Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Mary Hunt and Richard Rodriguez Headline DignityUSA's 40th Anniversary Celebration

Yesterday I shared some thoughts of theologian Mary Hunt on the current opportunities facing the Church as the “people of God.”

Gay Catholic readers may be interested to know that Mary will be one of two keynote speakers at DignityUSA’s 2009 National Convention, July 2-5 in San Francisco. The second keynote speaker is journalist and author Richard Rodriguez.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of DignityUSA, the nation’s largest Catholic LGBT organization. Accordingly, this year’s convention is titled, “Together We Will Reach the Promised Land: Celebrating 40 Years of Dignity/USA.”

Mary Hunt’s keynote address is entitled “Faithful and Fabulous: Dignity on the Road at Forty.” Elaborating on this theme, Mary writes:

I will explore how we (DignityUSA) have been faithful to our Catholic roots, faithful to the needs of our LGBTQ community, and faithful to other justice movements (including feminism, anti-racism, etc.). I will observe how, in my view, we have provided a fabulous way of living the Gospel, being community, and serving the world. My conclusion will be a look ahead to our challenges.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? And here’s how Richard Rodriguez describes his keynote address:

I want to talk about the most essential issue in the struggle for gay rights, “The Freedom to Love.” Deeper than the freedom to marry, or join and serve in our military services as an openly gay person, or resist discrimination in our civil lives, is the most essential human freedom of all, the freedom to love, denied homosexuals. Worse, the institution that teaches us to love and that professes the centrality of love, the Catholic Church, is the same institution that describes or defines homosexual love, or physical expression thereof, as immoral, sinful, and objectively disordered. The institutional Roman Catholic Church promulgates its teaching and guidelines for pastoral ministry to homosexual persons admonishing Thou Shalt Not Love Same Gender Persons.

In addition to keynote addresses by Hunt and Rodriguez, DignityUSA’s 2009 National Convention also offers a range of workshops facilitated by some of the Church’s leading visionaries, scholars, theologians, and pastoral ministers. John McNeill, for instance, will facilitate a workshop on “Sex as God Intended,” while Daniel Helminiak will present “Unfolding Creation: Sexual Diversity, Natural Law, and the Global Community.”

Other workshops include: “Bishops, Bombs, and Big Tents” with Sister Jeannine Gramick (pictured at right with Rodriguez at the November 2007 Call to Action National Conference); “Valid but Illicit: Being a Roman Catholic Lesbian Priest” with Victoria Rue; “Parish-based Pastoral Care” with Donal Godfrey; “Feminist Theology and Building Inclusive Community” with Diana Wear; “Catholic Parents’ Journey: From Angst to Advocacy” with Mary Ellen and Casey Lopata; “Mi Casa es Tu Casa – Reaching Out to LGBT Latinos” with Ramon Rodriguez; “Marriage Equality Strategies” with Dignity/San Francisco; “Jesus Beyond Gender” with Tom Bonacci; and “Trends in Trans Theology” and “Trans-inclusive Communities” with Justin Tanis and Jim Mitulski.

For more information about DignityUSA’s 2009 National Convention, click here.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Our Catholic “Stonewall Moment”
Crisis? What Crisis?
To Whom the Future of the Catholic Church Belongs
Honoring Brian McNeill

Image 1: Convention logo by DignityUSA.
Images 2-3: Michael Bayly.

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