On July 31, 2020 Archbishop Robert Carlson (St. Louis Archdiocese) fired a final volley at the transgender community in advance of his pending retirement. In so doing he solidified his position in the Catholic Church’s “Misinformed Men in Miter” club. I cannot allow his misguided comments to go unchallenged.
Carlson calls on Catholics to treat the transgendered with compassion, a true demonstration of love. He also reminds his audience that sex and gender cannot be separated. Understanding and compassion….YES! Compromise that accepts a person’s desires for a biological sex that is different than that which he or she actually has…NEVER!
Strict endorsement of the latter while exuding the former are mutually exclusive points of view. You can’t have it both ways. This is the kind of nonsense that typically flows from the mouths of the misinformed men in miters as they double-talk in order to tightrope the fine line between growing social sentiment and rigid Church teaching. Said another way, it is a strategy to keep the collection plates full while enforcing a counter-cultural gender ideology. You will never, never fully understand a person unless you walk, as the saying goes, a mile in their shoes. You can’t treat someone with compassion when you think that their fundamental existence is wrong. Carlson’s remarks are destructive. They are blatantly discriminatory and encourage other members of the “miter club” to further entrench in their-hard line positions. Hopefully his replacement will be more open to the revolution that is taking place in the world.
Gender identity is the penalty mankind incurs as the result of sin
The Catholics, and most of the rest of the Christian population, don’t relate to the mental side of the transgender issues. Magdalene Vissaggio, a transgendered woman who once attended seminary, said that a priest told her that reception of communion would be out of the question once she transgendered. She transitioned anyway. But not because she was necessarily driven to be a woman. She transitioned to keep from committing suicide because of the mental anguish of a basic mind-body disconnect.
Barriers to acceptance of the transgendered are falling left and right. In July of this year the United States Supreme Court ruled that a person’s transition to a biological sex which is different than that recorded on their birth certificate cannot be used against him or her in the workplace, particularly hiring and firing decisions. In May, a Federal District Court ruled in favor of Gavin Grimm, a female to male teenage transgender. The ruling settle a four year squabble and allowed him to now use the boy’s restroom.
Catholics use the Bible to support their position of a fixed male-female binary. The sad part of the story is that the Bible actually denies their position. True, God created man and woman. But, per the Bible, man and woman were created genderless. That understanding is found in Genesis 2:25 where we learn that “The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.” Sex and gender did not conflate in God’s original plan. There was no such thing as gender. Gender entered the world with the first couple’s act of disobedience in eating of the forbidden fruit. As we read in Genesis 3:7, after eating the fruit, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked.” Now, sex and gender conflated. Gender identity is the penalty mankind incurs as the result of sin.
If Catholics are to use the Bible to stake their claim, they need to use all of it and not pick and choose. In this case, the old idiom that if you live by the sword you will die by the sword holds true.
Carlson points out that “sexual identity is written into every level of our physical being, from chromosomes to hormones to anatomy.” It is hard to debate that point of view. However, he goes on to say that “We are called to integrate those realities into the psychological and spiritual aspect of our lives, not override them.” Really? For sure, through millions of years of human evolution, the body did in fact adjust in accordance with a contrived male-female gender paradigm. But, are we really called to honor that which owes its origins to the first act of sin? Or, should our behavior be focused on restoring the genderless-ness which existed in the Garden from the outset and which was part of God’s original design? Apparently, not if you are Catholic.
What do you think?
(In preparing this blog I relied on an article from the National Catholic Reporter entitled Transgender Catholics criticize retiring archbishop’s letter on gender ideology, dated August 26, 2020. It was written by Don Clemmer.)