Journal of Religious Ethics 44 (3):495-517 (2016)

Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Deus Caritas Est continues the magisterium's twentieth-century shift from an act-oriented, procreative approach to sexual ethics to what I will term a heterosexually personalistic one. Situating a heterosexual anthropology within a heterosexual cosmology, Benedict argues that just as God loves humanity with heterosexual eros, so must human beings love each other heterosexually. Although Benedict depends upon the explanatory power of heterosexuality, he perhaps unwittingly ends up depicting God's love not as iconically heterosexual, but as queer. In casting God's love as queer, I do not, even analogously, impute to God a type of homosexuality as Benedict does a heterosexuality. Instead, by drawing attention to the discursive specificity and historical instability of both homosexuality and heterosexuality, I use “queer” to recognize God's love as beyond categorization and as strange; it cannot be corralled into or contained by the historically specific notions of heterosexual and homosexual. But this essay does not merely deconstruct Benedict's heterosexually personalistic cosmology. It uncovers in Benedict's Eucharistic transfiguration of marital love a new and promising way of situating discussions about the ethics of sex.
Keywords Thomas Aquinas  Saint Augustine  sexual ethics  queer theology  the Eucharist
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DOI 10.1111/jore.12151
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Butler Interprets Aquinas.Katie Grimes - 2014 - Journal of Religious Ethics 42 (2):187-215.
An Unequal Relationship Between Equals: Thomas Aquinas on Marriage.Colleen McCluskey - 2007 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 24 (1):1 - 18.
Desiring Foucault.Karma Lochrie - 1997 - Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 27:3-16.

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