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News Archive (2014)

Why I Joined the DignityUSA Board

By Victor Postemski, DignityUSA Board member 

For many years I have served in various capacities within my local chapter, Dignity/Boston. There, I served as a member of the Board of Directors, a term as chapter vice president and two terms as chapter president. I loved the joys and challenges of supporting my local community. It wasn’t until I attended the 2009 DignityUSA Convention in San Francisco that I felt called to join the Board. I loved the Convention speakers, panels, sessions, and strong sense of community that I could feel permeating everything that weekend. It was my first Dignity convention and I was hooked!

The Time is Now

By Jim Smith, DignityUSA Associate Director

“A man can kill with a knife of steel, with a gun, a bomb or a lance. But there's a new law, there’s a new law - a man can kill with a glance.”

Some of you may remember this tune, sung in Catholic churches in the 70’s. Twist that last phrase just a bit and you describe a new law in 2014: “a man can be killed because of a glance.” Surfacing now in some countries are laws and bills that criminalize LGBT persons for associating with other LGBT persons or with LGBT-supportive organizations. People right now are being rounded up, taunted, even imprisoned, for any public displays of association, affection, or support.

Reflections on the Creating Change Conference

By Patrick Gordon, Dignity/Twin Cities 

Creating Change is perhaps the largest regular gathering of LGBT people in the entire nation. Each year, thousands of people come from all over the country to engage in several days of celebration, education, activism, and love. To paint you a picture of this year’s event: approximately 4000 LGBT professionals from organizations of all kinds come together to hear 4 plenary speakers and attended 390 workshops, training sessions, meetings, and events over 5 days. Attendance at this year’s event was the highest in the organization’s history.

Dignity Members Lead Workshop on Courageous Conversations

By Tierra Ortiz-Rodriguez, Dignity/Houston President 

So many themes emerged from the Creating Change conference hosted in Houston this year, and powerful words like “intersectional justice,” “vulnerability,” and “preferred pronouns” became the common tongue for over 4,000 attendees. The theme of our Dignity-sponsored workshop was about having “compassionate, courageous, and respectful conversations” with others, especially those among our fellow Catholics who are ambivalent about marriage equality for a variety of reasons. Joining me were Patrick Gordon, a young adult from Dignity/Twin Cities, and Jim Smith, Dignity/Twin Cities and Associate Director of DignityUSA.

2015 Convention Seeking Volunteers

The National Convention in Seattle will be July 2-5, 2015, just 16 months away. We are getting geared up and ready for you to join us.

We are looking for people to help out on our committees. You do not need to be in the Great Northwest to work on the Convention: it is a national endeavor and we need people from all over the country. If you have special skills and interest in any of the aspects it takes to put on a convention- WE NEED YOU! We are looking for people to work on committees for advertising, programming, finance, registration, and many other areas. If interested, please contact info@dignityusa.org.

Diversity in the Ranks

By Jim Smith, DignityUSA Associate Director 

On a visit to Dignity/Houston, I had the pleasure to see their President, Tierra Ortiz-Rodriguez, in action. What is somewhat unique about this chapter President is that Tierra is not Catholic. Her deep interest in the work of justice and her sense that humans are made for community, among other reasons, are what drew Tierra to the Catholic community. Tierra is also straight, and a strong ally to LGBT persons and families. Dignity’s mission to call the Church and society to fully embrace the dignity and equality of LGBT persons and families attracted her to Dignity/Houston (and before that, Dignity/Honolulu). Tierra works as an organizer at Houston’s LGBT community hub, the Montrose Center.

Pope Expresses "Breathtaking" Openness to Possibility of Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions says Catholic Gay Group

~~Boston, MA. March 5, 2014. In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, published March 5, Pope Francis made groundbreaking statements that suggest the possibility of support from the Vatican for civil unions between same-sex couples. In general, the Vatican and Catholic bishops around the world have previously attacked the notion of civil unions, along with same-sex marriage.

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16,000 U.S. Catholics Respond to Pope Francis' Call for Input on Family Issues

In November 2013 fifteen U.S. Catholic organizations responded to the Vatican’s call for bishops globally to survey Catholics on family issues.  While bishops’ conferences throughout Europe and Asia made their surveys public, the U.S. bishops put forth no unified effort to survey the laity. 

The online questionnaire was completed by more that 16,000 Catholics in English and Spanish, and inspired a similar survey used in Ireland.

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A Mystic In Our Midst

by Jim Smith

I was asked by Marianne Duddy-Burke to invite long-time Dignity member Joe Gentilini to be a guest on a Queer Catholic Faith webshow. I obliged, having no knowledge of this guy or his selection of his journal entries he organized into a book. In advance of the QCF webshow, I bought the book, and when it arrived, I cracked it open to read because this is what an interviewer does when an author is guest. Call it due diligence.

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