Frank McMullan's blog

My post-retirement blog adventures

Taking a Chance on G-d

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John McNeill, theologian, author, therapist, priest

By chance, in 1986 – on my first, short, visit to Amsterdam – I discovered a book that changed my life.

John McNeill’s The Church and the Homosexual, originally published in 1976, was my first encounter with an alternative interpretation of supposed biblical prohibitions on homosexuality.  His writings had a profound effect on me.

John, now a former Jesuit, is one of the subjects of Silver Stars, Seán Millar and Brokentalker’s dramatized song cycle about Irish and Irish American older gay men.  I was privileged to meet John when he attended the New York production of Silver Stars in January last year.  Of such coincidence is life made!

John, himself, paid a very high price for his enlightened views; initially, by being silenced by the Vatican; and, finally – when he could no longer maintain that silence – by being expelled from his Jesuit order. His calling to minister to gay Catholics and to help them discover viable ways of living their lives within the Church, was unacceptable to Church authorities.

DignityUSA, whose New York branch John co-founded in 1972, has designated this April John McNeill month.

Brendan Fay, documentary film maker [The Saint of 9/11, about Fr Mychal Judge, a Franciscan chaplain to the New York Fire Department, who died at the World Trade Center], is currently finalising his latest work, Taking a Chance on God, the story of the life and work of John McNeill.  The documentary is scheduled to be premiered in Rome on June 10th during Euro-Pride.

The film needs a final round of funding to be ready in time for Rome.  KickStarter, a novel and easy to use all-or-nothing crowdfunding tool, is an important part of this.  All donations, big and small, are welcome.  Do it!

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Written by Frank McMullan

25 April 2011 at 08:27

Posted in Church

One Response

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  1. Thank you for sharing this. I am a gay Catholic and am always looking to reach out and share with someone who may also be like me in my beliefs.

    Richard Voss

    30 April 2011 at 22:50


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