You can listen to “Plague” on Apple Podcasts  here, on Google Play  here or on Spotify here.

On the debut episode of “Plague,” America’s Michael O'Loughlin investigates the untold stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church. The release of the first episode coincides with World AIDS Day.

Mike is America’s national correspondent and he’s covered Catholicism for more than a decade. Mike is also gay and Catholic—and he’s curious how others have managed this sometimes complex identity in the past.

Through dozens of interviews and archival research, he’s found that no time in modern history was more volatile for gay Catholics than the height of the AIDS epidemic.

In this first episode, Mike tells the story of David Pais, whose journey exemplifies the experience of many gay Catholics who were personally affected by the AIDS epidemic in the early days. He describes the role his faith played helping him cope with his own diagnosis—and his struggle as he walked away from the church in anger.

“I distinctly stepped away—bolted might be a better term,” David told Mike on “Plague.”

“I can't spend all my time and energy, angry and fighting the church, when I have to use it for survival.”

David was one of many gay people protesting the church. But eventually, he decided to try and find his way back.

“It took me some time to realize that I’m as Catholic as the pope, and that my baptismal consecration made me as legitimate a Catholic as anybody else,” David said. “And nobody's kicking me out of my house.”

Learn more about Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church at americamag.org/plague

You can listen to “Plague” on Apple Podcasts  here, on Google Play  here or on Spotify here.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

The latest from america

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks to reporters after House Republicans voted to oust her from her leadership post on May 12. In a speech before the vote, Ms. Cheney reportedly championed the importance of being a “party based on truth.” (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Republicans have booted Liz Cheney for resisting the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. This move could boomerang on those who champion the truths of tradition and faith.
Stephen Chow, S.J. (photo courtesy the Chinese Province of the Society of Jesus) 
The diocese has been without a bishop since Jan. 3, 2019, when Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung died after leading the diocese for just 17 months.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 17, 2021
Pope Francis brought consolation and hope to Catholics and countless people of other religions in Myanmar when he celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica this Sunday morning for peace in their troubled homeland, which was robbed of democracy by a military coup on Feb. 1.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 16, 2021
Pope Francis today expressed his “very great concern” at the armed clashes in Gaza and Israel and made an urgent, passionate appeal “to those with the responsibility” to bring a ceasefire and “to walk the path of peace.”
Gerard O’ConnellMay 16, 2021