first convention of rainbow catholic leaders of mexico
mexico city. October 2018.
For the First Convention of Rainbow Catholic Leaders of Mexico, Mexico City welcomed more than 60 people who debated, talked and prayed about the situation of the LGBTI+ person within the Catholic Church in Mexico. They also discussed the state of their rights in Mexican society in general.
In unity and diversity, they shared this historic meeting from October 26 to 28, 2018.
Representatives of LGBTI+ Catholic communities from Saltillo, Guadalajara, Mérida, Pachuca, Texcoco, Puebla, Gómez Palacio, Puerto Vallarta, Cuernavaca, Metepec and Mexico City attended. The opening ceremony was presided by Mons. Raúl Vera, Bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, who reminded us that "God has made us a great gift that no one, not even ourselves, can refute: our own identity". Don Raúl further encouraged us to continue with the work we have been doing at each specific rainbow group, reminding us that it is our mission to provide accompaniment and support in matters of spiritual growth to those who need it, including the Church itself.
As part of the opening ceremony, a letter from Carlos Cardinal Aguiar Retes, Archbishop of Mexico City, addressed to the members of the REDCAM was read; he highlighted the importance of "serving others from our own contexts and from our abilities and our capacities." In his letter, the Cardinal recalls that one of the reflections that arose during the Synod on Youth (XV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, with the theme "Youth, faith and vocational discernment," from October 3 to 28, 2018) was the requirement to be a Church "that listens to the needs of the faithful and responds to the existential situations of today." A Church "on the way out", as Pope Francis calls for, that leaves itself on the side to go out in search of those who are distant or 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 to the REDCAM being supported by the Archdiocese of Mexico City through its various structures of pastoral service.
The participating communities shared the work they carry out in favor of the Pastoral for Sexual Diversity, which was received with empathy by the attendees. James Alison, a Queer priest and theologian, stressed the importance of putting victimization aside to empower ourselves as active members of the Church.
Theologian Marilú Rojas and Jesuit priest Conrado Zepeda were in charge of reflecting on the socio-cultural context of the country on issues regarding inclusion and equality within the rainbow community, highlighting the issue of fear of the feminine and the sexist schemes in which we frequently fall. They sought to raise awareness and promote healthy and inclusive work within the Pastoral of Diversity. People belonging to minority groups within the rainbow sector - lesbian, transgender, bisexual and parents/relatives - shared their testimonies recalling the importance of making themselves visible within pastoral work.
On the cultural side of things, the theater company "The Workshop" from the city of Puebla, presented the play: "Homo: hate is learned." Through it they invited the audience to reflect on established gender schemes. This activity closed with an exercise-meditation, led by the community of Metepec, State of Mexico, to see ourselves through the eyes of others seeking to act through our own wounds, thus transcending hatred, rejection and resentment to exercise our leadership from a place of Love.
Representatives of national groups from Italy, Spain and the United States were with us at the convention. They pointed out the importance of establishing national ties that respect 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 rainbow Catholic communities in face of the Catholic hierarchy and of society.
Panels were held to identify specific needs and to propose lines of action that will be addressed by the REDCAM. The activities and proposals that most stood out include:
To carry out an intergenerational project where attention is paid to adolescents and young people, as well as to the elderly.
To motivate the promotion of more joint work with parents and relatives of rainbow people.
To raise awareness about the importance of committing ourselves personally - and as a community - with the creation of work tools that may support the founding and monitoring of Catholic rainbow communities within the country.
After reading and signing a Commitment Letter and consolidating the founding of the Mexico Network of Rainbow Catholics (REDCAM), the First Convention of Rainbow Catholic Leaders of Mexico was closed with the celebration of the Eucharist. In it, the future of the organization was put in the hands of God, trust was laid on the certainty of its ideals and a call was made for the brave and committed work of all its members. An agreement was also reached to hold a Second Convention of Rainbow Catholic Leaders of Mexico in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco.
Upon arriving at the second Convention of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) in Germany, in December 2017, I met with no less than six representatives of the LGBTI+ Catholic groups from Mexico. The fact that, just ten months later, they would achieve the feat of organizing the first national convention of LGBTI+ Catholic groups from throughout Mexico - baptized as the Mexico Network of Rainbow Catholics (REDCAM) - seemed to me a sign of enormous energy and availability.
James Alison, Queer Catholic priest and theologian