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 Calahan; "Informing the Debate on Homosexuality: The Behavioral Sciences and the Church," by Isaiah 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 Cristinal. H. Traina; and "Catholic Lesbian Feminist Theology," by Mary E. Hunt.
Patricia Beattie Jung, PhD, is associate professor of theology at Loyola University, Chicago.