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LGBTQIA+ History Month!

24th October 2020

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In honor of this national celebration, here are a few of our works regarding the LGBTQIA+ community.

In Your Eyes I See My Words by Pope Francis

These writings provide an intimate glimpse into the theological, philosophical, scientific, and cultural-educational currents that forged the steady, loving, and nurturing hands with which Bergoglio guided the Church in Buenos Aires.

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In the recently premiered documentary film Francesco, Pope Francis expressed his support for same-sex civil unions, separating from his predecessors that only focused on traditional marriage between a man and a woman. As this is a major feat for religious members of the LGBTQIA+ community, here is one of Pope Francis’ works.

In Your Eyes I See My Words, Volume 3 concludes with a homily Bergoglio prepared before leaving for Rome to attend the conclave that elected him to the papacy. It was for the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, to be delivered to his priests in Buenos Aires. Instead, it was his homily from Rome to the priests of the world reminding them, “The precious oil that anoints Aaron’s beard not only perfumes his person but spreads and reaches the margins. The Lord will say it clearly: his anointing is for the poor, the prisoners, the sick, those who are sad and alone.” Here, as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis, he spoke words of deep tenderness, reminding all of us that the Lord’s anointing is meant precisely for those who are floundering—those who are sick, who are sad or alone, who are in need of care. In short, the Lord’s anointing is meant for the world we live in today, at this exact moment of crisis. In a prophetic conclusion, the last homily of this volume is an outline of the roadmap Pope Francis has followed throughout his papacy: one defined by ongoing love and care for God’s people and that seeks to spread God’s anointing to those living on the margins of life.

Reading Sideways by Dana Seitler

And within them—and through “reading sideways”—we can witness the coming-into-legibility of a set of diffuse practices that provide a pivot point for engaging the political methods of minoritized subjects at the turn of the twentieth century.

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Reading Sideways explores the pivotal role that various art forms played in American literary fiction in direct relation to the politics of gender and sexuality in works of modern American literature. It tracks the crosswise circulation of aesthetic ideas in fiction and argues that at stake in the aesthetic turn of these works was not only the theorization of aesthetic experience but also an engagement with political arguments and debates about available modes of sociability and sexual expression. To track these engagements, its author, Dana Seitler, performs a method she calls “lateral reading,” a mode of interpretation that moves horizontally through various historical entanglements and across the fields of the arts to make sense of—and see in a new light—their connections, challenges, and productive frictions.

Members of His Body by Will Stockton

In the wake of recent arguments that expanding marriage rights to gay people will open the door to the cultural acceptance and legalization of plural marriage, Members of His Body reminds us that much Christian theology already looks forward to this end.

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Building on scholarship regarding both biblical and early modern sexualities, Members of His Body protests the Christian defense of marital monogamy. According to the Paul who authors 1 Corinthians, believers would do well to remain single and focus instead on the messiah’s return. According to the Paul who authors Ephesians, plural marriage is the telos of Christian community. Turning to Shakespeare, Will Stockton shows how marriage functions in The Comedy of Errors, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and The Winter’s Tale as a contested vehicle of Christian embodiment. Juxtaposing the marital theologies of the different Pauls and their later interpreters, Stockton reveals how these plays explore the racial, religious, and gender criteria for marital membership in the body of Christ. These plays further suggest that marital jealousy and paranoia about adultery result in part from a Christian theology of shared embodiment: the communion of believers in Christ.

Upper West Side Catholics: Liberal Catholicism In A Conservative Archdiocese by Thomas J. Shelley

This remarkable history of a beloved Upper West Side church is in many respects a microcosm of the history of the Catholic Church in New York City.

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Here is a captivating study of a distinctive Catholic community on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, an area long noted for its liberal Catholic sympathies in contrast to the generally conservative attitude that has pervaded the archdiocese of New York. The author traces this liberal Catholic dimension of Upper West Side Catholics to a long if slender line of progressive priests that stretches back to the Civil War era, casting renewed light on their legacy: liturgical reform, concern for social justice, and a preferential option for the poor long before this phrase found its way into official church documents. In recent years this progressivism has demonstrated itself in a willingness to extend a warm welcome to LGBT Catholics, most notably at the Church of the Ascension on West 107th Street. Ascension was one of the first diocesan parishes in the archdiocese to offer a spiritual home to LGBT Catholics and continues to sponsor the Ascension Gay Fellowship Group.

Hidden by Richard Giannone

Gay or straight, so long as we remain hidden from ourselves, the true God remains hidden from us.

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Hidden—Richard Giannone’s searingly honest, richly insightful memoir—eloquently captures the author’s transformation from a solitary gay academic to a dedicated caregiver as well as a sexually and spiritually committed man. Always alone, always fearful, he initially resisted the duty to look after his dying female relatives. But his mother’s fall into dementia changed all that. Her vulnerability opened this middle-aged man to the love of another man, a former priest and Jersey boy like himself. Together the two men saw the old woman to her death and did the same for Giannone’s sister. In Hidden Giannone uncovers how, ultimately, these experiences moved him closer to participating in the vitality he believed pulsed in the world but had always eluded him.

The mothering life of this gay partnership evolved alongside the AIDS crisis and within and against Italian American culture that reflected the Catholic Church’s discountenancing of homosexual love. Giannone vividly weaves his reflections on gay life in Greenwich Village and his spiritual journey as a gay man and Catholic into his experience of caring for the women of his family.

More than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church, Voices of our Times by Christine Firer Hinze and J. Patrick Hornbeck II

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.”

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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 or his 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.

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. Along with 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.

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