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The Silence of Sodom by Mark D. Jordan, a professor of theology at Emory University, is a smart, graceful, important book about homosexuality and modern Catholicism. It transcends discussion of sexual identity and contends that theology cannot, fundamentally, be argued--it must be lived. "Serious moral theology cannot be principally the framing and manipulation of quasi-legal propositions. It must begin and end in the discovery of particular lives under grace." Consequently, Jordan writes, "lesbian and gay lives will have to become audible to the church, readable within it, before their graces can be discerned and described." The way for gay lives to become audible in the church, Jordan argues, is to demonstrate an intimate relationship between "'homosexuality' and holiness--that is, human fullness." To demonstrate that relationship, gay people must rethink their notions of identity by questioning the descriptive power of terms such as gay and homosexual, and perhaps even abandoning such terms.
Gay Catholics, Jordan says, "should feel contrition for having pretended to have a sexual identity, when what we had were desires, memories, and loves. To be good homosexuals is, for Catholic men, to conspire with our old persecutors in a sin against ourselves. The homosexual is only the sodomite in approved drag." Abstruse jargon, sloppy thinking, and excessive pride are common pitfalls for writers who address simultaneously the subjects of Christianity and homosexuality. Jordan avoids all of these dangers. In plain language, with humility, he gently insists that readers join him in learning how to talk about sexuality and physical pleasure in a way that amounts to talking about Christian love. --Michael Joseph Gross
Jordan, author of the prize-winning The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology and professor of religion at Emory University, argues that the culture of Catholicism and gay culture have much in common. Analyzing Catholic documents on homosexuality, Jordan determines that the Church is often vague and imprecise, its rhetoric designed to confuse readers. Despite the Church's teachings that homosexual sex is a sin, says Jordan, Catholicism is shot through with homoeroticism--the musical, incense-filled Catholic liturgy attracts gay men, and gay men's "coming out" is not dissimilar from Catholic seminarians' demonstration of a priesthood call. Even the Eucharist is drawn into this analysis: according to Jordan, male Catholics eating the perfect body of a perfect man is a homoerotic act, too, and the "priest without faith who celebrates Mass" recalls "a hustler having sex with his client." This treatise is provocative, but not convincing. Jordan's modest claim at the beginning of the book--that the Catholic Church needs to honestly recognize its many gay Catholics, some of whom occupy positions of leadership--is compelling. However, his suggestion that Catholicism and homosexuality are somehow inherently bound up with one another because the stereotypical gay man's fixation with fine clothes is reminiscent of priests' suiting up in vestments reads more like a Saturday Night Live skit than a serious effort to reshape Catholic discussions about sexuality. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Mark Jordan is a gay theologian and medievalist and professor of Religion/Catholic Studies at Emory University, and has also written books such as Recruiting Young Love: How... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Steven H Propp
Relying on poor biblical exegesis and translation, this book tries to sophist its way around justifying why homosexual acts are actually quite moral and in line with natural law... Read morePublished on July 12, 2012 by James Locke
I can't believe that anyone would believe this nonsense! This is the kind of book that may be praised by homosexuals who are trying to convince us that perverted behavior is good... Read morePublished on April 12, 2004
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This book is truly a scholastic masterpiece. The author tackles numerous contraversial topics tactfully. Read morePublished on May 23, 2003 by Neil J. Hajba
Mark Jordon's book does an adequate job of discussing the systematic Catholic language that does now allow for disagreement or dissent. Read morePublished on July 11, 2002 by John Rice
When we were young, many of us who had mothers who warned us not to write something in anger. This book is pure anger, but the author can't quite figure out whether Catholics or... Read morePublished on October 1, 2000 by Ed Browne
Athough the author has scholarly credentials, this is not a scholarly work. It is an exercise in rage---rage that the Church still proclaims the value of chastity in the midst of... Read morePublished on September 30, 2000 by Peter Dash