Daniel A. Helminiak: American author, priest and theologian (1942-) | Biography, Bibliography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Daniel A. Helminiak
American author, priest and theologian

Daniel A. Helminiak

Daniel A. Helminiak
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American author, priest and theologian
Is Religious scholar Theologian Writer Psychologist Educator Priest
From United States of America
Field Academia Healthcare Literature Religion
Gender male
Birth 20 November 1942, Pittsburgh
Age 80 years
Star sign Scorpio
The details (from wikipedia)


Daniel A. Helminiak (born November 20, 1942 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American Catholic priest, theologian and author. He is a professor in the Department of Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology at the University of West Georgia, near Atlanta. There from 1995 to 1997 and 2000 to the present, he has regularly taught Human Sexuality, Statistics for the Social Sciences, Foundations of Neuroscience, and Animal Mind. On the graduate level he has taught courses related to the psychology of spirituality, which is his specialization and the focus of his research, lecturing, and writing. He is most widely known for his international best-seller What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality (1994, 2000).

Early Life and Education

Helminiak was born (1942) and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a Polish Catholic community on the South Side. He frequently refers to this experience in his popular writings on spirituality and community. He attended parochial grade and high schools and at age seventeen entered seminary to study for the priesthood at Our Lady of the Lake Seminary, Syracuse, IN, and St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, PA, where he was awarded a BA in philosophy (1964). He completed graduate studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, earning an STB (1966) and an STL (1968), Bachelor and License in Sacred Theology, and was ordained there at the pope's parish church, St. John Lateran Basilica (1967). He served as Associate Pastor of SS. Simon and Jude Church in Scott Township (Pittsburgh) for four years and subsequently pursued an educational ministry, serving as junior faculty-member at St. Mary Seminary, Baltimore, MD (1972-1973), completing a PhD in systematic theology in the Joint Doctoral Program of Boston College and Andover Newton Theological School (1979), serving as Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology and Spirituality at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio (1981-1985), completing an MA in personality theory at Boston University (1983) with a thesis that became Part I of his book Spiritual Development, and earning a second PhD in Human Development at The University of Texas at Austin (1994).

Career and Work

Helminiak was elected a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, was certified as a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and is licensed as a Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Georgia. Also in 1995, Helminiak submitted to the Vatican a formal resignation from active ministry although he remains a priest according to Catholic teaching: "Once a priest, always a priest." As is not uncommon, the Vatican never responded to his resignation, which fact he takes jokingly to mean that the Vatican is allowing him to continue to speak for the Catholic Church.

From 1975 to 1978 at Boston College, Helminiak served as teaching assistant to Prof. Bernard J. F. Lonergan, SJ (1904-1984), the philosopher, theologian, economist, and methodologist whom Newsweek styled the Thomas Aquinas of the twentieth century. Lonergan is reputed to have integrated classical philosophy with contemporary science and, in the process, to have resolved the Kantian problem of knowing the "thing in itself." Building on the thought of giants of the Western Tradition—such as Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, Hegel, Newman, Einstein, Hilbert, Gödel, Heisenberg—Lonergan portrays the human mind as a self-transcending, normatively structured, self-correcting dynamism geared to the universe of "being," all that there is to be known and loved. He refers to this dimension of the mind as intentional consciousness and frequently also as the human spirit.

Taking Lonergan seriously, Helminiak used his analysis of consciousness or human spirit to develop a theory of spirituality that is grounded in humanity and only subsequently and optionally, although naturally, opens onto questions of God and human relationship and possible union with God. This humanistic emphasis is the uniqueness of Helminiak's psychology of spirituality, which claims to depict the spiritual core that runs through all religions and cultures. Helminiak's two-volume technical study, The Human Core of Spirituality and Religion and the Human Sciences, provides detailed elaboration of this theory. Brain, Consciousness, and God stands as an overall synthesis and grounded argument for this theory. In collaboration with Drs. Barnet D. Feingold (Veterans Administration, retired) and David Jenks (University of West Georgia) Helminiak is pursuing field research on this theory.

What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality

What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality, first released in 1994 and published in a significantly up-dated "Millennium Edition" in 2000, is Helminiak's best known book and overshadows his other, and probably ultimately more significant, contributions. As of 2016, the book has sold well over 100,000 copies and in addition has been published in Portuguese (Brazil), Polish, Spanish (Spain and Columbia), Korean, French, Czech, and Chinese. It popularizes recent scholarship that understands the biblical texts within their original historical and cultural settings. As conclusively as historical research is ever likely to allow, this book shows that, taken for what the texts originally intended, far from condemning, the Bible is basically indifferent to same-sex relationships, as was most of the ancient world. The Bible contains no condemnation of lesbian sex. The prohibition of Leviticus 18:22, against "man lying with man as with a woman," pertains solely to anal penetration, not to other male-male sexual practices, and rests on concern about ancient Jewish ritual taboos ("purity"), not hygiene, idolatrous rituals, opposition to Gentile practices, or more recent ethical beliefs about the nature of sex or the complementarity of the sexes. The most important Christian text on same-sex behavior, Romans 1:26-27, refers back to Leviticus ("God gave them up to impurity," Romans 1:24) and, following Jesus, dismisses the purity requirements of the "Old Law" as irrelevant for Christians ("Nothing is unclean in itself," Romans 14:14). The "unnatural" of Romans 1:26 is a mistranslation of Paul's popular usage of the otherwise technical Stoic Greek term para physin, which, without ethical implications, should read "atypical" or "non-standard." As long as the Biblical Literalists advance an anti-gay agenda, this book continues to sell steadily, month after month, year after year.

Books by Helminiak

  • Brain, Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration (State University of New York Press, 2015, I978-1-4384-5716-1).
  • Spirituality for Our Global Community: Beyond Traditional Religion to a World at Peace (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7425-5917-2).
  • The Transcended Christian: What Do You Do When You Outgrow Your Religion? (updated and expanded edition, 2013, self-published, available at amazon.com, ISBN 9781492850045; originally The Transcended Christian: Spiritual Lessons for the Twenty-first Century, Alyson Books, 2007, ISBN 155583-860-X).
  • Sex and the Sacred: Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth (Haworth / Harrison Park, 2006, ISBN 1-56023-342-7). This integration of sexuality and spirituality uses homosexuality as the telling test case. It introduces a fully psychological / humanistic approach to spirituality and later addresses specific religious issues including sexual ethics, Fundamentalism, and Vatican teaching.
  • Meditation without Myth: What I Wish They'd Taught Me in Church about Prayer, Meditation, and the Quest for Peace (Crossroad Publishing Co., 2005, ISBN 0-8245-2308-3). This is a popular three-part presentation of Helminiak's psychology of spirituality applied to the specific topic, meditation—practically, how to do it; psychologically, why it works; and religiously, what it means.
  • What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality (Alamo Square Press, 1994, 2000 ISBN 1-886360-09-X; now available on Kindle through amazon.com).
  • Religion and the Human Sciences: An Approach via Spirituality (State University of New York Press, 1998, ISBN 0-7914-3806-6).
  • The Human Core of Spirituality: Mind as Psyche and Spirit (State University of New York Press, 1996, ISBN cloth 0-7914-2949-0, paper 0-7914-2950-4).
  • Spiritual Development: An Interdisciplinary Study (Loyola University Press, 1987, ISBN 0-8294-0530-5, out of print).
  • The Same Jesus: A Contemporary Christology (Loyola University Press, 1986, ISBN 0-8294-0521-6, out of print).

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