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"An organization of gay and lesbian Roman Catholics and their friends" was formally established September 1973 in Los Angeles, and is now incorporated as a nonprofit organization under the laws of the District of Columbia, where it has its national headquarters. Dignity believes homosexuals "can express their sexuality in a manner consonant with Christ's teaching." Local chapters serve as support groups for their members, establishing an environment that affirms their sexual orientation and provides opportunities for spiritual growth. Chapters also sponsor a variety of educational programs, including the dissemination of information and publications designed to defend the rights of gays and lesbians, and to inform Catholics about the accord that Dignity perceives between homosexuality and Christian faith. The Dignity/USA organization has no official ecclesiastical standing; and in the wake of the instruction "On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons" promulgated by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (Oct. 1, 1986), many dioceses have banned Eucharistic liturgies sponsored by Dignity and closed church facilities to its local meetings and social activities.

[t. j. sena]