The complicated history of AIDS and the Catholic Church

Nursing students treat a patient in the AIDS ward of Saint Vincent's Hospital in the 1980s. (Courtesy: Archives, Sisters of Charity of New York)

The story of Catholics and the AIDS epidemic in the United States is often told as one of “gays versus the church.” But the reality was much more complicated. So complicated that our colleague, Michael O’Loughlin, has spent years talking to people who lived through that harrowing period to paint a fuller picture of how Catholic patients and activists, religious sisters and bishops, hospital administrators and volunteers responded to the crisis. And now you can hear their stories in a new podcast from America Media, “Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church.”

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We ask Michael how the church was a source of both healing and hurt, whether the relationship between the church and the L.G.B.T. community has changed since the height of the epidemic and what the deep faith of gay Catholics who lived through this period can teach us today.

In Signs of the Times, a Jesuit priest wants to create a less toxic gaming environment and Pope Francis wants you to set up a nativity scene. Plus, a groundbreaking new survey of Catholic employees and a Catholic school faces a lawsuit over what critics consider a racially discriminatory hair policy.

Tell us what you think about the episode on our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and help other listeners find Jesuitical by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts. Please consider supporting the show by becoming a member of our Patreon community. Patrons get access to an exclusive newsletter written by one of your hosts each week!

Links from the show

A Catholic Priest is Creating a Non-Toxic Minecraft Server
Questions Of Faith: Exclusive Survey of Catholic Church Employees
NYC Catholic schools hold fast on boys’ braid bans despite laws banning hair discrimination
Pope Francis, at site of first nativity scene, issues letter on the importance of the crèche

What’s on tap?

St. Germain hot toddy

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