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Walker, G. (2004). Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Constructing the Celibate Priest. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 5(1):233-257.

(2004). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 5(1):233-257

Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Constructing the Celibate Priest

Gillian Walker, M.S.W.

This paper looks at the way sexual teachings and power transactions are interconnected, so that misogyny, homophobia, and a penitential code regulating sexuality enforced through confession provide the scaffolding for a hierarchical system, run by celibate males. It is a system that feminist theologian Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (1999) has termed “Kyriarchy” or “the rule of the emperor/master/lord/father/husband over his subordinates” (p. 114). The paper reviews the historical evolution of the Church's teachings on sex and gender that have not only created the context for the recent pedophilia scandal, but, have pervaded Western thinking about these matters.

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