More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church - Vol. 1

More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church - Vol. 1

More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church - Vol. 1

More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church - Vol. 1

Synopsis

This powerful new collection gives voice to the lived experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons with and within the Catholic Church, and promotes much-needed dialogue about faith and sexuality.The Second Vatican Council's landmark document Gaudium et spes called Catholics to cultivate robust, mutually enriching dialogue with the modern world by attentively and discerningly listening to the "voices of our times." This distinctive new publication, the first of two volumes that exploresexual diversity and the Catholic Church, gathers an important set of these voices: the testimonies and reflections of Catholic and former Catholic LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) persons, their friends, family members, and those who teach and accompany them.Drawn from a series of conferences held in autumn 2011 and offering a spectrum of professional, generational, and personal perspectives, the essays in Voices of Our Times suggest the breadth and complexity of Catholic experiences of and engagements with sexual diversity. Each writer locates her orhis reflections in careful attention to how ways of experiencing sexuality and speaking about sexual diversity are embodied in and shaped by particular practices - familial, interpersonal, professional, ecclesial, cultural, and political.Part I, "Practicing Love," introduces the voices of singles, families, couples, parents, and children who reflect on their experiences of sexual diversity in light of their experiences of Catholicism and of Catholics. Part II, "Practicing Church," offers the perspectives of clergy and lay ministers,casting light on what pastoral workers, Catholic and otherwise, encounter as they walk with people who are grappling with issues of faith and sexuality. In Part III, "Practicing Education," writers discuss their experiences with sexual diversity in Catholic educational settings as teachers, asstudents, and as witnesses to the lives, loves, and struggles of LGBTQ young adults. Finally, Part IV, "Practicing Belonging," spotlights contributions by authors who have struggled with their identities and place within and around the Catholic community.Striving to acknowledge, honor, and respect the truth and value embodied in both LGBTQ persons' lives and in the Catholic tradition, this book provides a close-to-the-ground look at the state of the conversation about sexual diversity among contemporary Roman Catholics in the United States. Alongwith its companion volume, Inquiry, Thought, and Expression, Voices of Our Times represents a unique opportunity for readers inside and outside the Catholic community to engage in a conversation that is at once vibrant and complex, difficult and needed.

Excerpt

In the autumn of 2011, four institutions of higher education hosted a series of conferences on sexual diversity and the Roman Catholic Church. Two of the venues— New York’s Fordham University and Fairfield University in Connecticut— were Catholic universities in the Jesuit tradition; the other two— Union Theological Seminary in New York City and Yale Divinity School— were nondenominational divinity schools where Roman Catholics comprise a substantial proportion of the student body. The series, entitled “More than a Monologue,” featured in total nearly fifty speakers and attracted more than a thousand audience members; many more followed the proceedings online. The high levels of interest generated by the series reveal that the contemporary conversation about sexual diversity within the American Roman Catholic community is vibrant; it is also complicated, sometimes tense, and often fraught with anger, pain, and hesitation on all sides.

This volume, along with its companion, Inquiry, Thought, and Expression, seeks to keep alive this difficult yet rewarding dialogue. It contains expanded and updated versions of remarks that speakers delivered at all four of the More than a Monologue conferences; it also includes a number of new voices, chosen because of the pastoral, academic, or personal perspectives that they bring to the topic of sexual diversity in and around the Roman Catholic tradition. While the conferences focused largely on the experiences of people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ), among other terms, the experiences of heterosexual persons in encountering and responding to sexual diversity are equally important. Their voices, too, were represented at the conferences, and essays by authors who describe themselves as heterosexual appear in both books.

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