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Liturgical Press

Sexual Diversity and Catholicism

Toward the Development of Moral Theology

Patricia Beattie Jung, Editor; with Joseph A. Coray

Sexual Diversity and Catholicism
Sexual Diversity and Catholicism

ISBN: 9780814659397, 5939

Details: 344 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 05/01/2001

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The Roman Catholic Church has in recent decades sent mixed signals with regard to discrimination based on sexual identity. On the one hand, official documents have condemned violence and verbal abuse directed at persons of different sexual orientation; on the other hand, the Church has approved and lobbied for certain types of discrimination: in housing and employment, for example, and also with regard to marriage or civil unions.

Sexual Diversity and Catholicism focuses specifically on Roman Catholic magisterial teachings on sexual diversity. It also wrestles with explicitly Roman Catholic views of the relationship among various sources of moral wisdom (between Church teachings, the Bible, philosophy, science and experience) and how their interplay might contribute to the further development of Church teaching. It addresses the issue of sexual diversity and its legitimate expression under the headings Interpreting Church Teachings, Interpreting the Bible, Interpreting Secular Disciplines, and Interpreting Human Experience.

Part One: Interpreting Church Teachings, includes "My Brother Dan," by Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton; "Unitive and Procreative Meaning: The Inseparable Link," by James P. Hanigan; "The Bridegroom and the Bride: The Theological Anthropology of John Paul II and Its Relation to the Bible and Homosexuality," by Susan A. Ross; and "The Church and Homosexuality: A Lonerganian Approach," by Jon Nilson.

Part Two: Interpreting the Bible contains "The Promise of Postmodern Hermeneutics for the Biblical Renewal of Moral Theology," by Patricia Beattie Jung; "Questions About the Construction of (Homo)sexuality: Same-Sex Relations in the Hebrew Bible," by Robert A. Di Vito; "Romans 1:26-27: The Claim That Homosexuality Is Unnatural," by Leland J. White; "The New Testament and Homosexuality?" by Bruce J. Malina; and "Perfect Fear Casteth Out Love: Reading, Citing, and Rape," by Mary Rose D'Angelo.

Part Three: Interpreting Secular Disciplines includes insights from the human and social sciences: "Homosexuality, Moral Theology, and Scientific Evidence," by Sidney Callahan; "Informing the Debate on Homosexuality: The Behavorial Sciences and the Church," by Isiaah Crawford and Brian D. Zamboni; and "Harming by Exclusion: On the Standard Concepts of Sexual Orientation, Sex, and Gender," by David T. Ozar.

Part Four: Interpreting Human Experience, brings the voices of two of the Church's faithful women: "Papal Ideals, Marital Realities: One View From the Ground," by Cristina L. H. Traina; and "Catholic Lesbian Feminist Theology," by Mary E. Hunt.

Patricia Beattie Jung, PhD, is associate professor of theology at Loyola University, Chicago.


This book is an occasion of grace for readers of all faiths, and especially for Catholics. Issues of sexual diversity are religious as well as moral because they depend on perceptions of God's intent for humanity. Jung’s book shows what the ideal of the church as a community of moral reasoning can look like. It testifies to the strength of a tradition confident enough of its Source to risk new interpretations of human relational and sexual experience. Jung renders a great service in assembling diverse thinkers to ponder anew—with faith and intellectual rigor—the biblical, traditional, experiential, and scientific data on this vital topic.
Anne E. Patrick, Carleton College