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The RoundTable

Living the Beloved Community: Homosexuality

Winter 2006

Major Articles

  • A Scorching Sun, Two Brides, and the Community that Proclaims “Amen!” –Mark Chmiel
  • The Evolution of Attitudes of Psychology and Psychiatry to Homosexuality – Ken Haller, MD
  • One Holy Family – Joan Lafferty
  • Homosexuality and the Bible – Rev. Dr. Walter Wink
  • Confronting Heterosexual Privilege – Christen E. Parker
  • Claiming Our Prophetic Voices – Kara Speltz


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Saint Louis, MO  63106

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Regular Features

  • Cover – Jenny Truax
  • Why This Issue – Annjie Schiefelbein
  • Centerfold – From the American Psychological Association  - Jenny Truax
  • From Abroad – National CW Gathering – Jenny Truax
  • From Kabat House – Carolyn Griffeth
  • From Karen House – Teka Childress
  • RoundTable Talk – Tony Hilkin

Why This Issue:


In 1994 the Toronto Catholic Worker published a series of essays in their publication, The Mustard Seed regarding homosexuality within the Catholic Worker movement. It was a bold move, considering how little (if any) attention had been paid to the topic by other Catholic Worker communities.


In 1994 the St. Louis Catholic Worker published a response-by way of the Round Table. It was not a position statement, rather a "round table discussion" as it was titled. There was no consensus within the community or articles. The authors ranged from community members' perspectives (gay and straight), former workers, scholars, and a Jesuit priest. While there were no lines drawn in that edition, for the community to tackle such a topic seemed almost courageous.


In 1994, I was one of the authors presented. I identified myself as straight, an ally to the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender (GLBT) community. I wrote that it didn't matter which gender you were inclined to love, that following your heart in truth was the desire of God. Funny how things happen, isn't it? In 1999 I found out how true that was, as I found myself inclined to fall in love with Jenny Truax. We met at Karen House, and our identities and relationship evolved with the love, support, and challenge of this community. This process was much easier for us because we were already individually loved by our community.


Now, in 2006, this community has decided to revisit the issue of homosexuality. We decided it was time to specify where we stand as a Worker community. We have determined that different opinions on the topic are not what we want our last word on the issue to be. Science, personal relationships, and prayer have helped us realize that this is truly a justice issue.


This particular Round Table issue had already been planned and launched by the time the National Catholic Worker Gathering came around in October of this year. Jenny reports on the full Gathering on page 19. During the discussion on heterosexual privilege, it was gratifying to see folks from the movement discussing and moving forward on this topic.


With few exceptions, I have felt nothing but support from my community in my beginning wonderment with Jenny through our wedding a year and a half ago. We never sat down as a group to reach consensus about homosexuality, but somewhere in the process of loving each other, we came to the place where we now present this Round Table. It happened naturally, personally. And isn't that how God's life breaks through; isn't that how the world changes? Isn't that how the new society is created in the shell of the old: by loving the person in front of you and letting that love transform you both.


In the spirit of that love, we present this issue. A new regular column to the Round Table makes its debut in this edition. We have two new houses of hospitality in our midst: Carl Kabat Catholic Worker and Teka Childress Catholic Worker House. Carl Kabat House has begun offering hospitality to immigrants. Teka Childress (TC) House, in its 2nd year of being rehabbed, will offer long-term hospitality to one or two families of women and children from Karen House. These two new houses will share their life with us via a Round Table column, alternating between the houses each issue.


It has taken us 12 years to come back to our original response to the Mustard Seed from Toronto, but it is with great pleasure that we do so. Please enjoy!


– Annjie Schiefelbein



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