Chicago: Regional Pre-conferences

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LGBT+ Catholic Issues Worldwide

Due to the geographic spread or our membership groups and the different time zones involved, as well as technical communication challenges and the time constraints in the busy lives that many lead, it has been hard for some of our LGBT+ Catholic communities to connect in a regular and convenient manner. So, before the Assembly, each caucus had one day to discuss, share and report on activities in their region and report back to GNRC on their region’s current realities and significant issues.

Later, after the Assembly, the international panel conference held jointly with DignityUSA was an excellent opportunity to present to a large audience the struggles, achievements and challenges that each region faced. We would like to thank all our GNRC members who volunteered and shared their testimonies in front of the GNRC and DignityUSA audience.

DignityUSA/GNRC joint conference (from left to right): North America, Marianne Duddy-Burke (DignityUSA, USA) and Bob Shine (New Ways Ministry, USA); Africa: Joanita Ssenfuka (FARUG, Uganda) and Ryan Kollano (Upper Rift Minorite, Kenia); Asia Pacific: Benjamin Oh (Acceptance Sydney, Australia) and Eva Callueng (Rainbow Catholics, Philippines); Latin America: Fernando González (Padis+, Chile) and Carlos Navarro (Red Arcoíris México, México); Europe: Luca Galli (Cammini di Speranza, Italy) and Michael Brinkschröeder (HUK, Germany).

This is a brief summary, based on the pre-conference meetings and the joint conference,  gives us an insight into what is going on in each region:

  • Africa: Almost at the end of our Assembly we witnessed the terrible consequences of homophobia in countries were homosexuality is still prosecuted under the cold silence of the Church. Alphonse Mihigo – from the Democratic Republic of Congo – showed us the terrible impacts and sufferings of the LGBT community and how even himself has had to deal with continued threats due to his advocacy and pastoral care work.
  • Asia Pacific: They insisted in how important is to urge the institutional Church to take an unequivocal anti-discrimination stance on LGBT+ folks as well as review the  educational seminaries / religious schools on teachings about our issues. Their local clergy is still very guided by the official teachings coming from the Vatican, so an answer to documents such as “Male and Female He Created Them” is an always urgent need.
  • Europe: They declare that female and wider gender identity inclusion is an ongoing task. At the same time, they deal with the many different political situations that impact on the general LGBT+ issues as well as the relationships of their lay people with the clergy and their clergy with the Vatican. Also, they consider that their experience allows for an opportunity for the other GNRC members for networking and sharing of information and knowledge.
  • Latin America and Caribbean: The agenda is ruled by major regional political issues. Strong conservative groups, especially the so-called Anti Gender Ideology movements, try to pull back the advances on LGBT+ civil rights and Church expressions of inclusion. Meanwhile the Migratory Waves inside the continent have diminished the minimal conditions of survival for historical discriminated groups, where LGBT´s are on the front. 
  • North America: Even if they have some of the oldest LGBT+ Catholics communities and friendly parishes worldwide, they must deal with the aging membership and how to approach  the younger generations. They recognize how important is to keep building an active line between the LGBT+ communities and the hierarchy as previous approaches are easily lost whenever a friendly Church official goes into retirement or is removed.

The desire for good lines of communication, and to encourage the regions to be proactive in this process, is a continuous task that the GNRC offers to our members in this space. The network will keep developing awareness inside and outside the LGBT+ Catholic community about the many different situations that our brothers and sisters face worldwide.

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