restricted access The Church and the AIDS Crisis in New York City

This article examines the Catholic response to the AIDS epidemic in New York City during the 1980s, the disease’s first decade, looking at three distinct, but overlapping, spheres—the development of AIDS ministry within Catholic health care, the evolution of the Church’s moral teaching on homosexuality, and the struggle of gay Catholics to secure pastoral recognition. It reveals how the AIDS crisis gave rise to encounters between the Catholic Church and the gay community that would shape their relationship in inescapable and transformative ways. Perhaps most poignantly, in giving visibility to the gay community and its sufferings, the AIDS crisis prompted the Catholic Church to grapple with the issue of homosexuality not in the abstract, but in face-to-face encounters with persons with AIDS.