Contains 25 separate articles of fresh angles on the question of homosexuality within the Catholic doctrine and role of the Catholic Church. The contributors are Catholics themselves and I personally did not feel a strong bias or militant agenda either way when reading this. Indispensable for any academic study/essays on the topic.
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A SERIES OF ARTICLES COMMENTING ON THE CONTROVERSIAL 1986 VATICAN PASTORAL LETTER21 Feb. 2014
Steven H Propp
- Published on Amazon.com
Jeannine Gramick (born 1942) is a Catholic religious sister and leading advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, as well as (with Robert Nugent) a co-founder of "New Ways Ministry" to such persons. In 1999, The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) declared the work contained "grave doctrinal error" and ordered her and Nugent to stop their ministry with the gay and lesbian community. Then in 2000, her religious community ordered her to stop speaking on LGBT issues, so she transferred to the Sisters of Loretto, which supports her continuing ministry. [Nugent, by contrast, accepted the silencing; he died in January 2014.] She is the author or coauthor of other books such as Homosexuality in the Priesthood and the Religious Life, Homosexuality and the Catholic Church, Voices of Hope: A Collection of Positive Catholic Writings on Gay & Lesbian Issues, etc. ["Pat Furey" is a pseudonym for a "Catholic educator."]
Gramick notes in her Introduction to this 1988 book that since the 1986 Vatican "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," "Dignity chapters in more than a dozen cities have been expelled from Catholic facilities... In the meantime, although the dust has settled somewhat on the controversies generated by the letter, the dialogue is by no means ended... However, as John Quinn points out in his opening contribution... there are doctrinal affirmations in the Vatican letter and there are affirmations that pertain more or less to the realm of social commentary. Many of the chapters of this book deal with the latter... Other contributors suggest... that even the doctrinal affirmations are not immune from dissent and development... several contributors focus on the letter's pastoral implications... These articles are meant to be a contribution to the lively debate about homosexuality that has been taking place in Catholic circles for many years... For those of us in the Christian and Catholic traditions, the accepted wisdom exerts a strong and powerful influence. A questioning of this wisdom can serve both to clarity and to reinforce the tradition but also to modify and develop it."
Quinn notes, "the document affirms the spiritual and human dignity of the homosexual PERSON while placing a negative moral judgment on homosexual ACTS and a negative philosophical judgment on the homosexual INCLINATION or orientation, which it clearly states is not a sin or moral evil." (Pg. 17)
Another essayist points out that "none of the many biblical references to Sodom mentions homosexual practices as the cause of the city's downfall. These later passages depict Sodom as a symbol of utter destruction and its sin as one of great magnitude, but 'pride,' 'complacency,' 'arrogance,' and 'barbarity' are more typical descriptions of the sin (Ezek 16:49, Is 3:9). The biblical authors held strong and varying opinions on the sin of Sodom, but none of them equated that sin with homosexual practices." (Pg. 33) He adds, "while it is clear that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 do condemn homosexual activity among males, it is also clear that such behavior was condemned because of its perceived association with peoples and practices the Jews found reprehensible and threatening. It was most particularly associated with idolatry and cultic impurity." (Pg. 37)
Gramick states in an essay, "Lesbian and gay Catholics, privately and publicly, have called the Vatican letter disgusting and vile. Many have left the Church because of it. One young gay seminarian formerly assumed that some deep truth could be garnered from 'the cultural and religious accretions of Vatican documents on sexuality,' but he now believes the writers to be so totally disconnected from human reality that such pronouncements themselves must be judged as objectively disordered." (Pg. 96)
Another essayist suggests, "The wisdom that is to be found in this letter, in my view, appears in number 12: 'Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life.' Once again that sets the task: to become clear about what the virtue of chastity requires within the givens of one's history, culture, and individual life situation. As a virtue for all Christians, it has never identified with abstinence from all sexual activity. Chastity is a matter of grace and conscience, not law." (Pg. 169)
Regardless of one’s views on the 1986 letter, these comments on it are “must reading” for anyone studying the issue of Catholicism and homosexuality.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A seminal text in this area.17 Nov. 2004
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Grammick and Furey's The Vatican and Homosexuality is one of the key seminal texts that every person should read, in order to understand the Catholic Church views on Homosexuality and from it, where the Church's views on HIV/AIDS and their entire theological stance eminate. For their work with people living with HIV/AISA and their work with the dispossessed and marginalised, Grammick and Furey were given a choice by the Vatican - stop writing or face ecclesial censure. A typical reaction by a Church which didn't want to get involved with the undeserving poor.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Secret16 Jan. 2014
Marc Parker Kingston
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This is one of the best kept secrets in books Though somewhat dated it gives one a fairly good insight into the Vatican and homosexuality. There is another book (nonfiction) The Vatican Murders: The Life and Death of John Paul I which proves the 33-day Pope's sexual orientation was a factor in his sudden and unwitnessed death in 1978.