DignityUSA, a national organization of LGBT and Ally Catholics, held their biennial convention in Seattle this past weekend, where they unanimously passed a resolution calling for “sacramental equality” in the Catholic Church.
“DignityUSA and its members call on the leaders and members of our Roman Catholic Church to ensure that all of the sacraments of our Church be administered regardless of the gender identity, sexual orientation, or relational status of the person(s) seeking the sacrament.”
In a press statement accompanying the resolution DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke explained the need for such a resolution:
“We [LGBT Catholics] can’t be fully equal if we are barred from any of our Church’s sacraments.
“Right now, we are officially banned from marriage and ordination, and often denied other sacraments, as well.
“We hear stories all the time of people told they cannot have Communion because they are gay, in a same-sex relationship, or civilly married. Many priests refuse to baptize the children of same-sex couples. A gay man in Washington, DC was denied ’last rites’ after suffering a heart attack. These incidents cause pain and alienation for us, and for our families, and create division within our Church.”
Duddy-Burke acknowledged that the hope for sacramental equality may take a while and a lot of effort to achieve. She stated:
“We know that it is going to take a lot of work, and probably many years, to achieve this goal. But having gained civil marriage equality in the US, we know that the miraculous is possible. We believe that rethinking how sacraments are administered will be good for everyone in the Catholic Church, because it will help us to live our belief in the intrinsic dignity and equality of every person as created and loved by God. This broadened understanding of the sacraments would apply not just to LGBT people, but to everyone, including women and married men and women seeking ordination, for example.”
The Dignity convention in Seattle, which had as its theme “God’s Love: Enduring as the Mountains, Endless as the Sea,” took place July 2-5, 2015, and attracted members and supporters from across the nation. Convention participants listened to plenary talks from Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, executive director of NETWORK and the organizer of “Nuns on the Bus” campaigns; Paul Coutinho, a scholar and international speaker on spirituality; and Dan Savage, nationally syndicated sex advice columnist and author.
New Ways Ministry’s Sister Jeannine Gramick participated in the convention as a breakout session leader, discussing the topic “Loving Our Opponents Without Losing Our Ground.” She also hosted a caucus session on current events in the Catholic LGBT world, and a small reception for convention participants who had been past pilgrims on New Ways Ministry’s LGBT-friendly Catholic pilgrimages around the globe.
The next Dignity convention will take place July 6-9, 2017, in Boston, under the theme “A Place at the Table.”
New Ways Ministry heartily supports DignityUSA’s quest for sacramental equality, and we will continue working to help make that dream a reality.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry