Catholic studies, suddenly I had an expertise. People were asking me questions about Catholicism, and in my head and on my Facebook I was correcting the bad-research errors of journalists. I’ve fantasized about becoming a Vaticanologist who’s interviewed by CNN and published on HuffPo (when I’m not working in the Jesuit Archives, of course).

Astonishingly, this trend has continued long past the conclave, long past Pope Francis’s election. Just a couple weeks ago I could sit in a waiting room and listen overhead to NPR discuss the Synod on Marriage and Family and the temporarily radical new stance the Church was taking in addressing gays and lesbians. Church politics are still relevant, and I still have things to say.

Benny started it, but now there will be many Frankie-inspired posts to come.