Statistically Ordered: Gender, Sexual Identity, and the Metaphysics of “Normal”
The recent call by Pope Francis for the church to develop a “theology of women” raises more fundamental and prior questions about the very nature of gender and sexual identity. Drawing on the metaphysics developed in Lonergan’s Insight and his heuristic structure of a scale of values found in Method in Theology, this article explores these prior questions in a way that avoids the extremes of either gender essentialism or of complete gender fluidity. It proposes a form of heteronormativity that is statistically structured allowing for a greater flexibility than suggested by gender essentialism, while still constraining the social and cultural construction of gender within certain biological realities. The authors also present Lonergan’s scale of values as a further heuristic for anticipating the force of this constraint in a differentiated way.