Oct242014
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Highlights of DignityUSA's History: 1976

The following history is based on the commemorative booklet entitled DignityUSA at 25: A Chronology, 1969-1994 compiled by former DignityUSA President Pat Roche. Copies are available from the Dignity national office and were also printed in the Dignity Journal 27:2-3 (Autumn 1995). Highlights from 1995-Present compiled by former Dignity Vice President Pat McArron.
  • On January 16, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issues a document entitled Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics. In response to the document, Dignity issues a press release reaffirming "its call to the Church and the U.S. Bishops to appoint a committee of theologians, social scientists, and gay persons to more adequately study the question of homosexuality, its implications for Church and society."
  • On June 26, Dignity’s second annual National Day of Reconciliation of Gay Catholics and their Church is held.
  • On September 3, John J. McNeill, S.J. publishes The Church and the Homosexual. He is later forbidden by the Vatican "to write or speak on the issue of homosexuality in any of its aspects: theological, psychological or sociological." The Vatican also withdraws the imprimi Potest (permission topublish) granted two years earlier by McNeill’s Jesuit Provincial after four years of peer review by moral theologians both in the United States and Rome, all of whom approved publication.
  • On September 16, Paul Diederich and Father John McNeill appear on the Phil Donohue Show.
  • In October Dignity/New York, Inc. publishes the first edition of INSIGHT, a quarterly of gay Catholic Opinion. Printed on glossy paper, with 14 pages, the cover price is $1.00.

  • From October 21-23, Dignity is officially invited to participate in "Call to Action": U.S. Bishops’ Conference Liberty and Justice for All" in Detroit. The conference is designed to formulate a five-year plan of social action for the nations’ bishops. It is attended by 1400 delegates from every diocese including representatives from over one hundred Catholic organizations. Bishops from 110 dioceses also attend. Brian McNaught is the sole openly gay delegate representing Dignity to the conference although Sister Jeannine Gramick, Father Bob Nugent and several members of Dignity/Detroit are on hand to help Brian lobby the delegates in support of Dignity’s resolutions.
  • The November issue of the national newsletter reports the Call to Action conference made the following historical recommendations:

    "... that the Church actively seek to serve the pastoral needs of those persons with a homosexual orientation; to root out those structures and attitudes which discriminate against homosexuals as persons and to join the struggle by homosexual men and women for their basic constitutional rights to employment housing and immigration ...."

    ".... that the Church fight in society and within its own structures discrimination based on ‘sexual orientation’"

    "...that the Church encourage and affirm the pastoral efforts of Dignity, the organization of gay and concerned Catholics to reconcile the Church with its homosexual"