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Walker, G. (2004). Fragments from a Journal: Reflections on Celibacy and the Role of Women in the Church. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 5(1):81-101.

(2004). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 5(1):81-101

Fragments from a Journal: Reflections on Celibacy and the Role of Women in the Church

Gillian Walker, M.S.W.

This paper argues that priestly abuse is a byproduct of the dissociation of sexuality from spiritual life and religious practice, which developed as a male, authoritarian, ecclesial administrative system evolved within Christianity. The early Church “fathers” interpreted Biblical, Gospel, and Pauline texts through misogynist/antisex lenses that legitimized an all-male, celibate priesthood; the exclusion of women from positions of administrative and sacramental power; and a misogynous view of the sexual body of women. Using the work of feminist theologian/historians, the author deconstructs the origins of what became the Catholic theology of gender and sexuality and proposes the recovery of submerged Christian traditions that see the potential of human erotic love as a spiritual path.

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