The first line in a recent news report states, “As the debate over transgenderism grows across the country, two Catholic churches are holding what local news calls a “series of talks on what it’s like to be transgender.’” The sponsors are All Saints Catholic Church and St. Lucy’s Catholic Church, both located in the diocese of Syracuse, New York.
Transgenderism is defined as an expression of gender identity that differs from that which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth.
So the question that comes to mind is simply why any Catholic parish would be involved in discussions that are focused on a question that is clearly out of sync with Catholic teaching on the subject of man and his sexual identity.
Pope Benedict addressed this topic specifically in a speech at the Vatican late in 2012 when he cautioned Catholics about “destroying the very essence of the human creature through manipulating their God-given gender to suit their sexual choices.” Pope Benedict warned that “when the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker Himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God.”
It must be noted that Catholics are most certainly called by God to respect the human dignity of every person regardless of their sexual orientation. But respecting persons because they are children of God should not preclude examining the reasons why certain behaviors and lifestyles are offensive to God and should be defined as such. Even in a politically correct world there should be room for clear doctrine in matters as sensitive as those impacting the sexuality of the human person.
Professor Anne Hendershott wrote on the subject:
Church teaching allows for the acknowledgment that there can be a biological reason for gender-identity disorder. But it also allows for the possibility of other dimensions to this disorder—a sociological dimension and a psychological dimension—that can never be addressed through cross-dressing or surgical intervention.
But, in the secular world, it has become heretical even to suggest such a thing. In fact, it has become heretical even to suggest that we should not be celebrating the transgender movement.
Indeed, that is the crux of the problem. As a society, and in particular as Catholics living in the culture, we have slid along the greased road of spontaneous sexual behaviors all the way from contraception to aborting a human being to accepting and even embracing the many identities found in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) movement. Few have balked at this deconstruction of the natural order as designed by God because to do so suggests to the elite among us that we are simply fanatical zealots who would be better off in a cave somewhere.
In fact, the growing trend among Catholics is to literally split away from the Church on any question dealing with human sexual behavior, as evidenced in a worldwide poll of Catholics commissioned by Univision. According to the poll, 57 percent of Catholics thought abortion should be permitted in some cases, 30 percent support “gay marriage,” and 78 percent support the use of contraception. In each of these cases, supposed Catholics are at odds with Catholic teaching and are not shy about it.
Could this be why there are transgender workshops moving forward in Syracuse, New York, Catholic parishes without any apparent pushback from the diocese? We cannot say.
We do say that the situation is at the very least symptomatic of the thriving trend within our society to endure even the most twisted of human choices, all in the name of tolerance.