The Owls Nest
presents the author
John J. McNeill
is a psychotherapist, a moral theologian, teacher, scholar, writer and lecturer and has had many articles published in numerous journals, magazines and books.
After enlisting in the U.S. Army during
World War II at the age of seventeen, he served in combat in the Third
Army under General Patton and was captured in Germany in 1944. McNeill
spent six months as a POW (Prisoner of War) until he was liberated in May
John enrolled in Canisius College in Buffalo after his discharge from the army and, upon graduating, entered the Society of Jesus in 1948. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1959.
In 1964, he earned a Doctorate in Philosophy, with highest honors (Plus
Grande Distinction), at Louvain University in Belgium.
His memoirs entitled Both Feet Firmly Planted In Midair: My Spiritual Journey were published in September 1998 by Westminister/John Knox Press.
During his professional career,
- McNeill taught philosophy at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY, and in
the doctorate program at Fordham University in NYC.
- In 1972, he joined the combined Woodstock Jesuit Seminary and Union
Theological Seminary faculty as professor of Christian Ethics, specializing
in Sexual Ethics.
- In 1975, McNeill entered the graduate clinical program in Psychotherapy
at the Institutes of Religion and Health (IRH). After completing the program,
he began his private psychotherapy practice and became a member of the
faculty of the IRH teaching courses in "Object Relations Theory of
- For many years while on the faculty at IRH, he was Director of the
program in Pastoral Studies for inner city clergy at the Manhattan Branch.
- He is a former adjunct professor at Union Theological Seminary where he taught
courses on "Psychological and Spiritual Dimensions of Ministry to
Gays and Lesbians".
In 1974, John McNeill was co-founder of the
New York City chapter of Dignity, a group for Catholic gays and
lesbians. For over twenty-five years, he has been active in a ministry
to gay Christians through retreats, workshops, lectures, publications,
McNeill's major works on the subject of gay and lesbian liberation,
self-acceptance and spiritual maturity are as follows:
Click here for some of John's recently published articles.
- In 1976, The Church and the Homosexual was published. This book
was a re-evaluation of homosexuality from a moral and theological viewpoint.
It was published in four other languages: French, Spanish, Italian and
Danish. A fourth edition with a new preface was published by Beacon Press
- Other publications include "Homosexuality, Lesbianism and the
Future: Building a More Humane Society", in A Challenge to Love, ed.
by Robert Nugent, Crossroads Press, 1983.
- In 1988, his second major work on gay liberation theology, Taking
a Chance On God: Liberating Theology for Gays and Lesbians, Their Lovers,
Friends and Families, was published by Beacon Press. This book was
published in French and German in March of 1993, and Italian in October
- The most recent book, which examines the role interior freedom plays
in spiritual maturity, entitled Freedom, Glorious Freedom: The Spiritual
Journey to the Fullness of Life for Gays, Lesbians and Everybody Else,
published by Beacon Press was distributed early in February, 1995. It was
published in Italian in 1996.
- In 1993, he also published an article entitled Homosexuality and
Spirituality in The New Dictionary of Spirituality, (Liturgical Press,
- His article entitled Tapping Deeper Roots: Integrating the Spiritual
Dimension Into Professional Practice With Lesbian and Gay Clients was
published in The Journal of Pastoral Care, Vol. 48 No. 4, Winter 1994.
Select from the following titles for detailed descriptions, including some excerpts, of each of John McNeill's books.
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The honors John McNeill has received for his
dedicated work include, among many others:
- Grand Marshal of the New York City Gay Rights Parade in 1987;
- The National Human Rights Award in 1984 for his contributions to Lesbian
and Gay Rights;
- The 1989 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Blanton-Peale Institutes of Religion and Health;
- The Humanitarian Award in 1990 from the Association of Lesbian and
- The 1993 Distinguished Contribution Award of the Eastern Region American
Association of Pastoral Counselors for outstanding contribution to pastoral
- The United Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches Special Award
for his "dedicated work in spreading the Gospel to the lesbian/gay
- The 1997 Dignity/USA Prophetic Service Award "In Recognition of over 25 years of extraordinary work on behalf of the Catholic Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgenered Community";
- The 1999 Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco "Living Saint" Award;
- The 2005 Tom Dooley Award, Notre Dame Gay Alumni;
- The 2005 Roger Casement and Eva Gore-Booth Leadership Award presented by The Lavender and Green ALLiance, A Celebration of Irish Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Lives;
- The 2005 Gratitude Award presented by the Church of the Trinity MCC;
- The 2006 Spiritual Pioneer Award presented by the Easton Mountain Community;
- The 2007 Human Rights Campaign Lifetime Achievement Award;
- The 2007 National Gay & Lesbian TASK FORCE Lifetime Achievement Award;
- On October 4, 2009 New Ways Ministry will present to John McNeill The Building Bridges Award.
John McNeill on Maurice Blondel, Philosopher
Blondel’s philosophy remains one of the most brilliant contributions to the philosophy of religion in the past century. It contains insights that have never been duplicated in any other philosophy and consequently still deserves careful study now more than ever.
I will never forget the joy and excitement I felt the first time I began to read the philosophical and theological thought of Maurice Blondel. I was student of theology at Woodstock College, a Jesuit Theological Seminary in Maryland. The Rev. Father Sponga, the rector of the seminary, offered an optional course in Blondel’s thought, having just completed a doctoral study of Blondel at Fordham University. Upon reading Blondel’s words, I had what I call a “disciples of Emmaus experience” an experience of “my heart burning within me” and knew that I was dealing with a genius with an extraordinary and original insight into the problems and the needs of our times.
I hungered for a philosophical framework which I could use to integrate my religious faith with the deep insights coming from the human sciences, especially psychology, insights based in the self-consciousness of the human subject, At the same time, I was intensely aware of the inadequacies of traditional Thomistic philosophy to provide that framework.
So it is with great pleasure that I have compiled and created an archive of my studies
of the thought of Maurice Blondel, philosopher.
I invite you to go to the archive website, (click here =>) Maurice Blondel and explore
his important contributions and insights.
John McNeill can be reached by email at