"Sexual morality is the corpse in the cellar of the Church and the stench that emanates from this corpse corrupts everything else"

Theologians: Conduct gender debate in theology without reservations

Innsbruck Theological Summer Seminars this year on "Body:Gender:Sexuality as an Opportunity for Theology" - Speakers in Theopodcast: Sexual morality is "the body in the church's cellar"

Three theologians at the University of Innsbruck have spoken out in favour of a theological and also inner-church debate on the topics of sex, gender and sexuality without reservations and ideological blinkers. The moral theologians Gertraud Ladner and Angelika Walser as well as the dogmatist Nikolaus Wandinger were convinced that there is a need for more expertise on these topics within theology, a reception of the latest research results from the natural and human sciences in theological subjects as well as a disarmament of words. All three were speakers at this year's "Innsbruck Theological Summer Seminars", which took place on 4-5 September at the University of Innsbruck under the theme "Body:Gender:Sexuality as an Opportunity for Theology".

Ladner, Walser and Wandinger expressed their views in a new episode of the theology podcast "This Side of Eden" (https://diesseits.theopodcast.at/theologie-gender-geschlecht-sexualitaet). "Sexual morality is the corpse in the cellar of the church, and the stench that emanates from this corpse corrupts everything else." - It was therefore time to "give this corpse a good burial", Wandinger explained, attesting that his subject, dogmatics, had not yet sufficiently received the medical and human-scientific findings on the question of sexuality.

In moral theology, too, gender and sex are understood as "fighting terms" and not as categories of complex identity formation processes. Theology, however, cuts itself off from social debates and excludes itself from the discourse, according to Ladner and Walser. This also includes the dogmatic insistence on dual gender, which has an impact on the ecclesiological structure of the church (only men are allowed to become priests) and which contributes to making other genders invisible or "systematically excluding them", according to Walser.

On the other hand, the Church is extremely open to the body in all its stages of life and decay, said Ladner. For example, it takes on an important advocacy function for all those "bodies that are no longer functional, not beautiful, not standardised". Despite all the talk about the devaluation of women in the church, this should always be emphasised in a positive way.


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