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After the Wrath of GodAIDS, Sexuality, and American Religion$
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Anthony M. Petro

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199391288

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391288.001.0001

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Ecclesiastical Authority

Ecclesiastical Authority

Aids, Sexuality, and The American Catholic Church

(p.91) Chapter Three Ecclesiastical Authority
After the Wrath of God

Anthony M. Petro

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines American Catholic debates regarding AIDS education in the 1980s. It focuses on Cardinal John O’Connor of New York City, who served on the President’s AIDS Commission. O’Connor spoke out against the use of condoms in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, which sparked intense debate both in New York and nationally about the role of the Catholic Church in public health matters. The chapter places O’Connor within the larger context of battles over gay rights in New York City and the history of Catholic sexual ethics. By showing how Catholic leaders consistently discussed AIDS in relation to homosexuality, it demonstrates the powerful role of the church in shaping moral and medical discussions of the disease.

Keywords:   Catholic church, John J. O’Connor, gay and lesbian rights, New York City, Catholic morality, Catholic theology

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