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Gay priest, author to visit USF

By MICHAEL PATRICK WELCH

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 20, 2000


In the late '60s, ordained priest, psychotherapist and author John McNeill founded DIGNITY, a national support group for Christian gays and lesbians. DIGNITY's Tampa chapter celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

McNeill's long crusade has focused on the Roman Catholic Church and the anti-homosexual teachings of the Vatican. In 1976, the Vatican gave McNeill permission to publish The Church and the Homosexual, which McNeill hoped would "begin a public debate on Church teachings that would eventually lead to the Church's revision of its understanding of homosexuality," McNeill states on his Web site. Offended by the book, the Vatican prohibited McNeill from speaking out and rescinded its support of his book. For nine years, he obeyed.

McNeill has since gone on to write three more books, including his autobiography, Both Feet Planted Firmly in Midair, which details his struggles as a gay priest. Most of his writing centers on the Catholic Church's anti-gay teachings and what McNeill views as the its misinterpretation of the Bible regarding homosexuality.

If you go

WHAT: John McNeill, advocate for gay and lesbian Christians, to speak at USF

WHEN: 8 p.m., Oct. 26

WHERE: Room 296, Phyllis P. Marshall Center, USF's Tampa campus

COST: Free

CALL: (813) 974-2893

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