The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC), a growing international coalition of organizations and individuals who work for LGBTQI justice and equality in church and society, will be hosting their Second Assembly in Munich/Dachau, Germany, in the late fall of this year.
The Assembly will gather Catholic advocates, both LGBTQI and allies, under the theme and title “Hear a Just Cause” (Psalm 7:1) on November 30-December 3, 2017, at the International Youth Guest House (Jugendherberge Dachau) in Dachau, a suburb of Munich.
A GNRC invitation letter describes the purpose of the meeting:
“After decades of an ‘ice age’ on LGBTQI issues, Pope Francis has opened up the church for new approaches in pastoral work with LGBTQI people, while the moral doctrine seems to remain sealed. This situation creates tensions and controversies: Some parishes, dioceses and regions use this new opportunity for creating more inclusive and welcoming spaces, while others react even more hostilely to societal progress such as equal marriage. In the midst of these contradictions, it is more important than ever for the Catholic Church to “hear a just cause”.
“Since its creation in October 2015, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) brings together groups and organisations, which provide pastoral care and work for justice for LGBTQI people. The Network strives for inclusion, dignity and equality of this community in the Roman Catholic Church and in the wider civil society. The GNRC held its 1st Assembly in October 2015 in Rome at the conference, ‘Ways of Love,’ with 80 participants from 30 countries. To this date, the GNRC represents 25 allied groups across all continents. . . .
“The assembly has two goals: 1) to consolidate the organisational development of GNRC and 2) to define strategies in key areas such as
- dialogue with leaders of the Catholic Church.
- promoting best practices of pastoral work with LGBTQI people and their families
- campaigning for a Catholic statement against criminalization of LGBT people
- confronting the anti-gender rhetoric within the Catholic Church.”
As part of the Assembly, participants will visit the Concentration Camp Memorial in Dachau,
a Christmas market in Munich, Mass at the “Bürgersaalkirche” in Munich, and a Bavarian dinner gathering.
New Ways Ministry was involved with the genesis of GNRC, having been present at the inception meeting in Rome in October, 2014, and the First Assembly in Rome in October, 2015. New Ways Ministry Co-founder Sister Jeannine Gramick spoke at the conference day of the Assembly in 2015, and Executive Director Francis DeBernardo has served on the GNRC Steering Committee for the past two years. DignityUSA and the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith office also sent representatives to the 2015 Assembly. For a full list of international organizations which have been involved in GNRC, click here. To see the list of Steering Committee members, click here.
After participating in the 2015 Assembly, I wrote the following as part of a reflective blog post on the meeting:
“One thing I learned from participating is how different Catholicism is around the globe and how different the LGBT experience is. It helped me to see that in the United States, Catholic lay people have many opportunities to participate in the life of the church–even though we are still denied participation in many decision-making processes. I also realized how privileged the U.S. LGBT community is. Again, we still have work to do in terms of full equality in employment and other areas, but the level of repression, violence, and state oppression against LGBT people is much greater in many places around the globe.”
The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics holds promise for a strong voice for LGBTQI equality and justice in the Church. If time and finances are available for you, please consider attending this important meeting.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, August 18, 2017