Psychology of Religion Sexuality and Religion

Sexual Difference And The Vatican – A Lacanian Response, Part 2 (Melissa Conroy)

The following is the second of a three-part series. The first can be found here.

The current medical paradigm works to suppress and erase these bodies by allowing them to exist only after medical correction and subsequent conformity to the two-sex system. Judith Butler has observed that bodies are only allowed to “live within the productive constraints of certain highly gendered regulatory schemas” while bodies that fall outside of this norm are considered “unthinkable, abject, unlivable” (1993, xi). Medical care operates with the assumption that abnormalities must be removed in order to render these “unlivable” bodies acceptable. Julia Epstein remarks that “individuals with gender disorders are permitted to live, but the disorders themselves are rendered invisible, are seen as social stigmata to be excised in the operating room” (Hausman 1995, 75).

Versaldi and Zani’s insistence on the naturalness of the alignment of sex and gender, combined with their dismissal of bodies that do not conform to the system, suggests that this is not, as Raewyn Connell writes, “a naïve mistake about what biology can explain or not explain” but rather “a highly motived ideological practice which overrides biological facts” (1987, 246). This sentiment is stated powerfully in an interview with an intersex man: “Our lives highlight the problem that sex is really about power – it doesn’t matter how many sexes there are, the number doesn’t matter. It’s about power. And as a result of how that power is inflicted on our bodies” (Human Rights Watch, 20).

The Imaginary, the Symbolic, and Sexual Identity

In this section I explore the role vision plays in identity formation for Lacan, Versaldi, and Zani. Versaldi and Zani’s insistence on heterosexual modeling by one’s parents is based on the idea that a child must see a heterosexual family in action. Lacan’s registers of the Imaginary and the Symbolic complicate this simplistic model of seeing by separating the roles images play in an animal’s understanding of its self and the world from the human world where one’s identity is formed not through one’s family but through the register of the Symbolic.

Versaldi and Zani begin their argument by insisting on the naturalness of a heterosexual orientation. Versaldi and Zani write that the differences of male and female form a “natural reciprocity” (2019, 11), while Pope Benedict XVI describes it as a “pre-ordained” duality that “moves each one towards the other mutually” (Versaldi and Zani 2019, 19). Pope John Paul II’s use of the natural (the body and its desires) and the supernatural (the Creator) combine in his description of conjugal act: “The fact that they become one flesh is a powerful bond established by the Creator. Through it they discover their own humanity, both in its original unity, and in the duality of the mysterious mutual attraction” (1979-1984, 27).

In addition to this innate heterosexual orientation, Versaldi and Zani claim that the heterosexual relations must also be modelled by the parents within an acceptable family structure.The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines a family heterosexually: “a man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children form a family” (1993, 1882-2202). Versaldi and Zani argue that a child’s proper sexual development depends on a heterosexual marriage: “In the family, knowledge of one’s mother and father allows the child to construct his or her own sexual identity and difference” (2019, 14).  It is within the family that “children can learn how to recognize the value and the beauty of the differences between the two sexes; along with their equal dignity and their reciprocity at a biological, functional, psychological and social level” (2019, 21).

One’s sexuality, in body and mind, is seen as being tied to sexual orientation and thus to the use of one’s genitals within the procreative confines of a sanctioned union. Marriages and unions that are non-procreative or non-monogamous are seen to pose a threat to society itself. Pope Francis states firmly that “no union that is temporary or closed to the transmission of life can ensure the future of society” (2016, 41-42). Versaldi and Zani warn of the dangers of same-sex marriages and non-monogamous relationships, both of which threaten the nuclear family model and deny the child “the right to grow up and mature in a correct relationship represented by the masculinity and femininity of a father and a mother” (2019, 21). The concern for the cognitive development of children, that is the ability of children to witness “correct” sexual difference, provides one of the main reasons for why the authors stress the importance of heterosexual marriage.

While the Vatican looks to the future of society to make their argument, Lacan’s understanding of human sexual identity turns to the evolutionary past by considering the role of vision in the sexual development of animals. Lacan’s second register, the imaginary, refers to the entire realm of images that structure the creature’s relationship to itself and to its world. Lacan contends that the imaginary is key to understanding the maturation of sexual identity: “in the animal world, the entire cycle of sexual behavior is dominated by the imaginary” (1991, 138).

To demonstrate this, Lacan analyzes a study on pigeons, the basis for his theory of his most famous theory of the mirror stage. The experiment, conducted by L. Harrison Matthews, controlled for external stimuli by keeping the birds in solitary confinement for a month. Later the birds were exposed to either another pigeon or a mirror: “Two birds were confined in adjacent cages separated by a sheet of glass, and single birds were confined by themselves but provided with a mirror. The birds were thus supplied with companions to which they had no tactile access” (Matthews 1939, 557). Matthews’s data showed that while isolated female pigeons do not reach maturity while being confined, somatic change in a female pigeon’s gonads does occur if a mirror is placed in the cage. 

Like a pigeon, seeing an image of oneself plays a key role in the formation of the ego in the human being. Lacan’s theory suggests that the child, upon seeing its body reflected in a mirror, mistakes, and misrecognizes the mirror image for its self. This is Lacan’s famous mirror stage; however, its name is a misnomer: it is not a stage that we pass through, but rather it is a condition in which we live. Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit argue this persuasively when they write, “we don’t ‘move beyond’ the mirror stage; its self-misrecognition [is] the preconditions of all object relations” (1993, 156).Despite being a fictional or hallucinated image, the effects of it on the subject are quantifiable.

In experiments conducted on Macaca nemestrina, a monkey otherwise known as the southern pig-tailed macaque, Giacomo Rizzolatti and his colleagues found mirror neurons that explain the misrecognition of self with other. These are neurons that fire whether the monkey performs or observes an action. In other words, whether a monkey holds a cup or watches another (human or monkey) hold a cup, the same neuron fires. Rizzolatti concludes that “mirror neurons are neurons that internally ‘represent’ an action,” thus we learn by watching, during which our motor neurons are activated, before we learn by doing (1996, 131).  Lacan’s insight that “the sight alone of the whole form of the human body gives the subject an imaginary mastery over his body, one which is premature in relation to a real mastery” ([1975], 79) is evident in the fact that “people who merely watch others practice a particular sport actually get better at that sport” (Boyer 2001, 105).

This mimicry starts well before we kick our first ball. Neurologist V. S. Ramachandran relates the results of a study by Andrew Melzoff, a cognitive psychologist: “He found that a newborn infant will often protrude its tongue when watching its mother do it. And when I say newborn I mean it – just a few hours old. The neural circuitry involved must be hardwired and not based on associative learning” (2011, 127). Evolutionary psychologist Pascal Boyer explains this surprising phenomenon in this way: “Studies show that the brain areas that are activated when we see people’s gestures, overlap with those activated when we actually act in a similar manner. In other words, there is some part of the brain that is imagining performing the action witnessed, although the plan is not made consciously and the motor sequence is inhibited” (2001, 104-105).

The unconscious imitative function of our visual-motor system allows an individual to have an image of oneself, an idea one’s bodily outlines and potentiality for movement, or, to put it another way, one’s place in the world.

It is clear how an image of another being like oneself, whether that self is a pigeon or a human, has significant somatic effects. Lacan, however, argues that an image of oneself acquires an entirely different meaning in the human realm than in the animal realm. While asserting that the image of one’s own body “assumes enormous importance” in humans and animals, Lacan argues that they are profoundly different:

 The structuration of the world in the form of the Umwelt is accomplished through the projection of a certain number of relations, of Gestalten, which organize it, and specify it for each animal. In fact, the psychologists of animal behavior, the ethologists, define certain mechanisms of structuration, certain paths of discharge as innate in the animal. Its world is the environment in which it evolves, which weaves and separates out from the indistinctness of reality these paths which are preferred from the outset, to which its behavioral activities are committed. In man, there is nothing of the kind ([1975], 168).

Lacan sees the relationship between an animal and its world (Umwelt)as one of ideal fit. He uses the medical term “coaptation” to describe this: “In animals, knowledge is a coaptation, an imaginary coaptation” ([1975], 168). Coaptation refers to the seamless joining together of two surfaces, such as the two lips of a wound being sewn together or the fitting together of two pieces of a broken bone. Lacan argues that this “perfect fit” between the animal and its Umwelt is the result of the evolution of the animal, a situation that he does not see in the case of humans (Lacan [1975], 137). Ramachandran notices this same discrepancy between animals and humans:

A fish knows how to swim the instant it hatches, and off it darts to fend for itself. When a duckling hatches, it can follow its mother over land and across the water within moments. Foals, still dripping with amniotic fluid, spend a few minutes bucking around to get the feel of their legs, and then join the herd. Not so with humans. We come out limp and squalling and utterly dependent on round-the-clock care and supervision. We mature glacially, and do not approach anything resembling adult competence for many, many years (2011, 117).

Lacan maintains that the difference between humans and animals begins with the way the imaginary differs. The animal’s fit with their particular Umwelt is perfect while the human’s development is characterized by a marked lack of adaption because of the way the image of self is understood. When an animal, such as a pigeon, sees an image of itself or another one of its species it works to “define it as a member of a species rather than an individual” (Silverman 1996, 41).Because of this, Kaja Silverman argues it is more appropriate to call the mirror stage a “window stage” for non-human animals because the image acts “more as a window than a mirror – it opens onto the other, rather than the self” (1996, 41).

This ability to imagine ourselves in the eyes of another, is key to understanding the human subject. Lacan uses the idea of a picture to explain his understanding of self-consciousness. The picture has “the function in which the subject has to map himself” ([1973], 100). This map is what allows us to “see myself seeing myself” (Lacan [1973], 80; italics in original). Like mirror neurons that allow us to feel what another feels, it is through having a map, a picture, that allows us to imagine oneself from the point of view of another: “It is in the space of the Other that he sees himself and the point from which he looks at himself is also in that space” ([1973], 144).

Like Lacan, Ramachandran argues that this ability to imagine seeing oneself being seen is an essential component of self-consciousness: “As a collar to adopting the other’s point of view, you can also see yourself as others see you – an essential ingredient of self-awareness. This is seen in common language: When we speak of someone being “self-conscious,” what we really mean is that she is conscious of someone else being conscious of her” (2011, 128).

Lacan explains this phenomenon by relating a personal story from his youthful days spent upon a fishing vessel: “Petit-Jean pointed out to me something floating on the surface of the waves. It was a small can, a sardine can. It floated there in the sun, a witness to the canning industry, which we, in fact, were supposed to supply. It glittered in the sun. And Petit-Jean said to me – You see that can? Do you see it? Well, it doesn’t see you! ([1973], 95; italics in original).

The story of the sardine can demonstrates the consequences of being a subject in the symbolic: we realize that we are an object in others’ field of vision. We experience ourselves in a picture, an object seen by the gaze of others. Much like Michel Foucault’s discussion of the prisoners of Jeremy Bentham’s all-seeing Panopticon, Lacan’s subject is viewed by eyes that one cannot see: “I see only from one point, but in my existence I am looked at from all sides” ([1973], 72). It is for this reason that the sardine can, which is certainly without eyes, looks at Lacan all the same. Lacan observes this in his reflections on Petit-Jean’s joke: “To begin with, if what Petit-Jean said to me, namely, that the can did not see me, had any meaning, it was because in a sense, it was looking at me, all the same” ([1973], 95).

The combination of our need to both communicate with others, or as Lacan would say, to be recognized by the other, and our awareness of being watched by others, results in the symbolic order acting like a web where all meaning is determined by this dimension: “One can only think of language as a network, a net over the entirety of things, over the totality of the real. It inscribes on the plane of the real this other plane, which we here call the plane of the symbolic” (Lacan [1975], 262).

Unlike Versaldi and Zani who see sexual identity as the result of innate heterosexuality and the exposure to familial role models, Lacan argues that one’s sexual identity is neither the result of one’s body or constitution, nor is it due to one’s personal family. Sexual identity is not a component of one’s identity but rather one’s identity is formed in response to the law of sexual difference: “Everything that’s said, expressed, gestured, manifested, assumes its sense only as a function of a response that has to be formulated concerning this fundamentally symbolic relation – Am I a man or am I a woman?” (Lacan [1981], 171).

Judith Butler points out this important aspect of Lacan’s understanding of sexual identity: “over and against those who argued that sex is a simple question of anatomy, Lacan maintained that sex was a symbolic position that one assumes under the threat of punishment” (1993, 95-96). One’s sexual identity is a position that one assumes under threat in exchange for meaning. Unlike Freud, who understood the Oedipus complex as the child’s confrontation with the father over access to the mother, Lacan understood “father” and “mother” to be positions in a discourse based on the Oedipus complex. “Mother” and “father” signify cultural positions, and hence have no necessary correlation to biological realities.

In this way Lacan revised Freud’s theory of incest to become “a law governing the unconscious organization of human societies” (Roudinesco [1993], 212). It is thus understandable then, that the child’s encounter with the Name-of-the-Father has little to do with one’s actual father – “the signifier ‘father’ has no relation whatever to the physical fact of any individual father” (Silverman 1983, 164) – and everything to do with the various ways one encounters the Name-of-the-Father, that is, through “demands, taboos, sanctions, injunctions, prohibitions, impossible idealization, and threats” (Butler 1993, 106). “Father” is a signifier that is linked to other signifiers of power (such as the phallus, money, power, law) while one’s actual father simultaneously lacks these attributes and is nonetheless connected to them by virtue of being male.

Silverman contends that the “ideal father” attains institutional support not only in the patriarchal family but also in “legal, medical, religious, technological, and education systems, and the dominant political and economic organizations,” all of which work to produce and sustain patriarchal order (1983, 184). Like Louis Althusser’s subject who turns in response to the police officer who yells “Hey, you there!,” Lacan’s subject, whether father or mother, is “identified with the subject of the speech and takes his or her place in the syntax which defines the subjective position” (Silverman 1983, 215).

Unlike animal development which exists outside of the symbolic dimension of language or Versaldi and Zani’s model of human development which relies on a child watching its parents, Lacan’s theory understands how power affects the individual within the symbolic and without one’s family: to do “what one must do as a man or a woman” (Lacan [1973], 204) is to accept one’s position within the discourse of the symbolic.

The Quilting Point

Lacan’s signifiers operate like chess pieces in that they are “differential elements, in themselves without meaning, which acquire value only in their mutual relations, and forming a closed order” (Sheridan in Lacan [1973], 279). To explain how language operates, Lacan asks one to imagine two layers of discourse where the top level is the level of language without meaning, what Lacan describes as “a confused mass in which appear units, islands, an image, an object, a feeling, a cry, an appeal” ([1981], 261)

Floating beneath that is the second layer made up of streams of words, which interact and make sense only in relation to one another. These two layers are held together by the quilting point, the mechanism which stops this “otherwise indefinite sliding of signification” (Lacan [1966, 1970, 1971, 1999], 291). In the case of sexual identity, the quilting point is the Name-of-the Father.

Lacan conjures up the image of a button on a piece of furniture to emphasize the power of the quilting point: “The quilting point is the word fear, with all these trans-significant connotations. Everything radiates out from and is organized around this signifier, similar to these little lines of force that an upholstery button forms on the surface of material” ([1981], 268). The knot of force (the Name-of-the-Father) and fear (the No-of-the-Father) that ties the quilting point is the knot of castration produced by the No-of-the-Father.

Lacan turns to Freud to make this point: “Why does Freud insist on the Oedipus complex? “Why do we have here a knot that seems so essential to him that he is unable to abandon it in the slightest particular observation – unless its’s because the notion of father, closely related to that of the fear of God, gives him the most palpable element in experience of what I’ve called the quilting point between the signifier and the signified?” ([1973], 268). The Oedipus complex thus functions as a knot “instating in the subject of an unconscious position within which he could not identify with his ideal type of sex” (Lacan, [1966, 1970, 1971, 1999], 271). The father, a signifier closely related to the phallus, and thus to the power that maleness confers through association and connotation, is linked to fear, authority, and above all, the demand to conform to a binary sex system and in order to become a recognizable subject.

The relation of the father to power and authority is evident in Pope Francis’s On Love in the Family where he details the oppositional roles of the mother and the father: while the father acts as a guardian, a protector watching over his wife and children, the mother “watches over her child” and “with tenderness and compassion” providing the child with a positive environment (2016, 133). This, Pope Francis argues, in turn causes the child “to grow in confidence and to experience the world as a good and welcoming place.” The father, in contrast, has the task of teaching the child hard lessons such as “perceiving the limits of life” and understanding that the wider world has “challenges” which will require “hard work and strenuous effort” (2016, 133).

The father is described as a laborer whose efforts sustain the very existence of the family while the mother labors within her family earning “the praise of their husbands and children” (2016, 18). Complaints about this rather old-fashioned view of a woman’s labor are addressed, and subsequently dismissed, by Pope Francis: “Nowadays we acknowledge as legitimate and indeed desirable that women wish to study, work, develop their skills and have personal goals.

At the same time, we cannot give ignore the need that children have for a mother’s presence, especially in the first months of life” (2016, 131) The dangers to the child are heightened by Pope Francis’s statement on the matter: “The weakening of this maternal presence with its feminine qualities poses a grave risk to our world” (2016, 132). Pope Francis thus uses the tactic of fear-mongering by placing the very well-being of our world upon woman’s identity and place being solely within the home.

In Pope John Paul II’s discussion of the letter to the Ephesians, he expounds upon the famous lines “Wives, be subject to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife and Christ as the head of the Church, his Body, and is himself its Savior. As the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands” (5:22-24):

The husband is above all, he who loves and the wife, on the other hand, she is who is loved. One could even hazard the idea that the wife’s submission to her husband, understood in the context of the entire passage of the Letter to the Ephesians (5:21-33), signifies above all the ‘experiences of love.’ This is all the more so since this submission is related to the image of the submission of the Church to Christ, which certainly consists in experiencing his love. The Church, as bride, being the object of the redemptive love of the Christ-Bridegroom, becomes his Body. Being the object of the spousal love of the husband, the wife becomes “one flesh” with him, in a certain sense (1979-1984, 237-238).

Women are here defined as the passive beloved body while men, the head of the body, are active lovers. This active/passive binary is extended to positions of power in Pope Francis’s On Love in the Family where he expresses the need for a father’s presence as the need for his authority (Francis 2016, 134). A similar connection is clear in Versaldi and Zani’s following essentializing statement that celebrates women for their relationship to those lacking power and agency: “Women have a unique understanding of reality. They possess a capacity to endure adversity and ‘to keep life going even in extreme situations’ and hold on ‘tenaciously to the future.’ . . . We can note that women are ever ready and willing to give themselves generously to others, especially in serving the weakest and most defenseless” (2019, 10).

The relationship between a woman’s status in society and man’s authority to grant that to her is evident in the husband’s role in naming the child. In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus is introduced as “the son of David the son of Abraham” (1.1) thus emphasizing Jesus’s public identity in his world, conferred upon him by the name of his father, Joseph, himself identified in the text as “son of David” (1:20), thereby establishing the patrilineal line. This demonstrates the potential power of the No-of the-father, the power of Joseph to confer public status or shame, in the following passage:

Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus” (Mt. 19-21).

Joseph’s yes gives a name and identity to Jesus and protection to Mary from public humiliation.  Mary’s yes, the yes to bear the child of the Holy Spirit, is the submission of one’s private body to the supernatural authority of God the Father, while Joseph’s yes speaks to the natural, public, political arena. Just as the Church is redeemed by Christ, Mary is delivered from shame by Joseph. The supernatural story of marriage is repeated on the natural level where marriage, besides having a private conjugal aspect, is a public ceremony that guarantees the public worth of one’s partner: marrying another person is “to present him or her to society as someone worthy of unconditional love” (Francis 2016, 99).

Pope Francis mirrors Mary’s supernatural pregnancy to natural pregnancy by assigning authorship of the child to God, rather than the mother: “A mother joins with God to bring forth the miracle of a new life. Every child growing within the mother’s womb is part of the eternal loving plan of God the Father” (Francis 2016, 127-128). In natural and supernatural discourses, women’s access to subjecthood, authority, and authorship is only through male figures.

Bruce Lincoln’s discussion of his childhood dining room is useful in understanding the way systems of difference work. In Discourse and the Construction of Society, Lincoln analyzes the taxonomic systems that were openly at work in the seating arrangement at the Lincoln family home. Bruce, his sister, mother, and father were all “aware, and at times remarked openly, that our dining arrangement provided a convenient map of the major family subsystems, for where the table bisected vertically, adults were divided from children; horizontally, males from females” (1989, 131). Like most patriarchal nuclear families, the Lincoln family table operated on two major systems – that of age and that of gender.

These differences are more than binaries of young and old, male and female, rather, they are physical productions of ideology. The seating arrangement mirrors the power dynamics of society: “Rather, adults (i.e., those who possess the preferential age, that of majority) outranked children (those who lack it), and males (those who possess the preferential gender) outranked females. The result is a four-part hierarchic set, which in those days was commonly accepted as natural and right” (1989, 131). This hierarchy produces the system of haves and have-nots, the basis for creating the patriarchal system: “Within this system, age and gender function as taxonomizers, that is, each one establishes the basis for an act of discrimination through which all members of a given class are assigned to one of two subclasses: those who possess the trait or property in question, and those who do not” (Lincoln 1989, 133).

Melissa Conroy is Associate Professor of Religion at Muskingum University. She has been published in the Journal of Religion and Film and Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science and is currently working on a book about Jacques Lacan.


[1] Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter (New York, NY: Routledge, 1993), xi.

[2] Quoted in Bernice Hausman, Changing Sex: transsexualism, technology, and the idea of gender (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995), 75.

[3] Raewyn W. Connell, Gender and Power (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1987), 246.

[4] Human Rights Watch, 20.

[5] Versaldi and Zani, 11.

[6] Quoted in Versaldi and Zani, 19.

[7] Pope John Paul II, 27.

[8] Catechism of the Catholic Church. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1993): 1882-2202.

[9] Versaldi and Zani, 14.

[10] Ibid., 21.

[11] Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia (On Love in the Family) (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2016): 41-42.

[12] Versaldi and Zani, 21.

[13] Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: Book I: Freud’s Papers on Technique 1953-1954, trans.  John Forrester, ed. Jacques Alain-Miller, (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1991), 138.

[14] Leonard Harrison Matthews, “Visual Stimulation and Ovulation in Pigeons,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences, 557-560 (1939): 557.

[15] Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit, Arts of Impoverishment: Beckett, Rothko, Resnais (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 156.

[16] Giacomo Rizzolatti et al, “Premotor cortex and the recognition of motor actions,” Cognitive Brain Research 3 (1996): 131-141.

[17] Jacques Lacan 1991, 79.

[18] Pascal Boyer, Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2001), 105.

[19] V.S. Ramachandran, The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011), 127.

[20] Boyer, 104-105.

[21] Lacan 1991, 168.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid., 137.

[24] Ramachandran, 117.

[25] Kaja Silverman, The Subject of Semiotics (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1983), 41.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Lacan 1998, 100.

[28] Ibid., 80 (emphasis in original).

[29] Ibid., 144.

[30] Ramachandran, 128.

[31] Lacan 1998, 95 (emphasis in original).

[32] Ibid., 72.

[33] Ibid., 95.

[34] Lacan 1991, 262.

[35] Lacan 1997, 171.

[36] Butler 1993, 95-96.

[37] Elisabeth Roudinesco, Jacques Lacan, Trans. Barbara Bray, (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1997), 212.

[38] Silverman, 164.

[39] Butler 1993, 106.

[40] Silverman, 184.

[41] Ibid., 215.

[42] Lacan 1998, 204.

[43] Sheridan in Lacan 1998, 279.

[44] Lacan 1997, 261.

[45] Jacques Lacan, Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, Trans. Bruce Fink in collaboration with Héloïse Fink and Russell Grigg, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006), 291.

[46] Lacan 1997, 268.

[47] Lacan 1998, 268.

[48] Lacan 2006, 271.

[49] Pope Francis, 133.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid., 18.

[52] Ibid., 131.

[53] Ibid., 132.

[54] Pope John Paull II, 237-238.

[55] Pope Francis, 134.

[56] Versaldi and Zani, 10.

[57] Pope Francis, 99.

[58] Ibid., 127-128.

[59] Lincoln, 131.

[60] Ibid., 131.

[61] Ibid., 133.

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