Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pittsburgh 14.6.1992: Catholics Playing Games and Scholars Marketing Themselves

CTSA: feeling, as always, what a despised outsider I am. Not feeling: knowing. My seminar group made a grant application, and Margaret O., who knew me in my graduate-school years in Toronto but persisted in calling me Hal Lindsey at this CTSA meeting, raked me over the coals re: the application. She said I had to have a set of papers ready for consideration in hand, not—as the application form clearly says—an idea to call for papers.

Then on the last day of the conference, it was announced that a grant was given to Robert S. for, well, a project in which he was calling for papers! In addition, Lisa C. told me our seminar group cannot become a permanent seminar, and she made me feel as if, in asking, I were pushing for unearned preference.

But worst of all are the little innuendoes, the sly little cuts and cold shoulders, of former classmates—Christoph P., Lou M., Mary Anne H., all laced with homophobia and the implication that I’m hypocritical, fair of face but foul of heart—that is, precisely what they are to me.

I tried to discuss the deeply inbred homophobia of CTSA with Gregory B., who of course pooh-poohed it all. In the past, I’ve always been angered and motivated to fight against the glib reduction of the insights of those unjustly excluded to psychoaberrant musings—well, they’re just paranoid, aren’t they, etc.? Now, I’m too tired.

This all sounds banal, petty, jealous. Maybe. My heart is a heart of darkness, I am quite sure. But I also anguish—at a religious level—at the injustice, at the exclusion, at the contradiction of core Catholic values. I also anguish at the thought that, in Catholic theology, it’s not scholarship or serious thought that counts. It’s ability to package oneself and appear to conform. It’s too easy to ignore the glaring reality at the bottom of it all, in these Catholic theological gatherings: gay people are expected to remain hidden, silent, to play the game of collaboration. We do not exist and will not officially exist, here.

I will not attend this meeting again. No point. Why go into a setting designed to humiliate and exclude? And all in the name of Christ?

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