A Catholic Response to Gender Identity Theory addresses “tsunami” of gender ideology

“We are heavily influenced by the culture around us,” says Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland, “and many of our own Catholic people may have adopted gender identity theory. I want them to read this document—not just the guidelines, but to dig deep into the teaching.”

Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, greets parishioners after Mass. (Image: Archdiocese of Portland)

Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon released A Catholic Response to Gender Identity Theory: Catechesis and Pastoral Guidelines on January 25th. In an introductory letter, he explained that its purpose is “to provide clarity on the Catholic Church’s teaching on gender identity theory.” He said the guidelines are offered as “a teaching and formation resource and also as encouragement and hope for everyone working with those dealing with gender identity issues.”

“This document,” he continued, “aims to provide preliminary guidance for Catholic schools, religious education programs, sacramental preparation programs and youth ministry activities for our youth up to 18 years of age in the Archdiocese of Portland, in order to support and accompany gender-questioning students and their families in a way that ensures our Catholic institutions fulfill their Catholic mission.”

Archbishop Sample noted, “In the light of the Catholic faith, the human body is a gift, good and willed by God. Our bodies are part of the harmony of the created order, and our sexual difference is part of God’s self-revelation, as well as a sign of our ultimate calling: to give and receive love.”

He described gender identity theory as the belief that “one’s identity as a man, woman, or both/neither is based solely on subjective self-perception. … [Gender identity theory] separates ‘gender’ (man-ness and woman-ness and the masculine and feminine principles found in nature itself) from biological sex, rooting sexed identity in a dissociated self-perception rather than the body.”

His pastoral guidelines include that in Catholic institutions one must use the following in accordance with one’s biological sex: pronouns, restrooms and locker rooms, and dress. Participation in sex-segregated activities such as sports competitions must be according to one’s biological sex. Additionally, Catholic institutions may not have on-site or distribute medications for the purpose of gender transition and cannot display signage that support gender identity theory.

Archbishop Sample, 62, has led the Portland Archdiocese since 2013. There are 125 parishes and 23 missions in the archdiocese, and 400,000 baptized faithful.

CWR: Why did you decide to write and distribute this document?

Archbishop Alexander Sample: It began as an initiative of my archdiocesan presbyteral (priests) council. The topic came up about a year and a half ago. Our pastors who oversaw schools were beginning to be confronted with the phenomenon of transgenderism. There were not a large number of such persons, but enough to make it an issue of concern. The pastors were looking for guidance and consistency.

After a long discussion, we agreed to work up a teaching document that would express our Catholic anthropology of the human person, point out the errors of gender identity theory, and offer an approach to pastorally respond to those who struggle with this issue so we can affirm the whole person.

CWR: What assistance did you have in preparing this document?

Archbishop Sample: We formed a working group to develop this document that included priests, a Catholic psychiatrist, a theologian, and people from our Catholic schools. Working as a small group, they developed it, kept me apprised of its progress and submitted drafts for my review. So although I did not develop this document, I now regard it as my own and take full ownership of its contents.

CWR: What reaction have you received?

Archbishop Sample: It has been largely positive. Many people, especially parents, have thanked me for releasing a clear teaching document.

The Church is strong here and we have many faithful Catholics, but we live in the Pacific Northwest, which has a very secular culture, which has embraced gender ideology theory. So, I’ve received some pushback or disagreement, but nothing that causes me any grave concerns.

This document offers preliminary guidance, and we’re introducing guidelines slowly and carefully. We are welcoming feedback, and looking for ways to make this document stronger. We are being patient and careful, and not trying to impose a hard, fast policy from on high. We are hoping this will help people receive the document with open minds.

CWR: How many other U.S. dioceses have adopted similar guidelines?

Archbishop Sample: I believe 30 or more have issued documents on this topic. When we first talked about this in the presbyteral council we thought we might not have to reinvent the wheel, but could take an existing document from somewhere else and modify it for our own purposes.

But we looked at policies from many other dioceses and ended up creating a document largely of our own composition. It is our contribution to the conversation. I am proud of it. I think it is one of the best out there.

CWR: In the document, you note that the number of “trans-identified” people in the U.S. has doubled since 2017. Why do you believe this is so?

Archbishop Sample: This phenomenon has really felt somewhat like a tsunami coming at us. I am at a loss to explain how it has taken such a foothold in our culture. The cultural shift that has happened has been quite stunning. Forty-three percent who identify as transgender are below the age of 25, and I think it is undeniable that social media has had a great influence on them rather than older persons or the wisdom of the Church. In a moment of confusion young people are exposed to these ideas that say you can be something other than what you’re created to be and you can define what you are.

I also suspect that making money is involved, in the area of treatment for transitioning.

CWR: You note that gender identity theory separates biological sex from gender, “rooting sexed identity in a dissociated self-perception rather than the body.” So, whatever in my brain I choose to be, that is what I am, and everyone else should go along with my choice. Is that a fair summation?

Archbishop Sample: There are really no new heresies; it is a recycling of dualism, the idea that my mind and spirit can be separate from my bodily experience. I can have a perception of myself which defines myself apart from what my bodily existence tells me I am.

We know from Catholic anthropology that we are the unity of body, soul, and mind, one reality that we cannot separate into parts. We are rooted in our “bodyliness”. Pope St. John Paul II teaches us in the Theology of the Body that we cannot dissociate our mind and spirit from our bodily reality, it is one unity, but that is what gender theory ideology is seeking to do.

Anorexia nervosa provides a useful analogy. We might look at a person who has this condition, and see a body that resembles that of a concentration camp survivor. But such persons look at themselves in the mirror, see some skin around their middle section, and they see themselves as fat. They think they need to lose weight. There is a divorce between what their mind and their body tell them.

We would not encourage a person with anorexia nervosa to lose weight. We would offer them our love and support, but not affirm their belief that they need to eat less.

People who have gender dysphoria genuinely suffer and we must have great compassion for them. There is a disconnect from what their minds are telling them and what their bodies are telling them. It is a genuine psychological condition, and we need to love people in this situation. However, we cannot give in to gender identity ideology, which has taken over our culture. Pope Francis has referred to it as the ideological colonization of the culture and has stated that it must be resisted.

CWR: Can your letter be described as a calling of people back to reality? That there is an objective truth about what we are, and the wise, healthy choice is to accept it?

Archbishop Sample: Yes. What we do is try to exhibit compassion with this document, to be clear but faithful to the truth. We have to tell the truth, and not lead anyone down the path of falsehood.

CWR: You mention “gender affirming care” (GAC) which includes such medical practices as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgeries; you also mention studies that show the adverse psychological effects of among those who receive GAC, such as a suicide rate 19 times higher for those who have undergone medical transition than the general population.

Archbishop Sample: The evidence is not real robust, but we can conclude that medical transition, at best, does not solve, and at worst exacerbates the problems of those with gender dysphoria. Changing the body does not address the deeper core issue inside of the person; adjusting the body does not fix what’s wrong. We are saying the body is wrong, rather than this being a psychological condition. Instead, we need to evaluate if this person’s perception needs to be treated.

Some years ago, we had a presentation by a pediatric endocrinologist in the archdiocese. He noted that when a young person experiences gender dysphoria, if we do nothing, if we do not intervene at all, up to 80% of the time the person will naturally realign with his biological sex. However, if we start them down the GAC path, beginning with the social changes, they will naturally go down that path, even to medical intervention and to surgery.

We need to intervene with positive support and love. We need to treat the whole person, affirm them as a whole person, their belovedness, reminding them they are good and loved. This is the kind of affirmation they need.

CWR: A large number of those in the “transgender” community today are teenage girls. But in order to transition, these girls need approval and assistance from parents or guardians, therapists, medical personnel, and people who work for drug companies. While it may be understandable why a struggling teen (at an age known for being immature and impulsive) may fall prey to gender identity theory, why do you think so many adults who should know better are going along with it?

Archbishop Sample: I am at a loss to understand that reality. I am sure that parents who have a child genuinely struggling with these issues want to do everything to love and support their child, but I can’t imagine why adults are going along with this. I suspect they are driven by fear. They believe if they don’t affirm their child’s chosen identity they are putting him or her at risk for suicide, depression, and other sorts of mental illness. But I cannot imagine that parents would be driven by ideology to this extent.

That is why in our document we discuss affirming the whole person. With care and counseling, a person struggling with gender dysphoria can work through his or her problems.

CWR: Is it important for parents to understand that medical GAC is irreversible … you can’t reattached removed body parts or undo the effects of these drugs.

Archbishop Sample: Yes. That is what is heartbreaking for me. It begins with social transitioning—names, pronouns, dress, use of facilities—and leads to medical interventions—puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgical procedures. My heart goes out to those who have gone through these things and now bitterly regret what has happened to them. Parents need to hear the stories of these people.

A parent may not think social transitioning does any harm; new names, pronouns and dress are nothing permanent and we can live with these things. However, the danger is that once you start down this path, it will lead to more.

CWR: Are you aware of the growing community of those who have “de-transitioned” and are now speaking out against it, such as 18-year-old Chloe Cole? Is it important that we hear their testimonies?

Archbishop Sample: Yes, we should listen to these good folks, and learn from their experiences.

We also need to listen to the wisdom of the Church, which has been guided by the Holy Spirit through the centuries and is deeply rooted in biblical realities throughout all of creation history. This is the first time in all of human history that we’ve struggled with the question of biological sex vs. gender. The Church provides biblical and spiritual wisdom to which we need to listen.

We also need to listen to Pope Francis, who has strongly condemned gender identity theory. He believes it has done great harm and it is the ultimate denial of the Creator when we define ourselves.

CWR: You conclude your document with a section entitled: “Whole-Person Affirmation: A Catholic Response.” Suppose someone you care about has embraced gender identity theory perhaps even to the point of considering “transitioning” him or herself. Talk about accompaniment and what a proper Catholic response might be.

Archbishop Sample: As we outline in the document, these young people need to be reaffirmed in their belovedness. As we accompany them, they need to know up front unequivocally that they are loved, and that we love them, and we will be there for them. We will not abandon them, and will not judge or condemn them. We will walk with them and lead them to the truth and to Jesus.

We need to affirm the sacramentality of their bodies, and that the body is good. We need to declare that there is no hard, fast right way to be a boy or a girl. We have lost sight of this; we don’t have to live with gender stereotypes, there is a lot of diversity in how one can live out masculinity and femininity.

We have to walk with them, talk with them, engage with them, hear them and love them deeply. This is especially important for parents to do with their children.

CWR: Any final thoughts?

Archbishop Sample: In responding to some of the resistance the document has received, I wonder how many have read it. We are heavily influenced by the culture around us, and many of our own Catholic people may have adopted gender identity theory. I want them to read this document—not just the guidelines, but to dig deep into the teaching. Read it carefully, slowly and prayerfully. Read it again. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you through the wisdom of the Church, and the wisdom of the Creator.

One comment by the “de-transitioned” Chloe Cole that struck me was that she said adults need to take a stand. Complacency is what let this to happen to her in the first place. For the sake of our children, we have to be the adults in the room. We need to help these young people, guide them, and lead them in mercy and in love.


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About Jim Graves 223 Articles
Jim Graves is a Catholic writer living in Newport Beach, California.

36 Comments

  1. Trangenderism is a disorder of the human condition that, like so many other disorders, is culturally induced by strong societal influencers that amounts to brainwashing. We need to be clear about what is normative otherwise we too, along with those who suffer with these disorders, become disordered ourselves. I’m glad to see that Archbishop Sample and most of his diocesan clergy have not lost their minds.

  2. Thank you, Archbishop Sample!

    In their priority “calls to action,” the synodal North American Continental Assembly should replace the Fr. James Martin link on the USCCB website with this and other similar pieces of pastoral genuineness and sanity. Three other bits of information:

    FIRST, the transgender science includes the authors of a 2019 study, which at first claimed that gender-transition surgery may improve the long-term mental health of recipients. The authors then issued a much-less reported CORRECTION (2020): Richard Bränström, Ph.D., and John E. Pachankis, Ph.D. concluded that: “the results demonstrated no advantage of surgery in relation to subsequent mood or anxiety disorder-related health care.” https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/08/04/researchers-reverse-gender-surgery-offers-no-advantage-to-mental-health/

    SECOND, a prominent posting and support by the USCCB for Courage International (https://couragerc.org/) seems reasonable.

    THIRD, some of the science: GENOME RESEARCH related homosexual activity does point to some genetic markers—but it does NOT find a gay gene—and concludes that these markers do not account for same-sex behavior. https://news.yahoo.com/no-gay-gene-study-finds-180220669.html. The research analyzed data on DNA and sexual experiences from 470,000 people and found only five of the genetic markers were “significantly” associated with same-sex behavior, BUT even these have “a very small effect [….]” (Andrea Ganna, a biologist at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland who co-led the research).

    This means that, rather than caving to Fr. James Martin, the USCCB could focus more on the tough work of helping souls troubled by real causative factors: the social environment, sexual abuse, a culture of early experimentation, upbringing, personality, poor nurturing and absent or remote father figures—these are far more significant in influencing a person’s choice of a sexual partner. A “partner? Even a few words from the ambo on the vocation of real marriage and the Theology of the Body.

    All of the above, rather than the breezy and business-as-usual, “God made you that way.”

  3. Boys will be boys. Girls will be girls. Boys will never be girls, and girls will never be boys. It’s that simple.

  4. As Archbishop Sample points out these people drowning in this transgender tsunami are truly suffering, suffering under a delusion but still suffering. When someone deeply believes something, even if it’s erroneous, it’s almost impossible to convince them of otherwise. My two cents? They don’t need a shrink or a surgeon they need a philosopher. Accept what they believe on the face of it and point out what a unique life experience they have! To have the body of a man but the mind of a woman or vice-versa! What a wonderful opportunity to live with two perspectives! Changing their bodies just so other people will believe them implies they don’t really believe it themselves, and therefore need outside affirmation. At the very least it might delay, or prevent altogether, mutilating and irreversible amputations. As Emily Dickinson wrote: Tell the truth but tell it slant.

  5. I wish there would be more acknowledgement of the spiritual aspect of this phenonmena – that evil spirits roam about the world “seeking the ruin of souls”. The archbishop references Pope Francis’ condemnation of transgenderism but fails to mention that Francis specifically has referred to the demonic nature of the transgender phenonmena. These ideas may have visible roots in human ideologies, but they have invisible roots in the spiritual realm. If we do not recognize the true source and the full context of the dynamics, we will not be able to adequately deal with the “tsunami”. American clergy, compared for instance with the Italian, for some reason seem to often discount or downplay this aspect of reality. It certainly wasn’t discounted in the New Testament and if we seek the source of the trouble in only the social or psychological, we will never be able to subdue it at its source.

  6. Thank you for this article and for the fidelity and courage of Archbishop Sample, who, among many other important points, observes the problem of Catholics being “heavily influenced by the culture around us.” Coincidentally Mary Healy in her commentary on today’s lectionary reading from the Gospel of Mark similarly notes the temptation “to soft-pedal the gospel in order to conform to the political correctness of the age.” We unfortunately see this push for “cheap grace” all too clearly in the German synodal process and with clerics like Cardinal McElroy.

  7. While I laud the bishop his efforts, I am rather flommuxed about how the ruse of gender dysphoria can be discussed at some length and NOT include even the slightest mention of our eternal nemesis, Lucifer. If consecrated members of the clergy make no reference, who will?

  8. Archbishop Sample’s pointed separation of sexual activity from gender physicality marks the disintegration of definition, what things are.
    Identified in my comment on the work of psychologist Erik Erikson in The incalculables of State Sponsored Suicide, that the preeminent issue underlying this disintegration is the constant change in modern culture. An example, when stationed in Denver CO the city had the highest suicide rate among the young. Health care persons seemed unanimous in pointing out the large influx into Denver of young persons from diverse areas into a fast moving Denver environment. One common cause was cited as the loss of ‘support systems’, family, friends, and the local parish. Life for many became a rediscovery of identity, often a tragic loss of identity leading to transgenderism.
    Stability comes in multiple forms. The essential is belief of what we are family, our parents as Archbishop says is a vital component. Dilemma. What if parents have themselves entered a confused mindset and really don’t possess convictions. Relativity is rampant. Our Church is the only and last resource for defining our human nature as men and women, boys and girls. And the inherent beauty of these distinctions.
    Unfortunately, except for a few leaders, Archbishop Sample among them, many of our prelates are interiorely as confused as the general populace. As always it’s strong, orthodox conviction of the faith, and natural law that needs to filter down from the top, the very apex of Church authority and its perennial Magisterium.

  9. Are we winning or losing THE WAR?

    Excerpt:
    Archbishop Sample said the guidelines are offered as “a teaching and formation resource and also as encouragement and hope for everyone working with those dealing with gender identity issues.”

    Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus created a Clinic: “Where You Can Pray Away the Gay”. Patient: “God would FORGIVE me if I were straight.” Marcus, Michele’s husband was charged with not keeping accurate records of “patients”. As a result, we will never know the rate of success of the so-called “clinic”.

    Both are convinced that a Transgender person CHOOSES their lifestyle. I am not so convinced that Baalzebub is at play. I ask WHY would one surgically submit themselves to mutilation if they chose?

    God is the only one that knows. May he intercede to rescue mankind from our dilemma.

  10. I am a Catholic physician working for a Catholic hospital and primary care system in Portland. I have patients who identify as transgender. I work with patients to make them feel comfortable and accepted and I care for them where they are at. Although alot of the prose of this document is supportive- the pastoral bullet point summary is a ‘dos and donts’ that creates division, isolation, and inflammation. I find it most helpful to embrace my patients if I address them as how they want to be addressed. I disagree with a number of the dictates. This is after prayer, reading the Bible, participating in Catholic community, and prayer which is reflection and immersion in my community and patient visits which has afforded me a personal look at the vulnerability of transgender youth and adults . These statements alienate patients coming to Catholic hospitals, clinics, and care facilities. This is dangerous – when schools create a culture of acceptance for transgender youth- suicide goes down. Repeat- Suicide goes down. Sit knee to knee and take a pastoral approach. Recognize that this tsunami is not one wave- it is a confluence of societal progression- it can feels stormy, but these waters have always been with us. There is fantastic work of CARE for these fellow citizens and Catholics going on in your midst. Do not judge, do not set preconditions on semantics or toileting. love. If the Archidiocese melds their God Loves all his children to a statement of requirement for pronouns, requiring birth sex assigned bathrooms, requiring sports teams only be based on sex assigned at birth, makes requirements for care and support given at a school or health care facility, then tehy are missing the opportunity to be open to truly eye opening , love expanding opportunity. The long arc of church history is to have periods of being terribly terribly wrong on issues of rights with regard to gender , color of skin, child rights , children of unwed marriages, children and people who are of Native heritage educated in Catholic schools. I encourage everyone reading this article to Be Still , to love, and to recognize that the answer to these challenges is much more to reflect on the parables of human experience then a list of new Ten Archdiocesan Commandments formed by a group of celibate men who still have a very very large plank (tree, if you will) in their eye with regard to child sexual and mental health. True words are not always fine, fine words are not always true.

    • The “accept transgenderism or people will commit suicide” trope is manipulative and false. A committed believer would not embrace, support, encourage, or advance that false narrative.

      • What some people seem to overlook is that when trans people take that (drastic) step; they put to death their own personage. I’ve never seen an honest person on that side of the debate admit it. Do they hold a funeral for the now dead person they were? It seems only appropriate. I just can’t affirm these confused individuals in their delusion. I shouldn’t be asked to participate in their deception, their demise.

      • create safe spaces and there is less suicide. The Trevor Project can give the resources. I am not asking anyone to accept transgenderism- accept the people. Accept that they want to be addressed in a certain way. make them feel safe and seen.

        • But you certainly are asking people to endorse transgenderism. That was the central point of your post. You’re simply trying to backtrack now. We’re under no obligation to participate in a lie, regardless of how noble it may appear to be.

    • Deborah Murphy,
      You claim you are a physician yet seem ignorant of “First Do No Harm,” you claim to read the bible yet seem unfamiliar with Jesus saying “avoid greed in all its forms” even though the recent emergence of this sex change lunacy has turned into a lucrative industry with lightning speed. You write: “when schools create a culture of acceptance for transgender youth- suicide goes down. Repeat- Suicide goes down,” but conveniently leave out that it’s the schools themselves that are in the forefront of promoting this culture in the first place, hence suicide, a culture created by… who? Now THAT’S an interesting question! Why on earth are government actors encouraging our country’s children to remove their sex organs? You include yourself in an ostensible scientific community, yet what science does exist is debatable and theoretical at best, and merely opines that in exceedingly rare case some hormone receptors may be mutated and not function normally (see “Science shows transgender education doesn’t belong in schools,” New York Post, April 20, 2022). You end your monstrous and self-serving reply comment with: True words are not always fine, fine words are not always true. Wow. If you’re going for “The Yu Dragon” well, you’ve missed the mark. Again. It’s actually: Pretty words are not always true, true words are not always pretty; and yet, they are still true.” How does that compare to your sad approach to First, Do No Harm?

      • create safe spaces and there is less suicide. The Trevor Project can give the resources. I am not asking anyone to accept transgenderism- accept the people. Accept that they want to be addressed in a certain way. make them feel safe and seen.

    • Remind me not to refer anyone to you.

      I do have one question to ask: When you interact with your patients, what role does the truth play? Yes, I know you’re into “their feelings” but do you reflect to them the truth as you know it or do you persist in portraying to them the lies that got them into the predicament that they’re in?

      • I work in a full specturm family practice. when I interact with my patients, I greet them , ask them what is important to them, and we set the agenda for the visit. THe truth as I know it? we address their concerns, and raise concerns about health- their blood pressure, cancer screening, vaccinations from which they could benefit. if patients tell me they are transgender, I ask them questions. I ask them if they want to talk about it- and if they dont now, then I am here to listen in the future. people who identify as transgender (or are not certain) get all the same questions we give all our patients- sexual health history and also ask alot of mental health questions which are recommended screening by the American Academy of Pediatrics, including sexual orientation so that we may provide appropriate info on STD prevention, pregnancy planning or prevention. we also ask about safety, food and housing security, depression, family history, school- are they on track to graduate? what are their plans etc. For ‘truth’? I try to provide accurate medical information. These youth appreciate being called by their pronouns and their name. They have a higher burden of anxiety, depression and suicide, on average. I really worry that school policy that doesnt recognize who they think they are- who they believe themselves to be- will exacerbate all of that.

    • when schools create a culture of acceptance for transgender youth- suicide goes down. Repeat- Suicide goes down.

      Citation needed.

      And let it suffice to say that there is a bit more to taking an authentically Catholic position than reading the Bible and participating in an unspecified Catholic community.

  11. Heterosexuality numerically prevails, though homosexuality is numerically lesser, it also has been common throughout the ages. It is so wrong to preach fire and brimstone against deviants from the sexual norm. Wise philosophy is to understand that human nature is not, nor need not be, 100 percent heterosexual. If the concern is the furtherance of the human race, all needed is to look at the historic record and realise that there probably will continue to be babies born as long as mankind is around. If the concern is to satisfy religion, then take charge and reform your religion by a more enlightened understanding of the variety of human sexual experience. Understand that there are those whose sense of self, and of their sexual and sentimental nature are not heterosexual. Theirs may be an inclination toward homosexual or bisexual love and physical expression thereof. Who are you to uncharitably judge?

    There is nothing in love alien to homosexual lovers. They too are visited by ‘storge’, ‘philia’, ‘eros’, and ‘agape’, the modes of love C.S. Lewis posits as covering the gamut in his classic “The Four Loves” (1960). Human procreation as a couple is not to homosexuals possible, however, to lovingly care, nurture and upbring a child certainly are abilities within their power. More often than not, they exercise them well, no worse than most heterosexuals. Go and see.

    There is nothing intrinsically satanic to homosexual or bisexual love, nor to blessing bisexual or homosexual lovers. Totally the contrary.

    • And where, pray tell, is the theological support for your position both from biblical teachings and the church’s magisterium? What is your motive for trying to support and advance a view of sexuality that is diametrically opposed to the deposit of faith?

    • We read: “Theirs may be an inclination [!] toward homosexual or bisexual love and physical expression [!] thereof. Who are you to uncharitably judge?” A misleading two-part proposition: First, that an “inclination” is inseparable from its “physical expression;” and, second, that to question this gratuitous conflation is to “uncharitably judge” individuals.

      The physical expression of anorexia is suicide. As is an inclination toward melancholy and despair, sometimes. No judgment there, just a factual observation about inclinations. Likewise, the physical expression of sexual attraction is normally part of the graced union between man and wife—binary and complementary. But the inclination can also veer off into lust, or into active homosexual or bisexual liaisons, or polygamy, or group orgy; or multiple (heterosexual) adulterous, or homosexual or bisexual “partners.” All are equally subject to the Commandments.

      Active sexual expression outside of true marriage ultimately includes a self-betrayal outside of our baked-in and universal natural law–in marriage, interpersonal unity together with possible fecundity. Not only for the possibility of offspring, but never dismembered from it. The body-soul unity of each individual human Person is also a particular expression of the natural law shared universally.

      In our imperfect state, asceticism is part of the path, whatever our particular bundle of inclinations. To notice the very recent and sensate deconstruction of both thought and actions is less an “uncharitable judgment” of individuals than it is a broad observation of unhappy deception. And so, about yet another “inclination,” or more—our natural-law ability to notice what is self-evident—about this capacity, all of us would do well to not untruthfully and “uncharitably judge” against it in favor of one simplistic bundle of deterministic inclinations or another.

  12. Once again….. In writing, always use quotation marks with “transgender” (also “trans,” “trannie,” etc.) to signify that it is a faux term since nobody can change their genders. In conversation, be sure to make it clear that the term is not accepted and won’t be acknowledged for the same reason. Don’t ever give in on this, even for so-called politeness reasons. Apply the same approach to the despicable, anti-freedom-of-speech insistence that people must deny objective reality and refer to other people by their “chosen pronouns” that do not coincide with their biological/gender realities.

    Also, nobody can “transition” or ever has “transitioned” or is in the process of “transitioning” from one sex to other. Such is impossible, so this must also be resisted and made clear that it is merely a fantasy that also attacks objective reality and God’s creative order. And, because nobody can so “transition,” it is also flat out stupid to wrongly praise some people for allegedly “de-transitioning” as if they had indeed “transitioned” from one sex to the other and have subsequently worked at reducing or eliminating any mutilation and so on from their ill-conceived efforts to change what cannot be changed. Such people can be praised and encouraged for recognizing the error of their initial efforts to try to change what cannot be changed, but in no way should this ever be looked upon rationally as actually “de-transitioning,” which is simply not impossible.

    The roots of the term gender come from the Latin genus, which means kind, or kind of thing. As such, one objective and legitimate application of the term ‘gender’ is the classification (kind of thing) of organisms based on their biological sex. This being so, everyone is a particular and non-changeable gender or kind of thing, which is either the biological male gender or the biological female gender.

    Moreover, ever since the 12th century, the word ‘gender’ has been properly recognized and used as a synonym for the biological sexes, and this understanding/usage was made even stronger in the 15th century. As such, this rightful understanding of gender must not be surrendered to the “transgender” movement since they and their fellow travelers use their preferred yet still false definition of gender as a social construct and/or feelings a person has that may or may not coincide with their biological sex/gender to further promote their despicable agenda. It is also the case that the word ‘gender’ has been used as a grammatical term or category, BUT it is not limited to this usage, and so this false approach that wrongly separates biological sex from gender must also be avoided. We must always insist that gender and biological sex are synonymous to further demonstrate the folly of the “transgender” movement that proudly proclaims biological sex and gender are different.

    Bottom Line: Male sex = Male gender. Female sex = Female Gender.

    Many years ago the late, great Reverend William Smith frequently advised that “all social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering.” The more we give in to the use of such malevolent and false terminology used by “transgender” advocates (no matter how many doctors, psychologists, church leaders, and so on believe otherwise), the more we help to normalize the abuse of properly recognizing God’s creative order of male and female.

  13. Archbishop!! Way to go!! How refreshing to see a high churchman with the courage to state Catholic teaching and reinforce the obvious about the sexes. This should be the norm in the Catholic Church but sadly it is not. Catholic schools, some of whom have relaxed their standards in this area, especially in blue states, need to see this document and take it up too. I suggest that catholic schools need to have their teachers sign a document acknowledging that they must comply with Catholic teaching regarding their personal morality and sexual identity or they will be dismissed from their teaching post.This should be a standard part of hiring practice at Catholic schools. I have seen more than one case in the media where a catholic teacher decides to live openly with a gay girlfriend or become transgender and then balks when they are let go from their employment at a catholic school. Catholic parents dont spend a small fortune on school tuition to have their children exposed to this.
    Bravo Archbishop!

  14. Finally it’s like Deacon Peitler suggests, disbelievers of an ordained order of nature as the bedrock of morality might as well be thought of as bodily here on earth, but their intellects out there somewhere floating around in space.
    Reason won’t jar their free floating intellects because what makes for right reasoning inhibits worship of that sacred cow conceptual freedom, the right to make yourself happy – as you wish. Ends of nature, bodily senses, physicality designed for evident purpose are perceived as nice but not necessarily demanding of our life’s choices. It’s not that we should surrender reasonable argument with the carefree happy. We never know if an opening of that detached mind from body might listen.
    Without grace we don’t survive this world, this testing ground of integrity and good will. And that is achieved by our willingness to lay down our lives – in some fashion in accord with our station a sacrificial comportment meant to save. Purely out of charity as taught us by Christ.

  15. It is refreshing to learn that a bishop is using Christian doctrine to respond to the confusion of the sexual revolutionaries. It is also encouraging that the theology of the pastoral letter—which i read– begins with Genesis, and announces that God created only two sexes. The letter does fall short in at least some significant respects, which are, that the creation of sexual differentiation is for the procreation of the species, that sex should be reserved to marriage, and that man and woman in marriage should be fruitful and multiply, and to subdue the earth. This is the complete teaching of Genesis which are in fact, the first commandments that God gave to us. This teaching has been under attack for most of the last 100years. The letter, albeit, is not a theological treatise, but it would have shown more clarity and force if it pointed at the facts that the current transgender variation of the sexual revolution is the logical extension of a bizarre cult that began with radical feminism and its hatred of the biology of the body, its embrace of birth control, abortion, divorce, and its hatred of “the patriarchy” and fertility.

    • The venom espoused by the so called “Righteous” is contrary to the love of God. The pious hypocrisy is counter-productive. Traditionalists condemn gay men and women. At the same time these hypocrites embrace and protect pedophiles.
      Lord, forgive the venom of the those who hate in your name. AMEN.

  16. To Richard Cross:

    Some fine analysis, Richard. The document contains lots of good insights, but I also found quite a few shortcomings throughout the touted document that are quite objectionable.

    For instance, you rightly point out that those who are confused are “sexual revolutionaries,” but the document bends over backwards to claim the issue in and of itself is complex, which is simply not the case for for anybody grounded in common sense and sound Catholic teaching.

    Next, some stronger wording here and there would add some additional clarity. Instead of often just pointing out what a theory states or what some subjective states of mind are, it needs to be reinforced often that such and such theory Wrongly asserts X; not just that it asserts X, and the wrong-headed subjective states of mind are Erroneous and/or irrational; not just subjective since subjective can be solid.

    Then there is a common error found in the document that is also found in many other documents, comments, and so on, and that is (despite a few areas where the error is avoided) the use of the “transgender” movement’s favored terminology without qualification such as quotation marks and so on to make it clear that such definitions are bogus and not accepted. For instance, the document refers to “medical transition” without quotation marks, but even worse for this term is an acceptance that such actually occurs instead of simply and accurately pointing out that “medical transition” is essentially and objectively an immoral mutilation of the body by some members of the medical community. Nobody can “transition” from one sex to the other sex, and as a corollary, nobody can “de-transition.” Sadly, too many unthinking people wrongly praise some for allegedly attempting to “de-transition” or “change back” to their “original sex” instead of properly praising them for trying to undo the mutilation of their one sex only bodies.

    There is also the problem of failing to recognize the synonymous nature of biological sex and gender even though the problem here is not as great since there is a highlighting of Pope Francis’ ‘close but no cigar’ declaration of “While gender…can be distinguished from sex…, gender cannot be separated from sex.”
    Claiming a distinction between gender and sex still opens the door to false understandings. There is actually no distinction since the terms are synonymous and have been since at least the 12th Century AD.

    And lastly for now, the entire section on “Whole-Person Affirmation…” is filled with lots of psycho-babble and other nonsense. For instance, enjoy this beauty: “In our fallen world, we all experience a sense of disintegration….”. Hogwash! A few lines later we read “Sometimes we can experience our human condition as a living contradiction.”. Really? The purpose of such statements is to push the bogus form of the accompaniment game (wherein objective truth is secondary if emphasized at all) by falsely claiming that we all suffer some kinds of psychological and/or psycho-physical disharmonies…just like those who suffer from gender dysphoria.

    There are other statements in the document that are also objectionable and counterproductive, but indeed some good aspects as well. In short, whenever the document emphasizes Catholic moral teaching grounded in objective truth, it is a fine piece of pastoral guidance, but when it adopts bogus terminology and explanations, and also applies psycho-babble instead of common sense, it is not helpful at all.

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