The Los Angeles chapter of Dignity, a...

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The Los Angeles chapter of Dignity, a nationwide organization of gay and lesbian Catholics, has been told by Archbishop Roger M. Mahony that it may not hold its weekly Masses in any church-owned facility, in keeping with a Vatican directive in the fall of 1986.

Dignity chapters were ousted from church-owned property in many other major cities last year, often amid controversy, on the ground that the Catholic Church could not appear to sanction a group that publicly approves of homosexual behavior, contrary to church teaching.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles group had continued to meet in the Catholic-run Newman Center near Los Angeles City College, giving the impression that the archdiocese was taking a laissez-faire approach.


However, Mahony said in a recent interview that he had been misinformed that a section of the Newman Center used for Dignity’s Sunday evening Masses was owned by the college.

“It wasn’t until a few months ago that I got this proposal from the construction office here to remodel the Newman Center,” Mahony said. “That’s when I realized, ‘Wait a minute, it does belong to us.’ ”

Dignity plans its final Mass at the Newman Center on Sunday, when the chapter will also vote on a new location. “We are saddened by the decision, but we are determined to continue our ministry to gay and lesbian Catholic community,” Rafael Vega, the group’s president, said in an interview. Vega said the chapter wants to keep information lines with the archbishop open.

Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin of Chicago recently announced a compromise plan to allow the Dignity chapter members in that city to still have their own Masses, but under the sponsorship of the archdiocese, not Dignity.

Mahony said, however, that he thinks Dignity should “rethink” its desire to celebrate separate Masses. “I think it is inappropriate to have Sunday Masses for individual special groups,” Mahony said. The archbishop said he believes that homosexual Catholics should worship in the parishes.


An article on Mary’s Hour in last Saturday’s religion pages referred incorrectly to “the traditional Catholic adoration of the mother of Jesus.” Though the word was used in the general sense of “paying homage,” “love” and “respect,” the term “adoration” is a technical one in the Catholic Church reserved for worship to God alone, according to the Catholic Almanac. Mary is the object of devotion but not adoration, many Catholics point out.



Enrique Dussel, one of the world’s leading liberation theologians, is speaking at 10 a.m. Sunday at Pasadena’s All Saints Episcopal Church on “The Ethics of Community,” the title of a forthcoming book. In exile since 1975 from Argentina, Dussel now is based at the University of Mexico and has been visiting Cal State Los Angeles. His writings in the 1960s set the stage for 1969 Latin American bishops meeting at Medellin, Colombia, that prompted greater church attention to the plight of the poor.