Many of you will recall the horrendous way in which the Catholic Church hierarchy responded to the AIDS crisis. Many blamed homosexual sex and refused to endorse condoms for heterosexuals. It was extremely hard for me to hang in there in this period, and I had to take months away from Mass after various appalling statements. It was a time when I first experienced the love of God and the intimacy of Jesus in contrast to the church that claimed to represent Him on earth. But it was not the only story. On the ground, many lay Catholics, priests, and nuns defied the hierarchy and came to the aid of the young and sick and dying. Michael O’Loughlin, another gay Catholic, has written a book, “Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics, and the Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear,” about this other story. We talked faith, sex, disease, and redemption.
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