Yale University.

YDS Home>News>Diversity

YDS joins in hosting events on sexual diversity and the Catholic Church

Yale Divinity School is among four educational institutions collaborating in an effort to change the conversation about sexual diversity and the Catholic Church.  Joining with YDS in a series of events on each campus in the fall is another ecumenical school, Union Theological Seminary in New York, and two Catholic schools, Fordham University in New York and Fairfield University in Connecticut.

The series, entitled More Than a Monologue:  Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church, will explore the diversity of viewpoints among Catholics on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality.  Each event has a unique focus, and the series as a whole aims to lift up new voices that are rarely heard and raise awareness about the impact of church teachings and public stances on the lives of LGBT people. Participants and audiences will include clergy and laypeople, scholars and activists, faculty and students, Catholic, post-Catholic, and non-Catholic thought leaders.  The long-term goal of this unusual initiative is to encourage a vigorous, honest, and open debate about sexual diversity within and outside the Catholic Church.

The event at YDS, scheduled for Oct. 22, will be on the topicSame-Sex Marriage and the Catholic Church: Voices from Law, Religion, and the Pews.

Dianna M. Swancutt, associate professor of New Testament at Yale Divinity School and one of the event organizers, said, “When the Connecticut Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the fall of 2008, the Connecticut Bishops responded first with a public statement offered on behalf of all the Catholic faithful in the state (without their deliberation or consent) condemning the decision and arguing that marriage was not a civil right to be exercised by gay and lesbian people. Other Catholic points of view — from expertise in ethics, theology, law and the special tasks of the laity in the world — can and must be heard for a more robust discussion. Same-Sex Marriage and the Catholic Church: Voices from Law, Religion, and the Pews aims to provide that forum.”

Confirmed speakers at the YDS session are:

  • Michael John Perry, Emory Law School, author of Religion in Politics:  Constitutional and Moral Perspectives (1997); Toward a Theory of Human Rights:  Religion, Law, Courts (2007); and Constitutional Rights, Moral Controversy, and the Supreme Court (2009); among many others
  • Patricia Beattie Jung, St. Paul School of Theology, author of "Catholic Sexual Ethics in the Twenty-First Century” (2009); and editor of Sexual Diversity and Catholicism: Toward the Development of Moral Theology (2001); and God, Science, Sex and Gender: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Christian Sexual Ethics (2010) 
  • Lisa Sowle Cahill, Boston College, author of Sex, Gender, and Christian Ethics (1996); and Sexuality and the U.S. Catholic Church:  Crisis and Renewal (The Church in the 21st Century) [with John Garvey and T. Frank Kennedy] (2006)

“The conversation on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in the Roman Catholic Church has for too long been only a monologue — the sole voice being heard is that of the institutional Catholic Church,” said Paul Lakeland, Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Professor of Catholic Studies an director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University, another of the series organizers.  “That’s why many Americans believe, incorrectly, that all Catholics are opposed to equal rights for LGBT people.  It’s time for a 21st century conversation on sexual diversity, with new and different voices heard from.”

Topics and dates for the other three sessions are:

  • Learning to Listen: Voices of Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, New York, NY — Friday, September 16
  • Pro-Queer Life: Youth Suicide Crisis, Catholic Education, and the Souls of LGBTQ People, Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY — Saturday, October 1
  • The Care of Souls: Sexual Diversity, Celibacy, and Ministry
    Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT — Saturday, October 29

For more information, visit http://www.morethanamonologue.org.