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.
Dignity/Philadelphia Information Sheet 1987
Dignity/USA 1989: Sexual Ethics: Experience, Growth, Challenge. In Dignity/USA XXI (December): 2-16.
GRAMICK, Jeannine and FUREY, Pat (eds.)1988: The Vatican and Homosexuality: Reactions to the "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons." New York: Crossroad.
The Vatican and Homosexuality: Reactions to the "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, ().
The Vatican and Homosexuality: Reactions to the "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons)| false
HELMINIAK, Daniel A. 1998: Homosexuality in Catholic Teaching and Practice, IN Culturefront. Vol. 7 No. 3 (Fall): 65-68.
PRIMIANO, Leonard Norman 1993a: Intrinsically Catholic: Vernacular Religion and Philadelphia's "Dignity". Ph.D. diss., Departments of Folklore and Folklife and Religious Studies. 1993b: "I Would Rather Be Fixated On the Lord": Women's Religion, Men's Power, and the 'Dignity' Problem, New York Folklore, XIX: 89-103.1995: Vernacular Religion and the Search for Method in Religious Folklife. Western Folklore 54: 37-56.
STONE, Jeff 1998: "The Truth Shall Make You Free": Dignity and the Gay Catholic Movement IN Culturefront. Vol. 7 No. 3 (Fall): 69-72.
WESTERMAN, William 1996: Politics and Folklore. In Jan Harold BRUNVAND (ed.) American Folklore: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland Press, pp. 570-574.