- Paperback: 466 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (April 5, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1468153900
- ISBN-13: 978-1468153903
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,719,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Faithful to the Truth: How to be an orthodox gay Catholic 2nd Edition
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About the Author
Stephen Lovatt was born in 1958 in Stoke-on-Trent, England. The jolt of his mother's death when he was fourteen, made him resolve to become a member of the Methodist Church. He was accepted to read physics at Trinity College in 1976. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1979. After graduating, he worked in the electronics industry. In 1990, he returned to academic studies and was awarded a PhD in Physics in 1993. At about this time he discovered the works of Plato. He published his first non-fiction book “New Skins for Old wine: Plato’s Wisdom for Today’s world” in 2009.
Top customer reviews
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I'm a protestant Christian, and it seems that this book is specifically catered for Catholic Christians. There are a lot of words that make no sense to me, and so it makes it a bit difficult to understand in that respect as well.
I expected this book to be somewhat dry, but was pleasantly surprised to find it immensely readable. Dr. Lovatt is a fine writer, and he keeps the reader engaged. Though I have read extensively on the subject, I learned a number of things I hadn't known before.
A scholarly work that is also engaging for lay readers is a rarity. I highly recommend this to Catholics and Protestants alike.
Dr. Stephen's book does not disappoint in bringing the subjects together.
He thoroughly researches through the history of Catholicism to propose his case in why you can be a Catholic in good standing and be gay (without the label of "intrinsically disordered" or a lifetime of celibacy). Taking a careful look at all angles, he talks about both for and against sides; if you are gay and looking for understanding, you will love this book.
The only critique I have (though not a bad one) is it is so thoroughly researched, it does "take a minute" to engage into the book - if you are rather new to Catholicism or history and philosophy, you'll be flipping around for a bit.
If I had any complaint about the work it would be that the author neglects to point out that there are valid expressions of the catholic religion other than the Roman Church that are welcoming and affirming of gay and lesbian people and allow them to fully and openly participate in the Sacramental life of the church.
That point notwithstanding, I highly recommend this work and have made it required reading for all students in my church's theological training programme.
Again, an excellent and well thought out work.
In Faithful to the Truth, author Stephen Lovatt argues that the Ordinary Magisterium is in error with regards its teaching on human sexuality in general and homosexual acts in particular. Furthermore, he demonstrates that gay Catholics who disagree with this teaching need not espouse a generally liberal theology, but that one can remain an orthodox, gay Catholic while embracing one's sexuality. Lovatt's willingness to examine Tradition and the nuances of concepts like authority and infallibility is what separates his work from much other literature on the topic.
The book starts with an overview of the Magistrium's current teaching on sexuality, and Lovatt shows that the ideas of sexual complementarity and primacy of family are actually novel teachings and essentially incompatible with orthodox belief. His arguments here are incisive and constitute a much-needed contribution to the theological discourse on gender and sexuality. It may be the most important contribution of his book.
He continues with a discussion on what "homosexuality" actually is before proceeding to the Scripture passages that deal with, or appear to deal with, the topic. Much has been written on the Bible and homosexuality and those familiar with the literature will encounter similar arguments here. Nevertheless, Lovatt has new and interesting ideas to contribute. His understanding of Hebrew language and grammar is clearly a strength and provides insights on Sodom and Gomorrah and Leviticus. His presentation of Romans 1 as consisting in three parallelisms is one of the most lucid I have read, and the comparison of the passage from Wisdom and discussion of the cult of Cybele and Attis situate the context convincingly.
Lovatt canvasses Church history to gain insights from the Fathers, lives of the saints, liturgical witness, legislation, and finally the development of current Magisterial teaching and theology of sex. The greatest strength is the completeness of his investigation. Lovatt does not hesitate to present whatever quotes, laws, or other evidence are relevant, even if they appear to undermine his thesis. Indeed, many do so, but he often argues that neither are they supportive of the Magisterium's current teaching. For example the positive representation of same-gender affection seen in the lives of the saints, Scripture, and ancient liturgies, though never explicitly sexual, is not compatible with the Magisterium's current understanding of same-gender orientation as intrinsically disordered. With regards the Fathers, an inspection of just Augustine and Chrysostom shows the Fathers agree on very little with regards to marriage and eroticism, so little can be argued to be Apostolic.
On the other hand, a major weakness is that Lovatt's treatment of certain evidence will come across as disingenuous, especially to less sympathetic "conservative" readers. Pointing out the fact that St. Basil's warnings to monks against lust for each other are directed not to the laity but to people who have made a commitment to celibacy, for example, is unhelpful, as Basil's general opinion on homosexual acts would hardly have been different for the laity. The discussion of modern teaching on pg. 207 and 208 is specious, especially Lovatt's treatment of Pius XI's encyclical Casti Connubii. He offers a quote that effectively demonstrates that procreation is Pius' intended meaning of the term "intrinsic nature of the act", but follows up by saying "On the other hand, this might be a reference to the idea that all sexual activity [...] should be an expression of affection", and then asserts that Paul VI "changed this teaching again". Lovatt seems to want to paint a picture in which the Council of Trent, Pius XI, and various early Church Fathers stand alongside himself on the side of `orthodoxy' whereas Paul VI and John Paul II are modern innovators. But any attempt to do so seems absurd, because teachings like that all sexual intercourse outside marriage is sinful and that all homosexual acts are intrinsically immoral were certainly shared by all these figures. Lovatt might argue that this is of no consequence as these teachings never had a solid basis in the Gospel or in a clearly common patristic theology, that their premises are unorthodox and unsustainable, and they have not been defined or declared infallibly. These are very good arguments and help show that "Tradition" (note the capital) is on Lovatt's side. But "tradition" clearly is not, and pretending like it is will only make less sympathetic readers dismiss this book from the start. As much as the author likes to distance himself from "liberal" Catholics, whether he likes it or not he ultimately has much more in common with them than with the pre-Vatican II figures he esteems.
The book concludes with some very helpful insights into the purpose and history of the Sacrament of Penance, its abuse by the hierarchy, and advice on how to approach the sacrament as an orthodox gay Catholic.