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'Controversial' gay Catholic book fails to launch in China

The collection of stories and articles aims to help church authorities reflect on how best to care for this group

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

Updated: November 08, 2016 09:23 AM GMT
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'Controversial' gay Catholic book fails to launch in China

A rainbow flag, a symbol of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community is seen in front of the city skyline in Hong Kong in this file photo. (Photo by AFP) 

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A collection of stories was set to break the silence on gay Catholics in China but publication has stalled because publishers in China have so far ignored the volume.

The book May your lips kiss mine-Chinese Tongzhi (LGBT) Catholics Tales contains 50 stories about gay Catholics and their family members from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Chinese communities in Malaysia. It is hoped that the publication will help church authorities reflect on how best to care for gay Catholics in China.

But even though the volume is finished, Eros Shaw, editor and founder of the China Catholic Rainbow Community, has yet to find a publisher.

"When I was still editing the book, I started to contact Christian or LGBT publishing companies in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia hoping to get it published," he said. "I hope, of course, it can be published by a Catholic publisher. But I understand, at this moment, none want to take it."

"The book includes testimonies from gay Catholics, their parents and straight friends. There are also contributions from some priests and laypeople who provide pastoral care to this community," Shaw said.

Together with analysis pieces and non-fiction articles, the book comes in four parts: personal stories, theories, charity and literature and art.

"This book reflects the real life of gay Catholics in China that the church should know more about," said Father Joseph, a priest in northern China who offers pastoral care to the gay community.

"The church should not ignore their existence but give more care and understanding to help them walk the path of life and faith. This book is very realistic and has pastoral significance," he said.

A gay Catholic who asked not to be name recalled priests’ attitude when he confessed his orientation to them. "I experienced criticism, curiosity and understanding from these experiences, I generally suffered and experienced disappointment more often than hope," he told ucanews.com.

"Our work has been to remove misunderstandings between the church and gay Catholics. We are not just working for gays, we are working for the whole Catholic community," he said.

However, Shaw is still to get a Catholic publisher. Francis Yeung , the owner of Talentum Bookshop, a Catholic publisher in Hong Kong said his firm refused to publish the book in order to be a "neutral medium."

"They contacted me and I refused. If we publish a book about pro gay Catholics, we have to publish another one with an opposite opinion. This is our stance," Yeung told ucanews.com

Also, it is "difficult to publish on this topic" as it will "cause controversy," he said.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" but adds, however, that gay persons "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity."

 

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