The fact of Christianity’s negative attitude toward homosexual relations has not stopped a large number of gay and lesbian Christian believers from continuing to think of themselves as members of their respective denominations. In many American metropolitan settings, groups of homosexual Roman Catholics have formed a religious organisation named ‘Dign ty’ to ful fill a need for worship and socializing. Focusing on the Philadelphia branch of Dignity, this paper examines the reasons for the continued nvolvement by homosexual American Catholics in religion in general and in such an antagonistic religious nstitution in particular. The study of the sexual politics of this Dignity congregation has generated a new perspective which underscores the nsufficiency of the conventional terminology of „sectarian,” „popular,” or even „official,” religion for describing the vitality of lived religion. In response, I offer the term „vernacular religion ” which will be explained and assessed as a new approach in the search for understanding of any given community of believers and their various categories of religious belief. The relation of the study of vernacular religion to the Philadelphia Dignity community will be discussed through an examination of its history and developments, of the negotiated beliefs of its members, and its reactions to the institutional church, and to the AIDS crisis.