Eve Tushnet’s new book Gay and Catholic is this month’s Patheos book club book, so you can see a pile of reviews and comments here. I give it a nearly-unqualified Buy recommend.
What is this book?
Gay and Catholic is a combination memoir, meditation, and how-to manual for both Catholics who experience same-sex attraction and the people who love them (or ought to). Think Catholic Nerd Girl’s heart-to-heart about life, the Church, and everything. It’s funny, it’s literary, and there’s something in there to make you squirm.
I’m not gay. Why should I read this book?
You can read this book for the obvious reason, to get an inside view on what it’s like to be gay-and-Catholic. You should read this book for a more compelling reason: It is one of the best explorations of the Christian vocation to love. I think it’s of particular interest to any single person who’s feeling adrift in a Church where “married” and “religious” are the two big-V vocational categories. What do you do with yourself? What are other people to do with you? That’s the topic of this book.
Something cool: You can pretty much open this book to any page whatsoever and find a quote I wanted to include in this review. Here’s one from p. 83, which is where I randomly opened the book in order test this theory:
I don’t mean that you should be clingy or use others as tools for exploring your own identity or vocation. But if you’re trying to figure out how God is calling you to pour out your life in love, maybe one place to start is by loving. See whether the relationships that already surround you offer opportunities to love and serve.
I know these gay people who hate the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Should I buy them all copies and then they’ll convert and we can be happy?
It doesn’t work that way. If someone is trying to figure out how to be gay and faithfully Catholic, this is an excellent resource, and it contains a pile of links to other good material as well. It’s a great title to stock in the parish library, or to use for a book club discussion (if you have a reliably-Catholic but not obnoxiously-jerky discussion leader).
Do note that Gay and Catholic is not an explanation of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. It doesn’t answer the question of “Why does the Church teach what she does?” It answers the question of, “Now that I know what the Church teaches, how shall I go about living in accordance with that teaching?”
But there aren’t gay people in my parish.
You need to get out more. Also, you should read this book.
Image via http://www.patheos.com/blogs/evetushnet/publications used to accompany this review.