|Published March 2012|
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|Why should a faithful lay Catholic resist the official
teaching of the Church in the matter of homosexuality? If sexuality were
some minor technical concern, then the role of a lay Catholic would be
to accept the official line of the Magisterium and to get on with their
life. However, sexuality can not be dismissed as insignificant, as the
Vatican itself admits. Moreover, it is the battle ground upon which the
Curia has chosen to fight a last stand against Modernity. Hence, it is
necessary to take a stand on this question as a matter of “hungering and
thirsting for justice.”
It is generally assumed by commentators that in the conflict over homosexuality the sides are well drawn up and that the alliances are clear. On the one hand is ranged the Pope and Curia, Social Conservatism, Sexual Repression, Church Tradition and Orthodoxy; while on the other is ranked Secularism, Progressivism, Social Diversity, Dissent and Enlightenment. One aim of this book is to show that this is not the case and that it is not necessary to adopt a progressivist mentality in order to defend homosexuals against the charge of immorality typically laid against them.
This book is proposed as both as a resource to gay Catholics,
so that they are better able to defend themselves against the ignorant
attacks of those who seek to vilify them, and also to those in authority
in the Church who wish to study the subject dispassionately so as to inform
their conscience on the matter.
|Chapters 1 to 3 consider love, sexuality, marriage and
family in general, so as to provide a context for subsequent discussion.
Reference is made to John Paul II’s “The Theology of the Body” and to “New
Natural Law Theory”. Chapter 4 presents various ideas, attitudes
and facts about homosexuality in order to establish what is at stake.
Chapters 5 to 9 comment on the Biblical texts which are commonly thought to condemn homosexuality. These are shown to be ambiguous at best and plausibly to have no bearing on contemporary homosexuality. Chapter 10 highlights those less known texts which seem to favour homosexuality.
Chapters 11 to 16 present what Catholic Tradition has to say about the subjects of sex, marriage, eroticism and homosexuality. Saints Augustine, Leo, Chrysostom, Aquinas and Aelred feature strongly. Chapters 17 and 18 critique the official teaching of the Catholic Church regarding love, sex, contraception and homosexuality.
Chapter 19 presents a positive theology of sex, based on the idea that eroticism is potentially a means of grace. Chapter 20 discusses how a gay Catholic ought to approach the Sacrament of Penance. Chapter 21 is a compilation of heart-felt testimonies of gay Catholic laity and clergy.
|"I haven't been able to put down
your book since it arrived. I think it probably one of the best I have
ever read on the subject. As well as having my clergy read it, I am going
to suggest to our Education Committee that it be added to our curriculum
for future seminarians.Thank you for a job very well done."
[Bishop John Bell]
|"Hi Stephen, your book arrived
this morning and I've not been able to put it down. A fascinating and enlightening
read so far"
I would like to use this book as a reference work in apologetics and catechesis. I find it odd that so many catholic laymen see clearly what the clergy don't see, and you seem to be the most articulate exponent of that vision. Gay people would be the most loyal and orthodox members of the Church, what a sin that the Church rejects us.
You have the patience of Job, the sharpness of mind and the deepness of thought of the kind of philosopher and theologian that I once thought gone for good from the Catholic intelligentsia. [A Catholic priest]
I must say that what you write is very well thought out and interesting. I can't say that I agree with every conclusion, but that isn't the point. [A Doctor of Divinity]
|Thank you for your beautiful understanding
of Tradition. I am very much in a agreement with you. I tend to think of
tradition as the lived experience of the gospel through the ages. It is
the womb that carries the Word and gives it birth in every age and era.
It is the conversation of believers moving in the procession of time towards
As such, I believe you are right in saying that its truth is only later discerned. It takes time for the dross removed, and gold to be refined. Our great councils (and many of our local councils) give expression to that truth. They are often the distillation of the lived tradition as it unfolded. They also help discern what in the tradition is valid and what was not. But they are not The Tradition, only a part of it. [A Catholic priest]
|I am delighted by both your gay
and traditional Catholic themes, as well as by the clear and eloquent manner
in which you explain and explore philosophical and theological ideas. It's
wonderful to see someone working out the ideas and implications of all
these ideas, without acrimony, and with a sense of love and truth, especially
in regards to the love and truth of Christ and the Church.
Your many citations of great writers,
theologians, and the Fathers are lovely, rich, and rewarding. I wish I
could take all your information in your work and use it for continued education
for many people here. As you yourself well know, the gay versus Christian
controveries are fueled by ignorance and lack of charity on both sides:
and in a liberal community like Seattle, the ignorance and lack of charity
is chiefly on the gay side, which so loathes Christianity that dialogue
is nearly impossible.
|My father is a social historian,
and one of the things I've learned through observing his researches is
that people don't have good memories for "the way things used to be" when
that goes back more than Fifty years. As a result, they tend to assume
that "the way things are" is "the way things have always been", even when
the current age is an anomaly. I've come to think this applies to Christian
attitudes to homosexuality. It's not been uniformly disapproved of since
the very beginning; its status has wavered and dipped and risen over the
centuries, and the reasons for condemning it or justifying it have changed
as our understanding of the world and God has improved.
Thank you again for what you have
done. Your account of the matter is impressive. Reading your work has been
illuminating, thought-provoking and encouraging. Blessings upon you!
|Thanks for what you've written,
your work is such a gift to gay Catholics like me who are strugling with
being both and not becoming crazy while trying to do so. Just knowing there
are others in a situation similar to mine is such a relief. You`re a beacon
of hope and joy.
Most of my gay or gay-friendly friends are not very religious so they just don`t undestand me much; and the ones who are - well they tend to prefer protestantism so they can avoid coping with the Magisterium and all the problems associated with being a healthy gay person and the existence of a hierarcht that condems one for being so! [A Catholic layman]
|I am a 20 year old junior majoring
in Social Work.
I applaud your work, with its excellent resources attempting to bring together the seemingly conflicting elements of Catholicism and homosexuality. As a bisexual Catholic, of a traditionalist bent, I understand all too well the problems that you decry in the Church in the post VII era. At times I feel as if I should discard it all, alas, I am forever drawn to the sacraments, from which I draw sustenance and meaning to this every dreary and demoralizing existence. [A Catholic layman]
|I'm currently having a little trouble
"swallowing" certain Church teachings concerning sexual orientation, contraceptive
use, gender roles... I guess all-in-all, I'm having issues with the
Church's constant obsession with sex. Your work is very informative. Prior to reading it, I had never seen such a robust body of church history, tradition, sacred scripture, and philosophical commentary concerning homosexuality and Catholicism. Excellent work! You've done a great service to young LGBT Catholics, such as myself, struggling to reconcile our God-given natures with our God-given faith. Thank You!!!
[A Catholic layman]
|While I'm not of one accord with some of your arguments, on the whole you present an intelligent and wide-encompassing view of Catholicism and homosexuality. I'm a 21 year old, queer Catholic living in a university town within America's Bible Belt; many of your comments are particularly pertinent to my parish as I constantly see debates and debaucles between "conservatives" and "liberals" or "orthodox" and "heretics" as some put it. I hope your voice finds its way to more ears needing to hear a little more reason. [A Catholic layman]|
|I'm a Catholic lesbian, 23 this
August. I'm still in University and while I'm interested in theology, I'm
not very well-schooled in it. My training has been largely in the fine
arts (literature and theatre), and I've only taken one philosophy class
during my entire university career. I want to thank you for providing such
a wonderful resource to LGBT Catholics.
I feel great hope when reading your
work - especially as I have spent the last four years of my life feeling
on some level that I had to choose between my faith and a full expression
of my sexuality. I am, slowly but surely and not without much fear, beginning
to realize that I may be wrong.
|The chapter about Reconciliation
and it really helped me with something I started worrying about recently.
I'm going through RCIA and I was excited about Confession a while ago,
but more recently I was starting to wonder what the point of it was, like
why is it so important that I have to wait, and if I should tell my priest
who I don't know very well, that I'm a lesbian. After reading your advice,
I'm deciding to hold back on that for now, so at least I'm not worrying
about it anymore.
[A woman converting to Catholicism]
|I was most impressed with your thorough disection of the passage in Leviticus in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, especially since neither theology nor linguistics is your profession! I am a language teacher and I know how easily words can be misinterpreted in the context in which they are used, and how some words can have multiple meanings depending on their placement in a sentence and the endings that indicate gender and number... I don't know Latin, Greek or Hebrew at all, but no matter, the concept of the way that different nuances in languages affect meaning helped me to follow along what you were explaining. I found it utterly fascinating. [A Catholic layman]||You are, I think, very wise to
describe the situation as a war between two huge armies, one demanding
complete sexual tolerance, the other pharisaically repressing everything
it does not feel happy with. Neither side believes either in charity or
I am having to read other books
about current moral theology on sex at the moment. It is depressing work,
full of non-sequiturs, unjustified assumptions and unwarranted inferences.
I could the more easily criticize your views if I could as yet see that
the other established theories were absolutely coherent and correct. As
it is I fear the whole structure needs rebuilding.