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Highlights of DignityUSA's History: 1986

The following history is based on the commemorative booklet entitled DignityUSA at 25: A Chronology, 1969-1994 compiled by former DignityUSA President Pat Roche. Copies are available from the Dignity national office and were also printed in the Dignity Journal 27:2-3 (Autumn 1995). Highlights from 1995-Present compiled by former Dignity Vice President Pat McArron.
  • In the spring, the Vatican orders Father Charles Curran, a theologian at Catholic University in Washington, DC, to retract his views on birth control and other sexual issues or face the loss of his authorization to teach Roman Catholic doctrine.
  • On April 12-13, the Board of Directors meets in Tucson. Among other things, the Board authorizes that copies of A Disturbed Peace (Brian McNaught) and The Church and the Homosexual (John McNeill S.J.) be purchased for re-sale to members.
  • On May 16-19, Dignity/Canada/Dignite holds its first national conference in Montreal. All four Dignity officers (Jim Bussen, Elinor Crocker, Jim Pilarski and Tom Cunningham) attend along with John Hager, Immediate Past-President.
  • On October 11-12, the Board of Directors meets in Portland, OR. Among other things, the Board agrees to use the name DignityUSA in the future although Dignity, Inc. will remain the legal name of the organization.
  • On October 30, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith releases a "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," stating, "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder."
  • On November 1, Jim Bussen appears on CBS This Morning to respond to the Letter before flying off to Washington DC where DignityUSA and other concerned groups hold a press conference outside of the residence of Apostolic Pro-Nuncio Archbishop Pio Laghi in Washington, DC to protest the Vatican Letter.
  • On November 2, John McNeill, S.J. issues a press release stating that he has been informed by his Jesuit Superior that he "must give up all public ministry to gay people or (be) dismissed from the Society of Jesus." Father McNeill announces in the release that "as a Jesuit priest, as a moral theologian, as a psychotherapist, as a person who is himself gay, and as a human being" he cannot obey the order in conscience.

  • In December (two weeks before Christmas), the first eviction of a Dignity chapter as a result of the Vatican Letter occurs when Dignity/Syracuse is evicted from Church property.