“How The Catholic Church Made Me Into a Lesbian Feminist”: Elizabeth Stuart

When people ask me how I can possible remain a practicing Catholic while also being an extremely out lesbian feminist, my answer is that it was from the Catholic Church that I learn that God was a God of liberation who takes the side of the poor and oppressed. It was from the Catholic Church that I learnt that God is a god of equality and mutuality. It was from the Catholic Church that I learnt that love knows know boundaries. It was from the Catholic Church that I learnt that the church was not the pope, bishops or priests but the whole people of God, including me. It was at the Mass that I learnt that bodies are indispensable in the praise of God and that they matter. It was at the Mass that I learnt that it was quite alright for men to wear lavish frocks. At convent school I learnt that marriage and family life were not the only options for a Christian. I was introduced to a whole tradition of saints that defied the social conventions of their day and told not only that God loved them for it but that they were my friends.  It was among my Catholic friends that I first encountered liberation and feminist theology. Of course, I also learnt that the church did not live up to what it taught me, there was a slip between vision and reality and this scandalized me and still does. But the vision gave me permission to be lesbian and feminist and actually it was more than permission, in a sense it made me into those things.

Elizabeth Stuart, “Why Bother With Christianity Anyway?

in “Religion Is a Queer Thing: A Guide to the Christian Faith for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Persons

(Elizabeth Stuart, ed.)

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