A two-day conference, "Gay in Christ: Dimensions of Fidelity," co-sponsored by the University of Notre Dame's Institute for Church Life (ICL) and the "Gender Relations Center":http://grc.nd.edu/, will convene Oct. 31 (Friday) to explore appropriate pastoral strategies for Catholic parishioners who regard themselves as non-heterosexual, but who accept Catholic Church teaching on marriage and sexuality.
According to ICL director John Cavadini, the conference should resonate with much of the discussion of the Catholic bishops who assembled last week for the Synod of Bishops in Rome.
"I think this is timely, given the synod on the family and its attention to such pastoral issues," Cavadini said. "The conference is not intended to cover all issues related to identifying as gay and Catholic, but is directed, ultimately, at forming a pastoral strategy for parishes to be able to receive the gifts of self-identified gay Catholics who also adhere to the teaching of the Church on marriage and related issues.
"Can Church teaching support an 'exchange of gifts,' enabling a parish community to receive the gifts that such people bring to us, and, in turn, to make the gifts of ecclesial belonging more securely and fruitfully available to these Catholics? That is the long-term goal of the rather experimental discussions we are beginning here."
In addition to Cavadini, speakers at the conference include Sister Ann Astell, Ron Belgau, Chris Damian, Joshua Gonnerman, Wesley Hill, Daniel Hoover, Kyle Keating, Chris Roberts, Melinda Selmys and Eve Tushnet.
The conference is free and open to the public.