Dignity Toronto Dignité

Dignity Toronto Dignité meets on the second Saturday of each month at 2 pm at the 519 Church Street Community Centre located on Church Street (one block north of Wellesley Street).

For more information contact toronto@dignitycanada.org, and be sure to visit our webpage at dignitycanada.org and on Facebook.

2018-2019 Report from Dignity Toronto Dignité

We continue our quest to accompany our members on their journeys, as varied as they are, as well as to challenge the injustices both within and outside the Roman Catholic establishment, especially as they relate to our loves and lives as LGBT Christians. We continue to meet on the second Saturday of each month at the 519 Church Street Community Centre as we have since April 2012. Our current executive consists of: Michael Armstrong, Steve Taylor and Frank Testin.

Monthly Email Announcement

About a week before our monthly meetings, an email is sent to those on our list (about 60 persons) giving information on the upcoming meeting.  In addition, it lists other upcoming events, and presents a “Food for Thought” section with a 300-500-word quote from the writings of authors such as Marcus Borg, Ilia Delio, Daniel Helminiak, Geoffrey Robinson and Richard Rohr.  For four months, excerpts were presented from the Dignity Canada Dignité position paper “Cultivating Justice Love: Toward a Revision of Catholic Sexual Ethics” (February, 2019).

Meetings at the 519 Centre:

At our monthly meetings, we have developed a particular format which starts with a check-in, a reflection presented on a rotation basis by members, and usually a discussion based on a live presentation, DVD or printed materials.  We’ve also adopted the practice of closing the meeting with a shared prayer of petitions/thanks and the Lord’s prayer. Generally, we have 8-10 persons in attendance.

We viewed and discussed a number of video recordings from YouTube or other sources or DVDs at our monthly meetings. This included:

  • A video of a presentation on the sequence of books in the New Testament delivered by John Shelby Spong in Toronto three years ago.
  • The documentary "The Fruit Machine" about the persecution of LGBT persons in the Canadian federal public service and Canadian Armed Forces.
  • The documentary "Deep Fake" that was aired in December 2018 on The Fifth Estate about the manipulation of digital video and audio.
  • Video presentation by Gregory Boyle, S.J., on Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the U.S.A.
  • DVD of David Suzuki's "The Sacred Balance"

At our meetings at the 519 Centre, we also listened to and discussed the following audio recordings:

  • Recording from CBC Radio One's "Ontario Today" on transgender persons. Its guest was Rick Prashaw, author of “Soar, Adam, Soar”
  • Radio documentary "Shepherds or Scapegoats - Gay Priests" aired in the spring 2019 on CBC Radio One's Ideas.
  • (U.S.) Future Church podcast as part of its 2018-2019 series Power to the People: clericalism in the RC Church: Tom Doyle OP “The Role of Canon Law: From Clericalism to Collaboration”

At two monthly meetings, a chapter member presented talks on issues of religious language, and on contemplation in Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si. (On Care for our Common Home), 2015.  Finally, at a recent monthly meeting, the Dignity Canada president gave a report on the Third Assembly of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics held in Chicago June 30 – July 4.

The two co-authors of Cultivating Justice Love, met with several members in a member’s home to talk about the development of the national body’s position paper sent to the CCCB president on February 11.

Potluck Suppers: We have been holding monthly potluck suppers at members’ homes, usually on the fourth Tuesday of the month. (4-7 persons).

Ecumenical Good Friday Walk: We helped to plan for the event, and at least three members participated in the group of about 250. It started and ended at the Church of the Holy Trinity, an Anglican parish with a strong outreach to the homeless, located next to the Eaton Centre. There will likely be no walk in 2020, as the planning team decided to retire and no one else has stepped forward to take on the role.

Correspondence: On May 10, the chapter mailed five paper copies of Dignity Canada’s position paper (February 2019) to the Toronto archbishop and the four auxiliary bishops for their study and consideration.  No reply has been received.

Dignity Toronto Dignité Mission Statement

  1. To provide a safe place for LGBT/Q Catholics and allies to bear witness to the integrity and holiness of our lives and relationships, including opportunities for members to share our experiences as LGBT/Q and allied persons. This requires us to foster diversity and inclusion.  In response to Jesus’ invitation to become more fully human and alive, we aim to integrate our sexuality with our spirituality, and to     nurture self-acceptance.
  1. To work in collaboration with other Catholic organizations seeking reform in our church’s governance and official teachings, especially in the area of sexual ethics.  Acknowledging the large gap between what is officially taught and the actual beliefs, values and lives of most church members, we develop proposals for sexual theology, taking into account scripture, reason, scientific knowledge, tradition and the real-life experiences of our members.
  1. To bring about an increase in justice, transparency and accountability within the institutional church, we support the increased involvement of laity in governance structure, including decision-making roles.
  1. We advocate the acceptance of qualified persons in all church ministries, regardless of sexual orientation, gender or marital status, and commend Catholic parishes which offer LGBT/Q-affirming ministries.
  1. To work with others within and outside our church to live out the Gospel values of charity,  justice, compassion and community in helping those living in poverty, suffering illness or despair, or others living at the margins of society.
  1. We are all the people of God who endeavour to practice Jesus’ messages of non-violence, love and goodwill in dealing with any oppressors while working toward the non-violent elimination of conflicts among nations, injustices in our society and elsewhere in our global village and reversing the degradation of our sacred environment.

Dignity Canada Dignité is Canada's organization of Roman Catholics who are concerned about our church's sexual theology, particularly as it pertains to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons. We work in collaboration with other Catholic organizations seeking reform in our church's leadership and teachings.