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TDR: The Drama Review 45.4 (2001) 99

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At Odds With Church Over Sexuality

[Performances of Self-Disclosure]

A gay priest who gave up Notre Dame drama professor post after coming out has written a play that is a manifesto for tolerance.

Mary Rourke
Times Staff Writer

Last year, Father David Garrick gave up a secure life as a member of the Holy Cross Fathers and his position as a drama professor on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame. He was convinced that it was the only way he could be open about his homosexuality and his belief that being gay is normal.

While the Roman Catholic Church refers to homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered," Garrick, 56, believes marriage and fidelity ought to be encouraged for gays and lesbians, just as they are for straight couples.

No longer a Holy Cross Father but still a priest, Garrick is letting his views be known in a play he wrote and directed under the pen name of David Ste. Croix. "A Difficult Patient" is being performed in North Hollywood through Nov. 22.

The play tells the story of Jimmy, a gay activist, and Lysses, who loves him but is grappling with his own homosexuality. One therapist tries to turn Lysses straight, but another later helps him accept himself. Set in the early 1970s, the lovers' drama weaves through events that led to the American Psychiatric Assn.'s decision to remove homosexuality from its official list of diseases in 1973.

"It's the gay 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,'" said Garrick, who sees the piece as a manifesto defending gay love and marriage as normal, based on recent psychological research. "Church leaders need to revisit the gay issue from the point of view of psychology."

Religion is not mentioned in his play, except for a reference to the Book of Job. But Garrick's plot goes against church teaching in sanctioning vows of mutual commitment for gay lovers.

"The Catholic Church needs to instruct gay and lesbian couples, just as it does straight couples who plan to marry," he said.

Fair in complexion, with a fringe of silvery hair that adds to an ethereal appearance, Garrick is still making peace with his departure from Notre Dame and his subsequent resignation from his religious order in June 1999.

Those who knew him in Indiana are still wondering whether Garrick is a saintly prophet or the misguided victim of his own strong will. His onetime colleagues and fellow priests seem to agree that there are no villains or heroes in his personal story. Garrick said all did what they believed to be right. [...]

The Los Angeles Times, 4 November 2000:B2



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