|previous article in this issue||next article in this issue|
Document Details :
Title: The Gender Question in Amoris Laetitia
Subtitle: An Asian Feminist-Queer Appraisal
Author(s): BONG, Sharon A.
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 28 Issue: 1 Date: 2022
The article offers a critique of the gender ideologies that are intrinsic to the joy of love in families that is celebrated in Amoris Laetitia, aimed at enabling us to work towards a deeper relationality that is founded on mutuality, reciprocity, justice, and love. Deploying gender as an analytical category involves a feminist and queer framework. The former potentially makes visible the ways in which Amoris Laetitia resonates with yet departs from feminist discourse and practice on women’s bodies, rights, and agency, with particular regard to the disproportionate impact of gender-based discrimination and violence that are prevalent not only in homes but also the church. A queer discourse and practice make visible the extent to which the church is cognisant of the spectrum of human sexuality, yet falls short of a deep affirmation of the dignity of non-heteronormative persons and the fecundity of relationships that they naturally yearn for and engage in. The author contends that privileging feminist and queer standpoints is thus not only a political but also moral imperative, as is privileging the voices of Asian theologians and lay faithful. The article is structured as follows. The first section, 'Resonances', foregrounds instances where the fruits of gender ideologies in the name of feminism are positively albeit cautiously received by Pope Francis, whose attitude towards gender ideology is, at best, lukewarm. The second section, 'Resistances', reviews gender ideologies that are negatively received, in the name of the Father, in defence of the church’s teachings with regard to sexual differences, sex education, and same-sex unions. The author concludes by offering a feminist-queer reading of Amoris Laetitia’s 'law of gradualness' in bridging the gap between aspiration and reality. To what extent may the 'law of gradualness' that is intended for the lay faithful who have deviated from the straight (and narrow) path be applied to those offering pastoral care and holding positions of power? She posits that a concerted and collective process of discernment potentially leads to a conversion of hearts.