Talking to the Bishop

I have a recurring fantasy at the moment. There will be a fringe meeting with a Roman Catholic bishop at Yearly Meeting. I think of quoting some of his catechism on us queers at him, then saying something like, if you are not doing all you can to get this evil rubbish expunged from your religion, then you are responsible for the suicides it causes.


Considering such an encounter, normally I would repeat my question many times beforehand, to get it as elegant and expressive as possible, but here I just express my bitterness and vitriol. The bishop shrinks, as with Alice’s Drink-me, and I stamp on him then scuff my shoe repeatedly over him until he is just a smear on the floor-tiles.

Hazel quoted the Gospel of Thomas: Jesus said: if you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. That translation is in Elaine Pagels‘ book; it makes it accessible and pungent. These scholarly translations do not bring out that meaning so clearly. It could be true, though.

I might go to Jamie Catto’s workshop at the weekend. Oh God, not more personal growth. At his TEDx talk, he gave this exercise: think of a person you detest, and one word to describe what you loathe about them. You are projecting. Label yourself with that word and act it out. Mmm. Arrogant. Camp. Striking. Forceful. Loud. I am feminine– soft, gentle, peaceful, and recognising that was the great gift of the Essence process, but I should not imagine I am consistent, at least until I can express myself. There may be consistency, beauty, whatever there, eventually, but I should not think that I can imagine what it would be. I do not know where I am going, or I would be there already.

1000 Voices speak for compassion is on about Nurturing atm. I suppose I will stick this on their link. I am nurturing myself. If you ask me about it, I make myself as unattractive as I can imagine possible- while still being me. You do not nurture if you want me to pretend to be otherwise, or if you simply want a quick whizz of feeling good about yourself by chucking me a crumb of niceness.  Here am I in my messy glory. And finally, a Koan.

I do not know where I am going, or I would be there already.
I know where I am going. I am there already.

How profound is that?
Nigeria, Ejagham headdress

2 thoughts on “Talking to the Bishop

  1. Hi Clare

    I don’t have any strong views on the Catholic Churches sexual guidance. And yes my lust has exceeded its bounds – if anyone thinks theirs hasn’t then they likely don’t know the Churches boundaries. But I am not angry for them reaching the conclusions that they did. It seems to me when it comes to sexual matters we all might draw lines at different places. I have never been angry at or thought someone was wicked just because they did not draw the same line I do. The church has always drawn strict lines.

    Do you think anyone’s sexual preferences are disordered? Do you think the lines on what sexual conduct is permissible for Christians are easy to draw?


    • Their line for gay people is celibacy. Their line for trans people is “Don’t”. Then they start blathering on about “mortal sin” and “Hell”. This causes such self-doubt that people kill themselves, and parents reject their children. An American RC bishop, indeed, said that the parent must.

      The lines are arbitrary, from the church. In mediaeval times, they said that a man should not have sex with his wife in Lent or Advent or on Fridays.

      The Church position would merely be silly, but for the harm it causes.


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