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

By Christine Firer Hinze; J. Patrick Hornbeck II | Go to book overview

Afterword: Reflections from Ecclesiology
and Practical Theology

TOM BEAUDOIN AND BRADFORD E. HINZE

Fordham University

Why would “More than a Monologue” be chosen as the title of a project devoted to sexual diversity and the Roman Catholic Church? It is often perceived that in the Catholic Church, only one voice “counts” and only one voice is being heard— the collective voice of the bishops in union with the pope. In the Catholic tradition, the bishops and pope are recognized as the official spokesmen for and teachers of church members; they comprise the so-called magisterium or official teaching authority, whether in regard to sexual diversity or any other topic. The bishops of the United States fulfill this mandate for members of the church in the United States locally, regionally, and nationally by presenting and defending official church teachings on sexual morality, including those pertaining to birth control, abortion, and homosexuality. As apologists for and defenders of official teachings, the U.S. bishops, joined by some other members of their church, have over the past twenty-five years become particularly outspoken in public discourse and policy debates on the topic of homosexuality.

Not every Catholic agrees with this official voice. This volume was designed to provide an opportunity for a reading audience to listen to a variety of personal testimonies on the subject of sexual diversity, in the interest of promoting more open discussion in the church and, by extension, in the wider society. This effort is consistent with the promotion of a dialogical, or what is technically described as synodal or conciliar, view of the church, one based on the belief that all the faithful have a role to play in collaborating with bishops and priests in the teaching mission of the church, a view advanced at the Second Vatican Council (1962– 1965). As the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church states: “the laity are entitled, and indeed sometimes duty-bound, to express their opinions on matters which concern the good of the Church.”1

In this Afterword, following an introductory overview, the first part (primarily written by Bradford Hinze) treats these personal testimonies

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