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DignityUSA is an organization with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts, that focuses on LGBT rights and the Catholic Church. Dignity Canada exists as the Canadian sister organization. The organization is made up of local chapters across the country, and functions both as a support and social group for LGBT and LGBT-accepting Catholics to worship together. "The goal of 'Dignity' is to serve as an advocate for change in the Roman Catholic Church's stance on homosexuality",[1] and as an activist group for LGBT rights and education about LGBT issues. A full statement of position and purpose can be found on the organization's website.

Since 2007, Marianne Duddy-Burke has served as executive director.


Dignity was founded in early 1969 in San Diego, California, by Father Pat Nidorf,[2] first as a counseling, then as a support group.[1] Technically that makes it a "pre-Stonewall" LGBT organization that is still in existence. The first chapter of Dignity formed in 1970 in Los Angeles.[3] In 1982, lesbian members of Dignity founded the Conference for Catholic Lesbians out of concern that Dignity was too oriented toward males.[2]

DignityUSA has been recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization since August 1982.[4]

On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons[edit]

On October 1, 1986, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Catholic body charged to "spread sound Catholic doctrine and defend those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines",[5] issued a letter entitled On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons. In it, the Catholic Church affirmed its position that homosexuality was an "objective disorder" and that all support should be withdrawn from any organization that undermined the Church's teaching or were ambiguous about or neglectful of it.

According to write Neil Miller, an immediate effect of the document was the decision by several American bishops to order that DignityUSA no longer be allowed to hold Mass in Catholic churches. Dioceses in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Brooklyn, Pensacola, Vancouver, Washington, D.C., and New York City all rescinded permission for the organization to hold services on church property. In some cases the group chapters had been holding Masses for a decade or longer.[6]


DignityUSA was given Call To Action's 1994 Leadership Award. Dignity Chicago was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1997.[7]


As of 2021, there are 37 chapters, in the United States.[8][9] During the COVID-19 pandemic, there were currently 17 offering online services.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Homosexuality and Religion: An Encyclopedia, (Jeffrey S. Siker, ed.), Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, p. 102ISBN 9780313330889
  2. ^ a b Hogan and Hudson, p. 478
  3. ^ Gay Almanac, p. 344
  4. ^ "Nonprofit Explorer". ProPublica. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Profile) Archived July 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Miller, pp. 465–67
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2016-01-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ https://www.dignityusa.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=31
  9. ^ https://www.dignityusa.org/dignity-communities
  10. ^ https://www.dignityusa.org/news/dignity-remaining-connected-and-strategic-during-covid-times


  • Hogan, Steve and Lee Hudson (1998). Completely Queer: The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia. New York, Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0805036296.
  • Miller, Neil (1995). Out Of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History From 1869 To the Present. New York, Vintage (a division of Random House). ISBN 0099576910.
  • The National Museum & Archive of Lesbian and Gay History (1996). The Gay Almanac. New York, Berkeley Books. ISBN 0425153002.

External links[edit]