Catholic Figures, Queer Narratives by Lowell Gallagher, Frederick S. Roden, Patricia Juliana Smith

By Lowell Gallagher, Frederick S. Roden, Patricia Juliana Smith

This new quantity of essays examines the connection among Catholicism and homosexuality. Why did such a lot of literary Modernists embody Catholicism? what's their courting among ancient homophobia and modern struggles among the Church and the gay? relocating from the Gothic to the past due Twentieth-century, from Britain to the United States and France, Catholic Figures, Queer Narratives interrogates what's queer approximately Catholicism and what's smooth approximately homosexuality. the result's an intensive revision of the sacred - in existence and paintings, the physique and devotion.

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First, in Anglo-Protestant North America and England, membership in the Roman Catholic communion was always already perceived as anti-social and deviant and thus served as a “subtle antinomianism” for the sexual dissident. Similarly, in post-revolutionary and modernist continental Europe, Catholicism was intellectually suspect. Thus conversion to Catholicism provided an emblem or objective correlative of secret perversion. Second, Catholic theology and sacramental practices enabled a paradoxical maintenance of the contradictions in sexual dissidence and in a perverse way fostered sexual promiscuity.

Second, Catholic theology and sacramental practices enabled a paradoxical maintenance of the contradictions in sexual dissidence and in a perverse way fostered sexual promiscuity. The anonymous confessional offered absolution for sexual sins, provided that one was not “living in sin” (and thus failing to demonstrate contrition). To follow these two hunches, I will situate these conversions along a continuum, at one end the flight from the material into a transcendental signifier, and, at the other end, transcendence by immersion in material signification.

These issues lead to the conflicts found in the writings of Julien Green, the American author who was born in France in 1900 and died there in 1997. Green’s oeuvre is the subject of Thomas Armbrecht’s essay that appropriately concludes the volume. Green’s struggle between his acknowledged homosexual desire and his professed (and converted) Roman Catholicism shows the direction modern homosexuality takes. Green represents the full flowering of a homosexual Catholic sensibility – which finally chooses chastity.

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