Cover image for Acts of faith, acts of love : gay Catholic autobiographies as sacred texts
Acts of faith, acts of love : gay Catholic autobiographies as sacred texts
McGinley, Dugan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Continuum, 2004.
Physical Description:
x, 246 pages ; 24 cm
Surveying autobiographical acts -- Narrating gay identification -- Orbiting the Catholic axis -- "Homosexual acts" -- Reconciliation.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
BX4669 .M248 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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It is widely admitted that Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality is schizophrenic- morally rigorous but pastorally progressive. Dominican theologian Gareth Moore says the problem stems from the church's focus on 'acts' rather than 'relationships'.

Since Vatican II and the Stonewall Riot, there has been an outpouring of lesbian and gay Catholic autobiographies - some book-length, others in the form of essays or even embedded in novels. These autobiographical 'acts', argues McGinley, can provide the subjectivity-thick description that is sorely lacking in the Church's understanding of gay people. In Acts of Faith, Acts of Love , McGinley explores the overlap of religious and sexual identities in the stories gay men write about themselves. The autobiographical writings of 40 gay Catholics (or once Catholics) are analysed. The work is both literary and theological on the premise that experience constitutes one of the four sources of theological reflection, along with scripture, tradition, and reason.

Author Notes

Dugan McGinley, who teaches religious studies at Temple University, has worked throughout his adult life as music director and liturgist in a number of Roman Catholic parishes

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This is an important contribution to the ongoing discussion of the intersection of homosexuality and religion. McGinley (religious studies, Temple Univ.) presents a scholarly, well-documented discussion of the integration of sexuality and identity, as well as of the theoretical issues of moral agency and narrative form. He complements this discussion with a sensitive exploration of patterns and themes in contemporary autobiographical writings by 40 gay Catholics (or former Catholics), including Rafael Campo, J.D. McClatchy, Andrew Sullivan, and others, selecting writings that convey the complexity of "what it means to be gay and Catholic in America at this time in history." A committed gay Catholic, McGinley does not claim to deal with Church teachings in any systematic way, but his book presents a powerful indictment of current Catholic Church teachings on homosexuality, which insist on bifurcating "being" and "doing." This book resounds with the authenticity and integrity of personal narrative and academic critique-an unusual and effective combination. Highly recommended for any collection keeping up with current views on homosexuality and religion and essential for academic libraries.-Sheila Peiffer, Acad. of the Holy Names, Albany, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. ix
Prefacep. 1
Introduction: Whispers from the Housetopp. 9
1. Surveying Autobiographical Actsp. 29
2. Narrating Gay Identificationp. 47
3. Orbiting the Catholic Axisp. 83
4. "Homosexual Acts"p. 124
5. Reconciliationp. 156
Appendix The Gramick and Nugent Investigation: A Test Case for Church Teachingp. 174
Notesp. 183
Select Bibliographyp. 221
Indexp. 237