Abstract: The construction of AIDS by the American Catholic bishops has been problematic for many Americans, activists and public health officials alike. The American bishops, while calling for a greater compassion and justice for people living with AIDS, have used this epidemic as an occasion to shore up a sexual ethic that is increasingly difficult for many American Catholics to accept. In so doing, they have set themselves at odds with what has become a legitimate and significant culture in the United States over the last few decades, namely, the gay community which has come to play such a pivotal role in the larger American discourse on AIDS. Indeed, the interaction between the bishops and the gay community has often revealed what John Courtney Murray once called “the structure of war”, a matter of political maneuvers and clashing interests rather than genuine listening and respectful dialogue. This structure of war must give way to the structure of an orderly conversation. The bishops, from their side, must be willing to listen genuinely to the collective wisdom acquired by the gay community, even despite that community’s difference of opinion regarding certain Catholic moral teachings. At the same time, gay leaders must be willing to let go of anti-Catholic bigotry and stereotypes and acknowledge the valuable contribution that Catholicism can offer the American discourse on AIDS, particularly its rich traditions regarding human community, social justice, and the meaning of human suffering. Central to this renewed conversation can be a significant number of Catholic AIDS ministers who are able to provide an important link between the gay community and the hierarchy by articulating the experiences of gay people with AIDS in traditionally Catholic terms. Central to it also must be the recognition by both communities of a larger American conspiracy, a larger moral universe capable of holding us all–with our diversity of unique cultures, our diverse values and symbols, and our varied ways of living and loving.