Dignity Toronto Dignité
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
firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to visit our webpage at
dignitycanada.org and on
2015-2016 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 since April 2012. The space is provided free of
charge. Our current executive consists of: Michael Armstrong, Steve
Taylor and Frank Testin, and we have 12 paid members.
Meetings at the 519 Centre:
At our monthly meetings, we have developed a
particular format which starts with a check-in (adopted from the
Winnipeg chapter), a reflection presented on a rotation basis by
members, and usually a discussion based on a live presentation, DVD,
audio recording 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 7-12 persons in attendance.
In the last year, we held discussions on the
- Four talks on the
Laudato Si encyclical presented by one of our supporters.
See promotional item
here for the
series. We are very fortunate to have such a gifted person to make
- DVD "Do I Sound Gay?"
documentary premiered in September 2014 at the Toronto International
Film Festival. It follows a gay man in his early '30's who, after a
break-up, seeks the assistance of two voice coaches in New York and
Los Angeles to help him sound 'more masculine.' The film examines the
self-concept we may have of ourselves and social stereotypes both
inside and external to the LGBT community. Interviewees include Tim
Gunn, San Savage and George Takai.
- You Tube recording of
Bishop John Shelby Spong delivering a talk at Elmhurst College in 2011
on his own journey understanding and accepting LGBT persons.
- DVD of the
presentation by Joan Chittister in April 2016 at the Forum on Theology
and Education held in Oakville. The theme of the event was "Evolution
and the Spiritual Life" with Diarmuid O'Murchu, and the
question Joan addressed in the particular DVD session was: Who is God
in an evolutionary world?
- DVD of a talk by
Miriam Therese Winter on "Vatican II: Church Forward"
sponsored by Call to Action in October 2012.
- At one of our
meetings, we listened to and discussed two 10-15 min. audio recordings
made by Richard Rohr on Franciscan alternative orthodoxy. At another
meeting, we viewed a recording of Richard Rohr commenting on the
liturgical changes that were imposed by the Vatican in late 2011.
- You Tube recording
entitled "Owning our Faith", a 14 min. documentary made
at St. John the Apostle church in New York City that has an outreach
to LGBT persons. The documentary has a series of interviews with a
cross-section of LGBT persons and some of their relatives, and the
documentary seeks to "foster dialogue about and encourage greater
inclusion and acceptance of LGBT people in the Church." It was made in
anticipation of the Ordinary Synod on the Family in October 2015.
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 200. The theme this year was "I Thirst" and all stations
focused on various aspects of the availability and use of water. It
started at the edge of Lake Ontario at the base of Bay Street 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.
Advent Retreat/Workshop - The Francis Factor:
How St. Francis and Pope Francis are Changing the World. Using
edited video recordings from a conference with the same title that was
held in early September 2015 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we co-sponsored
the retreat on November 28th with the Expansive Spiritual Gathering
group at MCC-Toronto. Each sponsor had 7-8 attendees. The conference
speakers were Ilia Delio, Shane Claiborne and Richard Rohr, and our
retreat was held in the Triangle Program classroom at MCC.
Pride Parade: Due to the lack of interest,
we did not have an entry in this year's parade.
Letter to the CCCB: After reading the
letter of condolence which we discovered on the CCCB website written by
Bishop Douglas Crosby, OMI, President of the Canadian Conference of
Catholic Bishops, to the bishop of Orlando about the massacre that
occurred there on June 12th, we wrote Bishop Crosby expressing the
concern that he had not mentioned that the tragedy had occurred in a gay
bar and how devastating that was for LGBT persons everywhere. In his
reply to us on August 11th he commented:
As you are aware, the Catholic Church sees all people, regardless of
their sexual orientation or choice of lifestyle, as possessing an equal
and inherent dignity bestowed on them by God our Creator. The murder of
any human being, regardless of his or her race, colour, creed, class,
age or membership in a particular community, is always a grave violation
of God’s commandment. Any targeted violence against innocent persons,
created in God’s image, is therefore inherently wrong and always
appreciate your concern in this matter and thank you for taking the time
to write. I believe that we share a common concern for the safety and
well-being of all people, including those who feel most vulnerable. I
also agree, and this is the faith of the Church, that all persons, “be
accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (Catechism of the
Catholic Church #2358).
Members of the Toronto Chapter wanted to
convey to Pope Francis their gratitude for his affirmative comments
about the spiritual journeys of LGBT church members. We suspect that he
is receiving push back from bishops who were appointed by his two
predecessors due their dogmatic perspectives, as well as their
supporters. In future correspondence, we plan to point out how the
institution can prevent the spiritual and emotional injuries which he is
calling on the church as field hospital to heal.
His Holiness, Pope Francis, Bishop
00120 Vatican City
Dear Pope Francis,
We are writing you on behalf of Dignity
Toronto, an organization for gay and lesbian Roman Catholics, their
friends and family and supporters. Dignity is led and governed by its
members and is not supported by the Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic
Church. Dignity Toronto is one of many Dignity chapters within Canada
and the United States.
As lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender baptised Catholics we have been waiting to hear many of
the points you made in your interview, specifically as it applies to
us and our sexual orientation. It gives us solace to hear that the
Church does not want to judge us if we are persons of “good will” and
that “it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a
person”. As we are part of God’s creation, we strive to live our lives
according to God’s Divine plan.
Your Holiness, there were many areas
you covered in your interview that when carried out will make the
Church more caring, understanding and inclusive. Your reflections on
community, discernment, consultation, the Church being made up of all
of God’s people, the people’s yearning for pastors not legalistic
clergy, and paying attention to the poor - give us great hope that the
Church you envision is one that will lead the Church forward in love
and compassion. We also share your view that the Church must consult
with women in all of its important decisions.
Pope Francis, we commend you on the
intentions to change the focus of the Church and bring it forward to
be more compassionate and inclusive. Your task will not be easy. As
part of that Church, we want you to know that our hopes and prayers
are with you.
Yours most sincerely,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Dignity Toronto Dignité Mission Statement
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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