The Religious Consultation
on Population, Reproductive Health  and Ethics

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Sons of the Church:
The Witnessing of Gay Catholic Men

“How can you be gay and Catholic?”


Sons of the Church: The Witnessing of Gay Catholic Men spotlights testimonials from over thirty gay Catholic men to answer the question, “How can you be gay and Catholic?” Dr. Thomas B. Stevenson, who received degrees from the University of Notre Dame, Boston College, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, explores this question, using various interviews to thoroughly analyze the many dimensions of being gay and Catholic while providing a powerful and convincing criticism of Church teaching on homosexuality. This thoughtful, surprisingly reverent book is the answer for those gay readers who long for a religious connection, as well as for Catholic readers and those in pastoral positions who want and need to hear the stories of gay people firsthand.

Sons of the Church: The Witnessing of Gay Catholic Men tells one story—the story of what it is like to be gay and Catholic—through the various stories of over thirty gay Catholic men. Each chapter is arranged thematically, beginning with experiences of being homosexual and Catholic during childhood and youth. Subsequent chapters delve into the ways these men each finally accepted themselves and integrated their sexuality, related to others who did or did not understand, dealt with homosexual promiscuity, found intimate relationships, became a part of a community, and ultimately came to terms with the Catholic Church and their faith. Throughout, these ’witnesses’ explain how their faith in God guides them through the various experiences and issues they face. The positive aspects of Catholic Christianity are respectfully explored at the same time as the present Church teaching on homosexuality is challenged.

Sons of the Church uses interviews to explore:

* Catholics coming to terms with their homosexuality
* the experiences of young men recognizing their sexuality
* suffering and oppression by society and the Church
* acceptance of self
* integration of goodness and lovability of homosexuality
* moral issues of promiscuity among gay men
* gay relationships and the Catholic dimensions of commitment
* criticisms of gay culture
* the Catholic Church teachings on homosexuality
* the answer to the question, “How can you be gay and Catholic?”

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Recommend This Book

Sons of the Church: The Witnessing of Gay Catholic Men is enlightening reading essential for educators, students, counselors, priests, nuns, psychologists, and theologians. Catholic people, gay people, and every educated reader will find that the interviews and ideas here stimulate thought and create a greater understanding of the issue of homosexuality and faith.

About the Author

Thomas Stevenson, PhD, received his BA in the Program of Liberal Studies (the Great Books Program) from the University of Notre Dame, his MA in philosophy from Boston College, and his PhD in Systematic and Philosophical Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has taught courses in both philosophy and religion.


“This morning I received an e-mail from a friend in Mexico telling me of a gay Catholic friend of his who rang him up at 4am to tell him that he wanted to kill himself. This is the book I would love to have been able to give him to put into his friend's hand, praying that that friend would have the patience to allow himself to hear the depth of such quiet words.”

James Alison, Theologian and Author of Faith Beyond Resentment: Fragments Gay and Catholic (from the Foreword)

“THE STONE THAT WAS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CORNERSTONE. Many gay Catholics have discovered they cannot live out the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on homosexuality without destroying themselves psychologically and spiritually. They have gone through a maturing process, which led them to find the voice of God from within themselves and their own experience. This book recounts that spiritual maturing process in the lives of many gay men.”

Father John McNeill, PhD, Author of the groundbreaking book The Church and the Homosexual and numerous other books on gay spirituality; ousted from the Jesuits by the Vatican for his ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics

“A MUST-READ FOR PASTORAL EDUCATORS AND COUNSELORS. I didn't so much read this book with my head as felt it with my heart. The witnesses whom Stevenson has assembled divulge not only the wounds of being gay in a heterosexist culture, but also the joys of appreciating their sexual orientation.”

Sister Jeannine Gramick, PhD, Executive Co-director, National Coalition of American Nuns


* Foreword (James Alison)
* Acknowledgments
* Introduction
* 1. Homosexuality in Youth
* 2. Catholicism in Youth
* 3. The Acceptance and Integration of Homosexuality
* 4. Promiscuity
* 5. Commitment
* 6. The Absolutization of Gayness
* 7. How Can You Be Gay and Catholic?
* Bibliography

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