First National Convention

From October 26 to 28, 2018, in a show of clear solidarity, more than 60 individuals gathered in Mexico City to discuss the situation of the LGBTI+ person within the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico and their rights in Mexican society as a whole. It was the First Convention of Mexican Rainbow Catholic Leaders.

The goal was to establish a network of Christian faithful who work in favor of inclusion, dignity and equality as part of true Pastoral Work of Sexual Diversity in Mexico. The end result of this providential meeting - whose motto was ""It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20) - was the creation of the Mexico Network of Rainbow Catholics (REDCAM).

CHRONICLE
epresentatives of LGBTI + Catholic communities

from Saltillo, Guadalajara, Merida, Pachuca, Texcoco, Puebla, Gomez Palacio, Puerto Vallarta, Cuernavaca, Metepec and Mexico City attended the convention. The opening of the meeting was in the hands of Monsignor Raul Vera, Bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, who reminded us that "God has given us a great gift that no one, not even ourselves, can deny: our own identity." In addition, Bishop Vera encouraged us to continue with the work we have been doing from within each specific rainbow group, reminding us that it is the mission of each of them to provide accompaniment and support in matters of spiritual growth to those who need it, including the Church itself.

Within the framework of the welcoming activities, a letter from Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, Prime Archbishop of Mexico, was read. It was addressed to the members of REDCAM highlighting the importance of "serving others from our own contexts of life and from our abilities and capabilities." In his letter, the cardinal recalls that one of the reflections that emerged during the Synod on Youth (XV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, with the theme: "Young people, faith and vocational discernment", from 3 to 28 of October 2018) was the requirement to become a Church "that listens to the needs and responds to the existential situations that are experienced today," a Church "on the way out", as Pope Francis says, that goes out of itself to go in search of a distant neighbor or of the person whose dignity is at risk, in order to make present the love and mercy of God the Father. The cardinal closes his letter voicing his commitment for REDCAM to have the support of the Archdiocese of Mexico in its various structures of pastoral service.

The participating communities shared the work they carry out in favor of the Pastoral on Sexual Diversity, which generated empathy among the attendees.

James Alison, a queer priest and theologian, underscored the importance of setting aside victimization to empower ourselves as active members of the Roman Catholic Church.

Theologian Marilú Rojas and the Jesuit priest Conrado Zepeda were in charge of reflecting on the sociocultural context of the country on issues of inclusion and equality within the rainbow community, highlighting the fear to everything feminine and the sexist schemes in which we frequently fall . They sought to create awareness and promote healthy and inclusive work within the Pastoral of Diversity. People who belong to minority groups within the rainbow sector - lesbian, transgender, bisexual and parents / relatives - offered their testimonies recalling the importance of making them visible in pastoral work.

As part of the cultural scenario, the theater company "The Workshop," from Puebla, presented the play: "Homo: to hate you learn." Through it, the group invited us to reflect on the established gender schemes. This activity came to a close with an exercise-meditation, led by the community of Metepec, with the goal of seeing each other through the gaze of others, seeking to act through our own wounds to transcend hatred, rejection and resentment, thus exercising our leadership from Love.

Representatives from national groups in Italy, Spain and the United States accompanied the Convention. They underscored the importance of establishing these national bonds, respecting the particular identity and leadership of each group or community. They insisted that having a united national group gives strength and resonance to the voice of the rainbow Catholic communities in the face of the Roman Catholic hierarchy and society.

Workshops were held to identify specific needs and propose lines of action that will be addressed by REDCAM. The most outstanding activities and proposals included:

  • Carry out an intergenerational project where attention is paid to adolescents and young people, as well as to the elderly
  • Motivate the creation of additional activities with parents and relatives of rainbow people
  • Raise awareness about the importance of committing ourselves personally - and as a community - to the creation of work tools that support the establishment and monitoring of Catholic rainbow communities within the country

A representative of each of the communities present - as well as Antonio Ortiz and Carlos Navarro, the Convention coordinators - signed a letter of commitment for the consolidation of REDCAM. The aim of the letter is to lay the foundations to contribute to the construction of new Christian-Roman Catholic LGBTI+ spaces in the company of ministers of worship and hand-in-hand with the heterosexual faithful. In this way, testimony was provided as proof that being a rainbow and faithful Christian-Catholic person is possible by sharing Jesus' call to live and proclaim the values ​​of the Kingdom and to be his witnesses in Love.

Theologian James Alison and the Italian Luca Galli, sent by GNRC (Global Network of Rainbow Catholics) to the Convention, witnessed this moment.

After reading and signing the Letter of Commitment, thus consolidating the inception of the Rainbow Catholic Network Mexico (REDCAM), the First National Convention of Mexico Rainbow Catholic Leaders was closed with a Eucharist. There, the future of the organization was placed in the hands of God, full trust in the certainty of its ideals was highlighted and prayers were said in favor of the courageous and committed work of all of its members. It was also agreed to hold a Second Convention of Rainbow Catholic Leaders in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco.

See letter from Archbishop of Mexico City