By Father Tony
John J. McNeill, an 83 year old ex-Jesuit and founder of Dignity New York, has certainly earned the right to be called the strongest gay voice of the Roman Catholic Church in America. His recently published Sex As God Intended: A Reflection on Human Sexuality as Play crowns his four earlier books about gay sexuality and Christianity with a wisdom and vision that make this an inspiring resource for anyone who has ever felt that gay might be godly. It would also provide an excellent and complete outline and agenda for anyone teaching a course on the subjects of gay sexuality, feminism and the patriarchy of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
I was eager to read this because I wanted to hear the voice of the old soldier. I was curious to know the mindset of a life spent fighting for gay rights, arguing with the stubborn Roman Catholic Church, counseling LGBT people and living with the same man for decades. Would he be bitter or tired, I wondered. I am happy to report that he is neither, and I should be so lucky as to write when I am his age with the clarity, warmth and sensible prophecy he brings to the page.
Father Tony, a Roman Catholic priest who has been on an extended vacation from that vocation for many years, has, for the last four years, written the free-ranging “boutique” blog called Farmboyz/Perge Modo.
Father Tony and his partner, Chris, have been together for twenty-five years, and occasionally consider getting married. They divide their time between homes in Fort Lauderdale and Manhattan where Father Tony is a writing coach and web editor.To prepare for the priesthood, he went to live in a seminary where he was the youngest of six hundred students ranging in age from fourteen to twenty-five. After two weeks in the seminary, he realized that he and everyone else therein was gay and that it was not to be discussed. Twelve years later, after spending four years in the Vatican, he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest. He worked for five years in an urban parish in New England before deciding to explore other lifestyles. He became the Chief Financial Officer of a large state agency before taking a very early retirement in 2007.