Transgendered persons, as an emerging minority group, are becoming newly visible in the medis. Unfortunately this attention usually arises from the fact that people are being attacked, bullied, excluded and even killed. The transgendered population now join homosexual and lesbian individuals who have suffered from their “difference.” This is a moment for Pro Life Catholics to take the lead in offering protection and acceptance.
More is at issue than the Church’s efforts to see that all human persons are granted dignity and rights in a just society. In addition Catholics are committed to protecting the value of embodied human life in all its varied forms, from embryo to fetus to infant, child, adult, and the impaired and dying. Difference and uniqueness of development characterize bodily life.
The current secular culture does not yet affirm the rights of nascent fetal life and also tends to reject bodies that do not meet favored norms of health and beauty. Within the Church other rejections can exist. Many intra church arguments have arisen over gender identity, gender orientation and acceptable expressions of embodied love. The varied and complex unique development of each human body has been downplayed. One adult heterosexual model of the reproductive “nuptial body” has been validated as the privileged norm.
It seems important at this point for Catholics to develop a deeper and more comprehensive theology of the body. We need an approach taking in new scientific, theological and experiential lived findings. Our Pro Life witness and understanding can be expanded and deepened. What for instance are the implications for this age of bodily resurrection and our membership in the body of Christ? In the meantime, waiting for an expanded conversation, and/or a new ecumenical council, Catholics can seek to protect and value all nascent and different lives.