Scholars remind us that one of the three basic changes in early Christianity was the switch from a short-term faith to a long-term faith. For one reason or another, Jesus’ earliest followers believed he would triumphantly return in a short period of time. Everyone would recognize his presence and those who imitated his dying and rising would share in his glory. We need only glance at chapter four of the earliest Christian writing we possess – I Thessalonians – to read a brief description of Jesus’ “Parousia.” According to Paul, Christ’s return will happen so soon that those unfortunate individuals who died before that glorious event will simply have to “tread water” in their graves until he comes back. The Apostle presumes he’ll still be alive when he returns.
DignityUSA thanks Jim & Evelyn Whitehead for initiating, soliciting and shepherding these three thought-provoking, hopeful QV issues on Transgender Spirituality, a topic that challenges the boundaries of traditional Catholic thinking, and one that speaks to the very core of Dignity-USA’s mission. As I have often stated, “Let’s make the ‘T’ in LGBTQ visible, integrated, and supported within DignityUSA and within our Church and society.”
We believe that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics in our diversity are members of Christ's mystical body, numbered among the People of God. We have an inherent dignity because God created us, Christ died for us, and the Holy Spirit sanctified us in Baptism, making us temples of the Spirit, and channels through which God's love becomes visible. Because of this, it is our right, our privilege, and our duty to live the sacramental life of the Church, so that we might become more powerful instruments of God's love working among all people.
"As members of your Task Force on Sexual Ethics, our first act is to address ourselves to the prayer, reflection, and study that are essential to success. With the guidance and support of Jesus' Spirit, we can discern together and dedicate ourselves to an expression of our sexuality 'in a manner that is consonant with Christ's teaching.' We commit ourselves to listening to you and to your experience."
DIGNITY recognizes the diversity of its members in matters of sexual orientation, gender identity, geographic location, age, financial ability, health, race, ethnicity and all other forms of diversity and actively seeks to acknowledge and utilize this diversity in its leadership and in fulfilling its Statement of Position and Purpose.
This document had its origins in the 1995 House of Delegates meeting of DignityUSA. Representatives from our Chapters gathered in Los Angeles authorized the establishment of a Couples Ministry Task Force to assess the needs of our members and Chapters and develop guidelines for a Couples Ministry throughout Dignity. Through the Task Force's research, it became clear that there was a groundswell of support for such a ministry, and a need for resources about how to conduct it. In addition, couples living in committed relationships wanted to understand how they could have their relationships validated within a Catholic context.
We choose to act on the Church’s teaching that our LGBT beloved are to be afforded respect and compassion, never subject to discrimination and fear. All too often, the Church’s ministers and her people have acted in a manner that dishonors these beloved of God. As baptized Catholics, we take seriously the Great Commission to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus always and everywhere, and no institution in these times needs this proclamation more than our own Church.
Therefore each of us promises to take up the mantle of love and justice within our Church on behalf of our LGBT members and their families.
From time to time, member chapters of Dignity have requested copies of the new DignityUSA logo for use in publications, advertisements, T-shirts, and their own websites. DignityUSA is pleased to make them available for such uses.