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My name is Sara Manzoni and I'm Italian.

While reading an essay by a theologian, I found this sentence:

"It is inadequate to say that we are working full-time to Rouen out our understanding of what a loving family is."

Could you please explain to me what does "Rouen" mean in this sentence?

Thank you very much.

Sara Manzoni


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Feb 25, 2006
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It looks as if it's either some kind of transcription error, and should be (I'd guess) "to iron out", or it's a pun on "iron" and "Rouen". I haven't been able to discover any obvious connection between Rouen and the idea of a loving family. There is a tradition in Rouen that, on Ascension Day, the archbishop can pardon a convicted murderer held within the jurisdiction of the city, if that's of any help.


Harmless drudge
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Jul 29, 2006
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:up: They sound like good ideas to me. Another possibility is that 'Rouen out' means 'eradicate by means of misinformation and tyrannical/draconian/inhumane punishment' as that's what happened to Joan of Arc at Rouen in 1431 ( Rouen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ). But I don't see what that interpretation could have to do with a 'loving family' - unless the reference is an ironical one to the Church (sometimes referred to as 'Holy Mother Church') - some of whose practitioners believed that burning at the stake was merciful.

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Jan 4, 2008
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Mmm... Maybe I should add information. The essay is about lesbians facing the loss of custody of their children due to their coming out, and the difficulties experienced by the theologian in counselling these women.

This is the paragraph containing that sentence:

"In many states coming out will result in unfavorable custody decisions. Being in the closet, especially while in a relationship, causes the psychic suffocation we have all felt at one point or another.
To say that one chooses the lesser of two evils is to offer little counsel in this situation. Equally, it is inadequate to say that we are working full-time to Rouen out our understanding of what a loving family is, that we are trying to change laws and interpretations of laws so that being lesbian will not mean automatic loss of custody. This is a long-term response to a short-range problem."

I think "iron out" could be a solution, but it looks a weak expression to me in this context, described by the theologian as "agony".
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