To the Editor:
While Chuck Colbert's recent article, "Tensions emerge as AGLO marks 25 years," raises some good questions about AGLO's mission and its need to be identified within the physical space of a Catholic church and its authority, we at Dignity see this whole situation differently than what has been reported here.
Dignity/Chicago respects the right and the need for those LGBT Catholic brothers and sisters to seek out and experience the church's ministry and acceptance. What we find confusing, though, is the lack of engagement or challenging by those who seek this ministry and support from a church hierarchy that continues to treat LGBT Catholics with disrespect and intolerance.
This is not a criticism as much as a call to our friends at AGLO to seize an opportunity for offering an authentic witness to the truth of our lives, loves and families.
Frank DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, got it right when he said that this is an opportunity for engagement and dialog. What better opportunity is there for LGBT couples in committed relationships to introduce themselves to the cardinal, introduce their children, and speak with him about their spirituality and how God has blessed their lives? Religious leaders of many kinds tell the world that LGBT people can't be spiritual because of their "lifestyle."
Let's make sure that our authentic voices are raised to challenge that lie. The controversy here is not that the cardinal has been invited to lead the Eucharistic celebration. There is controversy if those in attendance fail to be their authentic selves in front of the cardinal, as they undoubtedly are every other Sunday at AGLO.
We invite our fellow LGBT Catholics at AGLO to discern their own opportunities for holding Cardinal George accountable as the chief shepherd of Chicago while also making their voices heardnot in protest as much as in witness to the truth and value of our lives and loves, and as people of faith.
As for us at Dignity/Chicago, these past 25 years have been ones of exceptional growth and maturity in our faith. Celebrating our 41st anniversary May 19, we have strived to be an inclusive Catholic community that welcomes all to the table. We stand strong in our belief that our sexuality is loving, life-giving and life-affirming, and we have welcomed every opportunity to witness to that belief to Cardinal George and to all our Catholic brothers and sisters.