C The Trinity and ecclesiology

Difference, thought theologically, is rooted in the difference of hypostasis in the Trinity; the operation of God in the world opens up the recognition

77 The wounded body of Christ, even following the resurrection, can perhaps be understood theologically in terms of a love that cannot operate beyond the violences which are the necessary consequence of the forced relations within which all objects and actions participate. Irigaray's insistence on the primordiality of sexual difference, while still wishing to envisage a utopian marriage, also recognises that the body will always bear its scars. Love can only be operative where there is incompleteness.

of differences-in-relation that is foundational for the sociality of the Church. It is in and through the movement of these relations that salvation announces itself. In thinking this trinodal relation in the wake of Irigaray's work, salvation is not the overcoming of difference, but its celebration. The perichoretic circle of love in and through difference — which is the model for the operation of the Trinitarian dunamis in Origen, Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine — offers us a model that has affinities with the spiritual economy of desire as outlined by Irigaray. For love, as the nature of and the creative mechanism for salvation, can only function through the recognition of difference-in-relation. The interdependence of love, faith and hope is manifest in desire that births a faith that cannot but hope. And hope reaches eschatologically towards the perfection of love — the abandonment to difference-in-relation as such.78 There is no immanent trinity that is not economic — the Godhead holds nothing back in its desire for what it has created. Our experience of salvation in the created order, as Mary and Thomas show us, is always an experience of what Irigaray terms sensible transcendence, a sexuate divinity.

Having examined sexual difference with respect to Christology, at this point we might raise questions Irigaray raises: 'It is true that Christianity tells us that God is three persons, three manifestations, and that the third stage of the manifestation occurs as a wedding between the spirit and the bride. Is this supposed to inaugurate the divine for, in, with women? The female? ... We have no female trinity.'79 Let us put to one side the suggestions of modalism; the point raised concerns the 'hom(m)osexuality' and the 'hom(m)osociality' of the Christian Trinity. But this is where Irigaray herself needs a better grounding in the tradition and a more self-reflexive understanding of the symbolics of sexuality that she has advocated. As Balthasar writes: 'the only word that can indicate this act whereby the Father is the origin, without having any origin himself, is love'.80 To return Balthasar's suggestion to Irigaray's questions, love deconstructs the 'hom(m)osexual' representations of the Trinity — for otherness and difference are necessary for the operation of love to proceed. Insofar as female/feminine in Irigaray's thinking moves between the poles of sex and gender and offers a phenome-nological description of an alternative understanding of sexuality then alterity is as constitutive of the Trinity as it is of male—female economies of desire. The Trinity requires then a 'female' as well as a 'male' principle.

78 See chapter 3 of my Cultural Transformation and Religious Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2004), for an account of transformative practices of hope.

79 Sexes and Genealogies, pp. 62—3.

80 Explorations in Theology: Creator Spiritus, p. 105.

Balthasar writes: 'The masculine and the feminine in the Church are universally feminine under the masculine element of Christ, but Christ's submissiveness in his relationship to the Father through the Holy Spirit is in turn (supra-)feminine.'81 I can understand Christian feminists wanting no part in an idiom that aligned femininity with submission. Furthermore, if we were to continue and deepen the dialogue between Irigaray's sexuate metaphysics and Balthasar's theology then the logic of Balthasar's vindication of an exclusive male priesthood would have to be examined.82 But an exploration of the relationship between kenosis, love, difference-in-relation and the Trinity might provide a model for a Trinity and therefore the operations of a God who offered a transcendental horizon for both male and female subjectivity.83 Submission might then be read, in such an exploration, as expressing the active pursuit of obedience to Christ, of being (in Althusser's language) 'interpellated' by Christ — an 'interpellation' that all Christians must respond to, desirously.

This needs to be examined further, partly by thinking through sexual difference in terms of ecclesiology — the Church constituted and perpetuated through sexual difference as the body of Christ. This would require the articulation of not just an alternative Christological emphasis, but a pneu-matological one: an epistemology of embodiment situated within a theology of desire that moves through God and creation while only made possible by the spaces opened up between us. Pneumatology would then articulate what Derrida, describing deconstruction, calls 'a certain aporetic experience of the impossible'.84 That is, 'the experience of aporia ... as endurance or as passion'.85 Irigaray posits the possibility of 'God subtending the interval, pushing the interval toward and into infinity. The irreducible. Opening up the universe and all beyond it. In this sense, the interval would produce place.'86 I suggest this is where theological investigation, that takes Irigaray's analysis of sexuate nature seriously, will begin and end.

82 Daphne Hampson draws critical attention to Balthasars Vatican-sponsored document, 'The Christian and Chastity', tr. John Riches in Elucidations (London: SPCK, 1975), supporting the Vatican's statement on why women cannot be ordained priests, in her Theology and Feminism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990), p. 67.

83 I explore this further in chapter seven, pp. 183—218.

84 Aporias, tr. Thomas Dutoit (Stanford University Press, 1993), p. 15.

86 An Ethics of Sexual Difference, p. 48.

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