Friday, September 9, 2016

Michel Serres on gay marriage: "The whole Catholic hierarchy should reread the Gospel according to Luke"

 Pierre Joris

Pierre Joris's blog Nomadics is always a wonderful place to discover and revisit to reassure the reader there is entertaining writing on the internet if you know where to look in its endless hall of mirrors. Joris -- an educator, author, translator, raconteur and dapper dresser (not necessarily in that order) posts items of great interest to the academic and the amateur alike -- a trick very few can manage with Joris's wit and style.

He enjoys posting the work of others he finds illuminating, especially in translation, and which otherwise would go unnoted. Here, for example, is a recent contribution that bears on Biblical interpretation, marriage relationships, the structure of the family, and the  debate in France about gay marriage. The quote is by French philosopher Michel Serres, who takes an interesting path getting to his eminently logical conclusion.

The logic must have worked: France became the thirteenth nation to legalize same-sex marriage on May 18, 2013.

Nomadics is worth a regular browse for anyone interested in literature, language, poetics, and travel.

Michel Serres
Our friend Cathie Fournier Facebook-forwarded a lovely quote by French philosopher Michel Serres, which I thought would be worthwhile to English. I don’t know the context in which he said or wrote it, except that the French parliament is discussing gay marriage right now! Here it is:
“This question of gay marriage interests me, given the answer the ecclesiastical hierarchy brings to it. Since the first century after Jesus-Christ, the model of the family has been that of the church, that of the Holy Family.
But let us examine the Holy Family. In the Holy Family, the father is not the father: Joseph is not Jesus’ father. The son is not the son: Jesus is the son of God, not the son of Joseph. Joseph, he has never made love to his wife. Concerning the mother, she is the mother indeed, but she is a virgin. The Holy Family, that’s what Levi-Strauss called the elementary structure of kinship. A structure that breaks completely with ancient genealogy, based until then on filiation: one is Jewish through the mother. There are three types of filiation: natural filiation, recognition of paternity and adoption. In the Holy Family, what is blocked is both natural filiation and recognition; only adoption remains.
Thus, since the Gospel according to Luke, the Church proposes as model for the family an elementary structure based on adoption: it is no longer a question of making children, but of choosing oneself, to the point where we are parents, you will be parents, father and mother, only if you say to your child “I have chosen you,” “I adopt you because I love you,” “ it is you I wanted.” And reciprocally, the child also chooses his parents because he loves them.
Thus to me the position of the Church concerning homosexual marriage is perfectly mysterious: this problem was solved some 2000 years ago. I suggest that the whole Catholic hierarchy should reread the Gospel according to Luke. Or to convert.”

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