Why did DignityUSA make a public statement challenging the official Catholic position?
Dignity felt called to a prophetic stance, which, simply said, is to be honest about the matter. After nearly twenty years of ministering to hurting Catholics, Dignity members were aware of the harm that the Church's repeated condemnation of homosexuality does to individuals. One statement from a pope or bishop can throw devout gay Catholics back into guilt and self-deprecation that they may have spent years trying to overcome. According to a 1989 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the rate of attempted suicide among gay and lesbian adolescents is three to four times higher than that among straight adolescents. According to some estimates, a homosexual person is harassed or assaulted in the USA about every 90 seconds. Insensitive church pronouncements only aggravate these conditions. In contrast, Dignity wanted to go on record as a group of homosexual but self-affirming and practicing Catholics. And Dignity wanted therefore to give hope to other gay and lesbian Catholics.