chapter  7
20 Pages

POPULAR ANTI-THEOLOGIES OF LOVE

We are referring here to the body, but not just to anybody, because we want to refer to the body in love, which has been notoriously absent in theology. Christian theology has been and still is a theology of controlling the love for other’s bodies, but we are now aware (particularly under the current globalisation processes) of the extent to which the sexual integrity of the poorest of the poor is being undermined politically and theologically today. Germaine Greer has made this point in relation to the control of fertility in the exploited nations, and Susan Dowell, commenting on this in the context of her study on monogamy and Christianity adds that the sacramental Christian dimension of our sexual lives lies not in particular imperial Christian teachings, but in the sacramentality of honouring the ordinariness of sexual lives (Dowell 1990: 196). This highlighting of the ‘ordinariness’ of love and sexuality as done in a materialist theological framework belongs to the order of Others. This is an order of many people’s everyday lives which gets lost when we do our arithmetic of the

body in Christian theology, for instance, when recounting how many times the word ‘body/ies’ appears in theological discourse, such as the body of Christ, the body of the church and its tension with the discourse from the academic theological body (as bodies in opposition). Dogmatics is the Christian Corpus (literally Christian Body; in Spanish it is Cuerpo Dogmático) which organises the relationships between the divine body of knowledge that theologians have and the body of the community. Those bodies are organised, regulated, redeemed or condemned in a permanent theological discourse of bodies in loving relationships. However, as the Brazilian theologian Jaci Maraschin once suggested, these theological bodies have usually been bodies without flesh, without bones or brains, bodies without nervous systems or blood (Maraschin 1986: 27-8) – and, we may add, bodies without menstruation or sweat or without malnutrition and bodies without sexual relationships. Moreover, as Richard Collier has argued, heterosexuality has not been analysed within political and social theory as a ‘historically, culturally specific given concept’ (Collier 1999: 43). Thus Latin American Political Theology has been ignorant of the non-heterosexual body and non-heterosexual loving patterns of relationships which exist outside that theology of relationships from the centre which has become normative. If that theology has privileged in its discourse a grounding of its reflections on the perspective of the poor, the perspective has been a limited one, namely that of heterosexual bodies in (ideal heterosexual) relationships.