Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16



Feminist theologian Dr. Mary E. Hunt kicks off DignityUSA conference
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

This article shared 3772 times since Thu Jul 11, 2019
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Feminist theologian Dr. Mary E. Hunt kicked off DignityUSA's three day conference, "True to the Spirit, True to Ourselves," with a keynote address July 5 at The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago. The conference marked the 50th anniversary of DignityUSA's founding.

Hunt, a lecturer and prolific writer on theology and ethics, also co-founded and co-directs the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual ( WATER ).

Dignity/San Antonio Co-Founder and former DignityUSA Board Member Nickie Valdez introduced Hunt to rapturous applause and a standing ovation.

Hunt told the 325 attendees how happy she is that Dignity is celebrating 50 years as an organization, especially because each LGBTQ member continues to live their truth. She spoke about what Dignity's history means, looked at how things have changed over the past 10 years and remarked on what her dreams are for the centenary of the organization.

"I am reminded of the verse in Acts 5:38-39, 'Leave these people alone. Let them go. For if their purpose or endeavor is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them,'" said Hunt. "Let history decide, but as I read our history, no one has stopped us yet."

Hunt spoke about the origins of Dignity in Southern California and the ad that was placed in the Advocate magazine to have LGBTQ Catholics join the group in 1970.

"Our collective truth has set us free," said Hunt. "It is not often that we are privileged to see ourselves in a chapter of church history. But this … is one of those moments to be savored and to be used as a springboard for the next chapter. God knows we need it now at least as much as we needed it in 1969."

Hunt said that when she graduated from high school 50 years ago, she could not have imagined celebrating being a lesbian and receiving support from an organization like Dignity. She explained that finally, LGBTQ Catholics like herself could meet each other out in the open and worship without being insulted.

"In the early years, there were some welcoming parish and university-based churches and some courageous priests," said Hunt. "But by the time the Halloween letter debuted in 1986—the 'Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons' approved by John Paul II and signed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, later Benedict XVI—the tide turned against us. I have come realize that the punitive reaction was a kind of collective gay panic by clergy who worried that having us around might reveal their own rainbows."

Hunt explained that this letter caused many LGBTQ Catholics to leave the church behind forever or, if they stayed, reject this letter's doctrine outright and seek out Catholic groups like Dignity, Conference for Catholic Lesbians, New Ways Ministry, WATER and others.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic that began in the '80s, Hunt said, also caused LGBTQ people to leave the Catholic Church since some priests would not provide basic pastoral care to those who contracted the disease.

Hunt looked back at the keynote address she gave at Dignity's conference ten years ago. She said she was correct about the pervasiveness of pedophile priests and spiritual bankruptcy of the institutional church. Hunt also explained that she was naive then, because she did not see "the implosion of the institutional Roman Catholic Church, and the wholesale breach of U.S. democracy that has resulted in shameful, dangerous policies."

"Instead, we have witnessed a level of ecclesial corruption rivaled only by the Mafia, a degree of moral depravity rarely seen in religious circles, and a shrouding of truth, indeed cover ups, in so many layers of lies that most will never be excavated in our lifetime," said Hunt. "Criminal, not just ideological, matters are at play."

The church has become even more anti-women, anti-LGBTQ and anti-reproductive justice in recent years to hide the cover-up of pedophile priests at all levels by church leaders, Hunt said.

The recent Vatican letter "'Male and Female He Created Them': Toward a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education," Hunt said, is another way the church is turning backward with its binary, heterosexist tropes about men and women that exclude transgender and intersex people from the human experience.

Hunt said that now there is a push by church leaders to fire LGBTQ Catholic school teachers/staff who are in same-sex marriages.

"The Roman Catholic Church has imploded at the same time that the U.S. democratic electoral process has been infected by Russian influence, fanning the flames of white supremacist, anti-women, climate-change denying, homo-hating and immigrant rejection," said Hunt. "The 2016 election results were, in my view, disastrous beyond imagining. The bishops support so many of the policies of the current administration … that they have no moral standing. LGBTQI+ Catholics and our allies have to say no to tanks on our streets, deaths at our borders, ecocide and racism and nuclear war."

Hunt explained that Dignity's message is sex and gender discrimination can never be separated from combating racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia as well as fighting for healthcare access, economic justice and the survival of planet Earth.

As for Hunt's dreams for Dignity's centenary, she wants the organization to be seen as leaders in truth-telling and world changing work as justice-seeking Catholics.

A Q&A session followed.

An opening ceremony also took place ahead of Hunt's remarks. It featured readings; the Book of Intentions procession and blessing; songs from the choir; and remarks by DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke. Other speakers included DignityUSA President Chris Pett; DignityUSA Vice President Lauren Carpenter; Dignity/Chicago President RamÃ"n Rodriguez; Conference Co-Chairs Marty Grochala and Lewis Speaks-Tanner; and Global Network of Rainbow Catholics ( GNRC ) Co-Chairs Ruby Almeida and Christopher Vella, among others.

DignityUSA also hosted the third biennial Assembly of GNRC from June 30-July 3. Additionally, on July 4, DigntyUSA held a day-long "Forum on the State of the Global LGBTI Catholic Justice Movement."

This article shared 3772 times since Thu Jul 11, 2019
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

THEATER Lesbian-cruise drama 'Seven Days at Sea' running thru June 5
Light and Sound Productions is running the world premiere of Seven Days at Sea, written by Martha Hansen and directed by Margaret Knapp, through Sunday, June 5, at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway. The performance ...

Gay News

VIEWS Another 'Handmaid's Tale,' or sex and the supreme Catholics
Amy Vivian Coney Barrett was confirmed as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 26, 2020. Barrett is only the fifth woman ever to serve on the Court. She is also the sixth Catholic ...

Gay News

Gayla Turner talks new book uncovering her grandmother's secret queer identity
In Gayla Turner's debut book, Don't You Dare: Uncovering Lost Love (BookBaby, May 24), she reveals her Grandmother Ruby's (1896-1977) century-old secret queer identity that she hid from the wider world. This revelation became c ...

Gay News

Report: Southern Baptist Convention leaders mishandled allegations of sexual abuse
A bombshell report stated that leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) mishandled allegations of sexual abuse, intimidated victims and their advocates, and resisted attempts at reform over the course ...

Gay News

TELEVISION Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and others to exit 'SNL'
In a major shake-up on the long-running hit Saturday Night Live (or SNL), several of the main stars are leaving—including out cast member Kate McKinnon, Deadline reported. McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney and Pete Davidson (who's ...

Gay News

For International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia HRC highlights grants
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, is commemorating International Day Against ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Chocolate festival, lesbian sci-fi film, 'Smahtguy'
—The Long Grove Chocolate Festival: The beloved Chocolate Festival will return to the historic streets and parkways of downtown Long Grove for the first time in three years, May 20-22. Chocolate lovers can experience so much—including ...

Gay News

NATIONAL New York synod, Danica Roem, legal action, Pride news, PFLAG
The Metropolitan New York Synod (MNYS), the regional body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, announced Christopher Vergara as its newly elected vice president, according to a press release. Vergara is the first openly gay ...

Gay News

Los Angeles LGBT Center mourns passing of legendary LGBT activist, leader Urvashi Vaid
-- From a press release - LOS ANGELES, May 14, 2022—"The world has lost a giant in the movement for LGBTQ freedom, justice and equality. After a valiant battle with cancer, Urvashi Vaid died today," said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Urvashi Vaid dies, The National LGBTQ Task Force releases statement
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC……Legendary attorney, LGBTQ activist, and author Urvashi Vaid, known for her extensive career an advocate for LGBTQ rights, women's rights, anti-war efforts, immigration justice and many other social causes ...

Gay News

Griner's detention in Russia extended by a month
The lawyer for Brittney Griner said May 13 that the WNBA star's pretrial detention in Russia has been extended by one month, ESPN reported. Alexander Boykov told The Associated Press he believed the relatively short extension ...

Gay News

LGBTQ Religious Archives Network holds 'AIDS, Activism and American Christianity' webinar
LGBTQ Religious Archives Network (LGBTQ-RAN) held an "AIDS, Activism and American Christianity: A Conversation" virtual webinar on May 5. The event focused on Christian activism during the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s and ...

Gay News

HRC calls for passage of the Women's Health Protection Act
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, joined a growing number of organizations calling for the ...

Gay News

All WNBA courts to honor Brittney Griner
The WNBA announced plans to acknowledge the importance of Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner to the league, according to a press release. During the 2022 season that tips off Friday, May 6, Griner's initials and jersey ...

Gay News

VIEWS Dignity/Chicago celebrates 50 years of ministry
It was 1972 and it was dangerous to be gay or lesbian. One could be arrested, publicly humiliated or fired from one's job. Even finding safety in the emerging bar scene was hazardous. Added to that ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.