Friday 13 August 2010

John McNeill: Theology of Fallibility

Fr John McNeill is a renowned pioneer in the field of gay and lesbian theology. A Jesuit priest, he refused to be silenced after attempts by the Vatican to stop him writing the truth as he saw it on theology and Scripture concerning gay men and lesbians. He was forced out of the Jesuits, but has continued to publish important books, to work as a renowned psychotherapists, and to write a valuable blog, "Spiritual Transformations". There, he has a number of important posts for queer Catholics. This is the opening of the first in a series called "The Theology of Fallibilitity" - a major theme in Fr McNeill's work.

A theology of fallibility lies at the heart of Jesus' teaching. That theology was a major part of Jesus' message at the last supper as recounted in the gospel according to John. This theology has enormous implications of the structure of the Church that claims to be based on the teaching of Jesus. In my next three blogs I will deal with this theology and its implications.

The themes of this series of blogs is dealt with in a fuller way in my book , Freedom,Glorious Freeedom: The Spiritual Journey to the Fullness of Life for Gays, Lesbians and Everybody Else.
What is Maturity?
A healthy maturing process is the process by which we separate off from our dependence on parents, family and religious authorities and become autonomous adults, make our own choices and take responsibility for them. Maturity is defined as the ability to live one's life according to one's own insights and feelings and no longer live in a continuous effort to meet the expectation of others. Theologian Sebastian Moore even goes so far as to write that "living your life to meet the expectations of others" is a form of sin. On both the psychological and spiritual levels, maturity means the ability to discern what is the true self and to find the courage to act out that true self.
God blessed us with fallible parents, It was precisely where our parents were wrong that allowed us to separate off from them. Had they been infallible it would have beem close to impossible for us to mature into autonomous and responsibile adults.

Books by Fr John McNeill:

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