Catholic beliefs about the causes & cures of transsexuality, catholic answers forum.#Catholic


Part 1 of 2 parts:

according to the Roman Catholic Church

Catholic answers forum

Background:

As noted elsewhere in this section a transgender individual is a person who experiences sustained Gender Dysphoria.This was once called Gender Identity Disorder, or GID. These terms are no longer used because they are seen to be stigmatizing.)

Their genetic gender is different from their perceived gender. Some describe themselves as a woman trapped in a man s body, or vice versa. Others view themselves as having a male brain in a female body, or vice versa.

There are two obvious ways to resolve this conflict:

  1. Change the person’s thinking so that the accept their genetic gender: Our scientific knowledge of the workings of the human brain are not developed to the point where this is possible; it may never be. A full range of therapies have been tried in an attempt to cure Gender Dysphoria in adults. However, there has allegedly been not a single cure during many decades of attempts. What there has been is a massive suicide rate, claimed by some to have been about 50%. Attempting to change the thinking of transgender persons does not appear to be a safe or encouraging path.

  • Change the person’s physical appearance to match their perceived gender. In this way, a woman who felt trapped in a man’s body can be altered to appear to be female through hormone therapy and perhaps gender reassignment surgery. Similarly, a man who felt trapped in a woman’s body could pass as a man. Their perceived gender and their physical appearance become harmonized. The vast majority who try this path are pleased with the changes.
  • This second approach is forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church, because of their system of morality, ironically called the Culture of Life, even though it would probably lead to a significant increase in the rate of suicides if the Church’s ban is followed.

    Catholic answers forum

    Catholic answers forum

    2001: Response by Fr. William P. Saunders:

    A reader of the Catholic Herald from Roseville, CA asked Father Saunders — a columnist from the magazine:

    I know a man who had a ‘sex change’ operation and is now a ‘woman.’ What moral teaching does the Church give on this subject? 1,2

    Father Saunders quoted a Vatican II document titled: Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. It stated that:

    Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.

    When applied to transsexuality, the document implies that a person with Gender Dysphoria must accept their body as it is. Surgically modifying one’s body would be a serious sin.

    He also quotes Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:19:

    What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

    The implication is that one’s body is not one’s own to be changed at will.

    Finally, he quotes the Catholic Catechism, item 2297:

    Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reason, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.

    The process of sexual reassignment involves major changes to the persons body:

    • For a male-to-female (MTF) transsexual, this typically involves removal of the penis, testicles, and scrotum. It involves hormone treatment and perhaps surgery to enlarge the breasts, removing part of the Adam’s apple, and/or changing the shape of her face.

    . a radical and grotesque mutilation of the body. To destroy organs purposefully that are healthy and functioning, and to try to create imitation organs which will never have the genuineness and functioning of authentic organs is gross and lacks charity. Such surgery which purposefully destroys the bodily integrity of the person must be condemned.

    Still, such surgery is the only way to bring peace to many transgender persons and to reduce their thoughts of suicide. Althoug a ban on sexual reassignment surgery is consistent with the Church’s teachings, if applied universally it would drastically increase completed suicides. Some observers would consider such surgery moral and consider the Church teachings immoral because of the loss of life.

    For matters like marriage and ordination, the church considers only the genetic gender of the individual. Thus a MTF transsexual could not marry a man in a Catholic Church. This is because the church would regard this as a same-sex marriage of two males. A MTF transexual might not be able to marry a woman even though the church considered them as an opposite-sex couple. The church has refused to marry some couples in the past who cannot conceive children. Similarly a FTM transsexual would not be eligible for consideration for ordination, no matter what his appearance, personality, talents or knowledge are.

    Fr. Saunders notes that transsexualism appears to stem from psychological development, and thus should be treated by psychotherapy. He may not be aware that this has been tried countless thousands of times with transgender adults, apparently without a single successful outcome.

    Catholic answers forum

    Catholic answers forum

    2000-2003: An official, although initially secret, ruling by the Vatican:

    After extensive study, the Vatican issued a sub secretum (secret) document in the year 2000 to papal representatives in each country. Unfortunately, it became obvious that many bishops did not learn the contents of the document, so copies were sent to the presidents of bishops’ conferences as well. Finally, in 2003 it was discussed in the Catholic News Service. 3

    The document allegedly states that:

    • Bishops must never alter the gender listed in baptismal records to match the individual’s new gender identity. However, a margin note is acceptable.

    An unknown source stated:

    The key point is that the (transsexual) surgical operation is so superficial and external that it does not change the personality. If the person was [born] male, he remains male. If she was [born] female, she remains female.

    Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of Belleville, Ill., president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, sent a brief letter to U.S. bishops in 2002-OCT informing them of the Vatican document and emphasizing the instruction to not alter baptismal records. He wrote:

    “The altered condition of a member of the faithful under civil law does not change one’s canonical condition, which is male or female as determined at the moment of birth.

    Bishop Gregory may not have been aware of the existence of intersexual babies who are born with ambiguous genitalia and whose birth gender cannot be determined at the moment of birth.

    Catholic answers forum

    This topic continues in the next essay.

    Catholic answers forum

    References used:

    The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

    1. Straight Answers: The Morality of ‘Sex Change’ Operations, The Catholic Herald, 2005-OCT-19, at: http://www.catholicherald.com/
    2. Straight Answers: Surgery That Destroys Bodily Integrity, The Catholic Herald, 2001-JAN-10, at: http://www.catholicherald.com/
    3. John Norton, Vatican says ‘sex-change’ operation does not change person’s gender, Catholic News Service, 2003-JAN-14, reprinted at: http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/

    Catholic answers forum

    Copyright 2007 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance

    Latest update: 2015-DEC-26

    Author: B.A. Robinson

    Catholic answers forum

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    Marriage is fundamental to mankind.

    The Supreme Court has declared that homosexual “marriage” is a human right. The once fervently Catholic people of Ireland have done the same. How did we get here? In short, contraception, divorce, cohabitation, and pornography have eroded the institution of marriage.

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    The Catholic Answers Forums.

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    I know this has been an enormous frustration for folks who regularly use the forums, and it has been a HUGE headache for us as well.

    Because I ve gotten a number of e-mails about the problem, I ve been meaning to do a post about it, letting folks know when the forums would be back up, but I kept getting told that we were on the verge of having them up and I wanted the post to reflect that, but one problem after another intervened and kept pushing the date back a day or so each time, and thus this post is later than I meant it to be.

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    Anyway since I know a lot of folks are wondering what happened here s what did: A mysterious event occurred three weeks ago that wiped out the forums. Period. They were gone. The nature of this event is not entirely clear, but it appears that it likely was a hacker attack on the server where the forums are hosted.

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    Common Catholic Questions Answers

    Have Catholic questions?

    When you’re a beginning Catholic, questions arise. Frequently. Too often, the answers aren’t easy to find.

    Before I decided to join the Catholic Church, I had many questions about Catholicism. It turns out that many of them were fairly common Catholic questions. But even so, I had to do a lot of digging to find many of the answers.

    Most sources for questions answers about Catholicism refer you to the Catechism or other Church documents for sources. This can be a problem for those becoming Catholic: before accepting the authority of the Catholic Church, one doesn’t see those sources as being authoritative!

    To ease your entry into the Catholic Church, here are some of the more common questions about the Catholic Church.

    I use Scriptural sources to provide answers for these Catholic questions, where possible. This approach is more neutral for many who have questions about Catholicism.

    Who founded the Catholic Church?

    Jesus founded the Catholic Church. The New Testament shows that Christ deliberately created a community of disciples to carry on his mission in the world. This community is the Catholic Church, which has existed since the time of Christ and the Apostles.
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    What is the source of the Church’s authority?

    Christ himself is the source of the Church’s authority. Christ founded the Church, created its structure, placed Peter at the head, gave it his own authority, identified it with himself, promised to be with it forever, and sent his Spirit (the Holy Spirit) to guide it.
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    What do Catholics mean by “Tradition”?

    Catholics refer to something called Tradition. What is it? Where does it come from? And why would anyone care about anything except the Bible, anyway?
    [More about Catholic Tradition ]

    Are the Pope and the Church really “Infallible”?

    The concept of infallibility is one of the most common Catholic questions. It’s widely misunderstood. But this topic, properly understood, is an important part of a strong faith in the Risen Lord!
    [More about Infallibility ]

    Shouldn’t I just follow my conscience?

    Understanding conscience is essential to the moral life. Strengthen your faith with solid Catholic teaching on moral conscience.
    [Read about the Catholic teaching about conscience ]

    When was the Bible written?

    The Holy Bible contains many individual books, and was written over a period of about twelve or thirteen centuries. All of the New Testament books, though, were written during a short period of time.
    [Find the answer to When was the Bible written? ]

    What’s different about the Catholic Bible?

    The Catholic Bible has been the same for nearly 2,000 years. We use the same set of Old Testament books as Jesus and the Apostles used. But Protestant reformers rejected some of those original books in the 1500s, creating a Protestant Bible.
    [More about the books of the Catholic Bible ]

    What is Purgatory?

    What does the term Purgatory mean? Where does it come from – is it Scriptural? And do we still believe in Purgatory?
    [Read more about Catholic Purgatory ]

    Other Catholic questions answers are added frequently, so check back soon for updates!

    A group called Catholics United for the Faith (CUF) has a wonderful collection of reliable answers to Catholic questions. They’re a great resource; use them, too!

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    Catholic Answers is returning to the St. Lawrence River and Seaway! Quebec City-arguably the most beautiful city in North America-is among my favorite places in the world. Visiting Quebec is like going to Europe without the long plane ride, and it’s the only North American city north of the Rio Grande with a completely intact wall! I’m also looking forward to walking the Victorian streets of Prince Edward Island, home of Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery, of course, but also home to one of the great heroes of Catholic apologetics, Bishop Francis Kelley. Then there’s Nova Scotia, Bar Harbor, and Boston. So much to see and experience!

    The quaint towns, magnificent cities, and breathtaking natural beauty of Canada and New England are the perfect setting for a cruise focused on the saga of the Church in North America. And what a saga-the heroism of Jesuit martyrs, the violent clash of French Catholicism and British Protestantism, Puritan New England’s declaration of the Catholic Church as “intolerable,” the unique American heresies of Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses-these are just a few of the topics we will explore. By better understanding the Church’s past in the U.S. and Canada, we will be better equipped to fulfill our role as Catholics in the transformation of America in Christ.

    If we want to save America, we need to bring the hearts and minds of her citizens into harmony with the heart and mind of the Church, and this cruise will be the perfect blend of historical background and apologetic training.

    I am very happy to offer you a special, early-bird discount of $100 off per person if you sign up before October 31st. To receive your discount, enter promotion code “EARLY BIRD” on your application here at CatholicAnswersCruise.com.

    Catholic Answers leads the way in Catholic cruising. Our high-seas adventures offer elegant and festive ships; exciting itineraries; superb food, drink, and conversation; inspiring and orthodox talks; and (best of all!) camaraderie and friendship with fellow Catholics who share your love of Jesus Christ and want to see his Church flourish in this world and the next. Join us!

    With every good wish, I am Faithfully yours in Christ,

    Christopher Check
    President of Catholic Answers

    P.S. Join us for our pre-cruise event in Montreal. Montreal’s Old Town is a gem-the city is filled with spectacular churches, and we will make a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, and to the tombs of three other North American Saints!