Reading List

This is a basic reading list for Catholic parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender persons and for those who minister with them. Their being listed does not necessarily mean that Fortunate Families agrees with all the views presented in these materials.

Click the column header to sort by Author, Title, Topic or Description.

Alison, JamesFaith Beyond Resentment: Fragments Catholic and Gay.ScriptureAn English Catholic theologian looks at Catholic theology from a gay perspective, addressing both those who are not gay and those who are not Catholic.  Offers an account of Christianity that is moving, liberating, and deeply personal.  (New York: Crossroad, 2001)
Bayly, Michael JCreating Safe Environments for LGBT Students: A Catholic Schools PerspectivePastoral MinistryTrain the staff of your Catholic high school to meet the special needs of LGBT students (Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press, 2007)
Bernstein, RobertStraight Parents, Gay ChildrenExperienceThrough the collective experience of thousands of families [this book] reveals that…parents can find liberation in the truth about homosexuality…[that] restores and strengthens the bonds of love and understanding they have with their sons and daughters. - Robert MacNeill. Updated and Revised. (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2003)".
Borhek, MaryComing Out to Parents: A Two-Way Survival Guide for Lesbian Women and Gay Men and Their ParentsPastoral MinistryEspecially helpful for parents to understand what their children go through and children to understand what their parents go through. (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 1993) 
Brill, Stephanie A. and Rachel PepperThe Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and ProfessionalsSocial Sciences / TransCovering developmental, legal, medical, and school issues, The Transgender Child (San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2008) is a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind guidebook for the unique challenges that thousands of families face raising children who step outside of the pink or blue box.
Cheng, Patrick S,From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer ChristPastoral Ministry“Cheng proposes a Christ-centered model that is based upon the ancient doctrine of theosis, or deification, in which sin and grace are defined in terms of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Cheng presents seven models of the Queer Christ, along with seven new deadly sins and seven new amazing graces.” –back cover (New York: Seabury Books, 2012.
Coleman, Gerald D.Homosexuality:  Catholic Teaching and Pastoral PracticeChurch teachingColeman says: "My primary method will be to present information as clearly as possible…; to raise questions and to do all of this within the context of the Church's teachings, presuppositions and viewpoints regarding love and the questions of human sexuality." (New York: Paulist Press, 1995)
Congregation for the Doctrine of the FaithOn the Pastoral Care of Homosexual PersonsChurch teachingChurch teaching in the words of the Vatican.  (Boston: St. Paul Books and Media.) 1986
Curoe, Carol and Robert CuroeAre There Closets in Heaven? A Catholic Father & Lesbian Daughter Share Their StoryExperience" . . . a testimony to the power faith and love can play in bringing families together." (Syren Book Co., Minneapolis, MN, 2007)
Dew, Robb FormanThe Family Heart: A Memoir of When Our Son Came OutExperienceWith generosity and perception, Robb Dew first takes us into her home and into the heart of her family and then leads us into experiencing how it feels to discover another part of being human. --Gail Goodwin. (NY: Addison-Wesley Press, 1994)
Empereur, James LSpiritual Direction and the Gay PersonPastoral MinistryResource and guidebook for spiritual directors but also counselors, teachers, religious leaders, parents, friends, and anyone seriously interested in gay spirituality, including gay and lesbian people themselves.  (New York: Continuum, 1999)
Fairchild, Betty and Nancy HaywardNow That You Know:  What Every Parent Should Know About HomosexualityPastoral MinistryIf a book can help parents understand what a gay son or daughter is trying to share, this one will.  (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1989)
Farley, MargaretJust Love: A Framework for Christian EthicsChurch teachingOn of America's foremost Christian ethicists - a Catholic religious sister--proposes a framework for sexual ethics whereby justice is the criterion for all loving, including love that is related to sexual activity and relationships.  (New York: Continuum, 2006)
Gentilini, Joseph Hounded by God: A Gay Man's Journey to Self-Acceptance, Love, and RelationshipExperienceIn his autobiographical journal, Joe spells out his painful journey as an active gay man, from revolt against the voice of God to final acceptance with God's grace of his gay identity given to him by God. (Preface by John McNeil)
Gramick, Jeannine, and Robert Nugent (Eds.)Voices of Hope. A Collection of Positive Catholic Writings on Gay & Lesbian IssuesChurch teachingFrom the Preface:  "It is our hope that this resource will arouse and sustain the consciousness of the Catholic community on gay and lesbian issues.  May it provide encouragement and support for justice and reconciliation." (New York: Center for Homophobic Education, 1995)
Helminiak, Daniel A. What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality: Millennium Edition Updated and ExpandedScripture"If people… seek to know outright if gay or lesbian sex is good or evil...they will have to look somewhere else for an answer...the Bible seems deliberately unconcerned about it."  (New Mexico: Alamo Square Press, 2000)
Jennings, Kevin, with Pat ShapiroAlways My Child: A Parent's Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered or Questioning Son or DaughterSocial sciencesGLSEN cofounder focuses on the day-to-day experiences of adolescents dealing with sexual identity issues.  Provides the insights and practical strategies parents need to support their kids and cope themselves.  (New York: Fireside of Simon and Schuster, 2003)
Jung, Patricia Beattie, and Ralph F. SmithHeterosexism: An Ethical ChallengeChurch teachingChallenges the popular conclusion that a heterosexual orientation is better than other expressions of God's intention. (New York: SUNY Press, 1993)
Jung, Patricia Beattie, with Joseph Andrew Cory (Eds.)Sexual Diversity and CatholicismChurch teachingEssays exploring the relationship between contemporary biblical scholarship and Roman Catholic magisterial teachings about the morality of homosexuality.  Wrestles with: Does the Bible "reveal" what Tradition has long taught in this regard - specifically that human sexuality is "naturally" structured around procreativity and male-female complementarity, and that homosexuality is immoral?  (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2001)
Kelly, Kevin T. Directions in Sexual Ethics: Moral Theology and the Challenge of AIDSChurch teachingBrings together his thinking and experience as a teacher, moral theologian and parish priest, and challenges the thinking of the churches...on sex and sexuality as moral issues for our times. (Washington, DC: Geoffrey Chapman, 1998)
Liuzzi, Peter J.With Listening Hearts: Understanding the Voices of Lesbian and Gay CatholicsExperienceStresses right of full church inclusiveness by virtue of baptism.  Includes powerful stories in the chapter, "I Choose to Stay in the Church."  (New York: Paulist, 2001)
Lopata, CaseyParents Voice Project: Report on Survey of Catholic Parents of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Daughters and SonsExperienceResults of 229 parent surveys collected in 2006.  Includes conclusions and recommendations.  Supplemental appendices include all parents comments.  (Fortunate Families 2007)
Lopata, Casey, (Ed.)Seeds of Hope: Compassionate Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Catholics and their Families: A Practical Resource Manual, and the supplement, More Seeds Out of PrintPastoral MinistryDesigned for pastoral ministers who want to respond with knowledge and compassion to lesbian and gay Catholics and their families, and who want to educate the whole faith community. (Fortunate Families)
Lopata, Mary EllenFortunate Families: Catholic Families with Lesbian Daughters and Gay SonsExperienceExamines the lived experience of parents who love their gay children and their church.  Through stories, readers will learn how these parents get beyond conflicting feelings and work to make their church more welcoming.  (Fortunate Families)
Maher Jr., MichaelBeing Gay and Lesbian in a Catholic High SchoolSocial sciencesCompelling study proving that too often parochial schools encourage or allow stereotyping, homophobia, and violence.  Enables educators to explore new ways to change anti-gay attitudes and prevent anti-gay violence. (Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press, 2001)
McNaught, BrianOn Being Gay: Thoughts on Family, Faith and LoveExperienceIntimate and personal reflection of what it means to be gay: whether or not to "come out," maintaining family ties, developing an honest relationship with God, building lasting love relationships, accepting oneself as decent and worthy of respect. (NY: St. Martin's Press, 1988)
McNeill, JohnThe Church and the HomosexualChurch teachingThe fourth edition of this classic that includes a history of the publication of the book and the letter from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that removed the imprimi potest from the book and silenced him.  (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993)
McNeill, JohnTaking a Chance on GodChurch teachingLiberating theology for gay and lesbian people and their lovers, families and friends.  Shows a positive gay identity is compatible with Christian faith. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1988)
Mollenkott, Virginia RameyOmnigender: a trans-religious approachSocial sciencesArgues that the "binary gender paradigm" is oppressive and inflicts grave suffering on many people.  (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2001)
Moore, GarethA Question of Truth: Christianity and HomosexualityChurch teachingA Dominican priest challenges the teaching of the Catholic Church on its own grounds.  He scrutinizes the Church's arguments, which are based on both the Bible and natural law, and finds them wanting.  (New York: Continuum, 2003)
Myers, David G., and Letha Dawson ScanzoniWhat God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay MarriageChurch teaching"Myers and Scanzoni, active Christians and experts in the field of marriage and sexuality, make a convincing argument in support of gay marriage, for conservative as well as liberal reasons, this book will prove invaluable for everyone looking for a readable, concise, and authoritative summary of the gay marriage debate." Library Journal.  (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005)
National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Statement of the Bishops Committee on Marriage and FamilyAlways Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral MinistersPastoral MinistryPastorally sensitive message to parents. (Washington: USCC, 1997.)   Always Our Children
Nelson, TomAn Ordinary CatholicExperienceAn Ordinary Catholic is the poignant tale of a life-long traditional Catholic and University of Notre Dame alumnus; a tale that relates how Tom Nelson nearly lost his gay son to suicide; how he was subsequently forced to face the contradictions between his love for his son and the Church’s lack of compassionate inclusion for all God’s children. His mind-opening journey led him to challenge other elements of Church teaching as well, but the ultimate conclusion and final assessment of his life-long spiritual growth is the theme of the book: love.(available at or Search for: "An Ordinary Catholic")
New Ways MinistryHomosexuality: A Positive Catholic Perspective, Questions and Answers about Gay/Lesbian LifePastoral Ministry“New Ways Ministry continues to broaden our understanding of personal sexual integrity and urges us, the Church, not only not to fear our gay/lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ, but also to respect, love, and support them. This book is a good read, especially recommended to pastoral ministers.” –Bishop Leroy Matthiesen (ISBN 0-935877-02-9, 2003)
Nugent, Robert, and Jeannine GramickBuilding Bridges: Gay and Lesbian Reality and the Catholic ChurchChurch teachingExamines the situation of gay and lesbian people in the Catholic Church today and calls for compassion and reason from those in authority. (Mystic, CT:  Twenty-Third Publications, 1992)
Olyan, Saul M., and Nussbaum, Martha C. (Eds.)Sexual Orientation and Human RightsHuman rightsPromotes both academic and public understanding of the different positions that exist on sexual orientation and its public policy dimensions within the four major U.S. religious traditions.  (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998)
Peddicord, RichardGay & Lesbian RightsHuman rights"Peddicord looks at the personal and social sides of homosexuality, and fairly examines all sides of the Roman Catholic response." --Lisa Sowle Cahill. (Sheed & Ward, 1996)
Robinson, Bishop GeoffreyConfronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of JesusChurch teaching“Going back to the Bible and, above all, to the teaching of Jesus, he presents an approach to sexual morality that is profound, compassionate, and people-centered. He stresses the priority of the hierarchy of holiness over the hierarchy of power.” –back cover (Collegeville MN: Liturgical Press, 2007)
Salzman, Todd & Lawler, MichaelThe Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology Church teaching“… a piece of extensive, well-researched, and carefully argued scholarship. The authors are respectful, intelligent, honest, thorough, and courageous. They will alarm a few people, enlighten many, and hold all to a new standard of rigor in approaching this very personal and politicized subject.” –Lisa Sowle Cahill (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2008)
Salzman, Todd & Lawler, MichaelSexual Ethics: A Theological IntroductionChurch teaching“… a Catholic book on sexual morality that ‘people in the pews’ and ‘my students’ can understand is the origin of this book…. more readable (than The Sexual Person, written primarily for theologians) and therefore more enlightening on common questions about sexual morality as they arise for Catholics in the contemporary world.” –from the Prologue (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2012)
Schexnayder, James F.Setting the TablePastoral Ministry“The book offers helpful suggestions of pastors and members of the LGBT community on how the Church, particularly at the parish level, may engage and integrate LGBT persons into the life and ministries of the Church.” –Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan (ISBN 1461146348, 2011)
Shinnick, MauriceThis Remarkable Gift - Being Gay and CatholicExperienceWritten by a priest, this book combines real-life stories and experience.  Considered, prayerful, faithful analysis of Church teaching, especially in light of Vatican II.  (St. Leonards, Australia: Allen and Unwin, 1997)
Siker, Jeffrey (Ed.)Homosexuality in the Church:  Both Sides of the DebateChurch teachingAuthorities on scripture, tradition, reason, biology, ethics and gendered experience discuss the place of homosexual people in the community of faith.  Each perspective is explored by two writers: one more traditional, the other challenging the tradition.  (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1994)
Sullivan, Andrew (Ed.)Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and ConChurch teachingAn anthology of 2000 years of argument on same-sex partnerships.  (New York: Vintage Books, 1997)
Tigert, Leanne McCall, and Maren C. TirabassiTransgendering Faith: Identity, Sexuality & SpiritualityPastoral MinistryA resource to help churches respond with love and care to transgender people in our society, both those within the Christian community and those who find themselves outside its doors.  (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2004)
Tigert, Leanne McCall, and Timothy BrownComing Out Young and FaithfulPastoral MinistryStories and information, including ministry and advocacy resources, that will help individuals and faith communities open doors of affirmation, love and commitment to the needs of GLBT youth and young adults.  (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2001)
United States Catholic ConferenceHuman Sexuality: A Catholic Perspective for Education and Lifelong LearningChurch teachingContains perhaps the most sensitive official summary of church teaching on homosexuality.  (Washington, DC: USCC, 1991) Human Sexuality: A Catholic Perspective for Education and Lifelong Learning
United States Conference of Catholic BishopsMinistry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral CarePastoral MinistryControversial guidelines developed without consulting those directly affected gay & lesbian Catholics and those who minister with them.  2006  Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination
Whitehead, Evelyn Eaton and Whitehead, James D. Wisdom of the Body: Making Sense of Our SexualityPastoral MinistryA resource for Christians wanting to reclaim their sexuality as a good and graced reality.  Includes a chapter on "Christian and Homosexual: The Paths of Love."  New York: Crossroad, 2001)
Wink, Walter (Ed.).Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the ChurchesChurch teachingShort essays from church leaders - Protestant and Catholic, mainline and evangelical - who address fundamental moral imperatives about homosexuality.  (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999)
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