Vatican gender document makes one thing clear: The church needs more dialogue

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Critics and supporters of the Vatican’s latest document on gender and sexuality may find little common ground on the issue, but they can agree on this: The church needs to further a dialogue about transgender individuals.

“Male and Female He Created Them: Toward a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education,” issued June 10 by the Congregation for Education, in large part repeats church teaching found elsewhere. It addresses issues of education in schools, the role of parents as primary educators and what the authors refer to as “gender ideology.”

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Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, Calif., chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Catholic Education, issued a brief statement welcoming the document. He said, “in a difficult and complex issue, the clarity of church teaching, rooted in the equal dignity of men and women as created by God, provides the light of truth and compassion that is most needed in our world today.”

The authors of the document point to areas of agreement in the gender debate, including the need to “respect every person in their particularity and difference, so that no one should suffer bullying, violence, insults or unjust discrimination based on their specific characteristics (such as special needs, race, religion, sexual tendencies, etc.)” (No. 16).

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“It is essential that the right conditions are created to provide a patient and understanding ear, far removed from any unjust discrimination.”

“Every school should therefore make sure it is an environment of trust, calmness and openness, particularly where there are cases that require time and careful discernment,” according to the document. “It is essential that the right conditions are created to provide a patient and understanding ear, far removed from any unjust discrimination” (No. 56).

In terms of the dialogue surrounding the issue, the authors prescribe “following the path of listening, reasoning and proposing” (No. 52).

“I can certainly agree with a portion of the title which calls for dialogue, and the opening paragraphs which stress the importance of listening,” said Luisa Derouen, a Dominican sister who began serving the transgender community in 1999. The rest of the document, she said, lacked grounding in lived experiences.

“I found it quite jarring...that after those initial paragraphs there was abundant evidence that those writing this document had certainly not engaged in open, reverent, listening dialogue with transgender people,” Sister Derouen said. “I have accompanied them for 20 years and I do not recognize the people I know from the harsh and dangerous description of them in this document.”

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago also noted the invitation to engage in a dialogue about transgender issues.

“The document points out that dialogue must be free of ideologies, whatever their origins,” he said. “We should also keep in mind the essential principle Pope Francis has often articulated—that realities are greater than ideas. This principle is especially important when dealing with pastoral situations, which always require us to be in touch with the experience of people’s everyday lives.”

“The document points out that dialogue must be free of ideologies, whatever their origins.”

The Rev. Bryan Massingale, a moral theologian at Fordham University, also stressed the importance of experience and called the document an “interim response” from the Vatican on questions of gender and gender identity.

“The hierarchy has had comparatively little time to absorb and reflect upon the findings in the human sciences about the complexity of gender and sexuality,” he said. “It is up to theologians, trans Catholics and all of us to help our leaders as they continue to arrive at a fuller understanding of human experience.”

Deacon Ray Dever, who has a transgender child, said that “the church is long overdue to have this dialogue.” The document’s footnotes only refer to previous statements and writings from the church, he said, and is “divorced from scientific knowledge and the lived reality of transgender individuals.”

Deacon Dever hears from Catholic schools across the United States that are struggling with the issue. All of his children have gone through Catholic school, including Catholic universities. “My family couldn’t be more Catholic,” he said.

“The hierarchy has had comparatively little time to absorb and reflect upon the findings in the human sciences about the complexity of gender and sexuality.”

“Personal experience can be very educational and can change people’s minds and hearts,” he said of getting to know those who are transgender. “It has done nothing to undermine our family. It has never been a threat to our family.”

His greatest concern about the document is that it will be used to discriminate against transgender children. Almost 2 percent of U.S. high school students identify as transgender, according to a recent study posted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to a 2015 survey conducted by the advocacy group The National Center for Transgender Equality, which included responses from nearly 28,000 transgender adults from across the United States, 40 percent of transgender individuals said they had attempted suicide at least once in their lives. Of those who were “out,” 77 percent reported experiencing some form of mistreatment in grade school or high school. One in 10 of those who were out to their family said they experienced violence from a family member.

“It’s not a choice,” Deacon Dever said of being transgender. “When you live with someone who is like this, it’s clear as day.”

The congregation is coming from a different point of view, according to David Cloutier, a moral theologian at the Catholic University of America. “The document’s reading of history presents a stark option: Either respect the God-given intrinsic connection between gender and biological sex or reject that order in favor of subjectively chosen self-definition,” he writes in a recent essay for America.

“The further we get from a relatively discrete trait (e.g., sexual attraction), the more difficult it becomes to sustain ‘born that way’ arguments without falling into contradictions,” Mr. Cloutier writes. “If male and female are social constructs, then it makes no sense to claim that a person is ‘really’ female.”

Mr. Cloutier writes that respecting a person’s dignity does not always mean supporting a person’s choices. “Affirming desires is never sufficient,” he writes, “one needs an account of the ends toward which the person and their sexuality aim.”

James Martin, S.J., in another essay for America, wrote that the congregation’s document does not address “scientific understandings and discoveries about gender.” Instead, Father Martin wrote, the authors rely “mainly on the belief that gender is determined solely by one’s visible genitalia, which contemporary science has shown is an incorrect (and sometimes even harmful) way to categorize people. Gender is also biologically determined by genetics, hormones and brain chemistry—things that are not visible at birth. The congregation’s document relies heavily on categories of ‘male’ and ‘female’ that were shaped centuries ago, and not always with the most accurate scientific methods.”

"The congregation’s document relies heavily on categories of ‘male’ and ‘female’ that were shaped centuries ago, and not always with the most accurate scientific methods.”

The document notes, for example, intersex individuals, those who are born with an ambiguous biological sex. Yet, Mary Hasson, director of the Catholic Women’s Forum, cautions against grouping intersex individuals and transgender individuals together. The explanation that “something went wrong in utero” for those who are born with ambiguous genitalia, causing them to be not clearly male or female bodies, cannot be applied to transgender individuals, she said.

Ms. Hasson said readers of the document should keep in mind that the congregation was writing for a global church. “There has been increasing conflict for Catholic schools in how they interact with the state on a number of issues,” she said. That makes what the congregation said about parents as primary educators crucial. Governments should make space for Catholic schools to be true to their religious identity and not impose one particular view, she said.

She described the prevailing gender ideology as one typified by “self-determination,” meaning that individuals are free to determine their gender. The congregation was pushing back against this notion, Ms. Hasson said. That is especially needed because, she said, public schools are supportive of a gender ideology that she believes conflicts with the church teaching articulated in the document. Most Catholic children in the United States attend public schools.

“You’re not going to find a bridge. It’s a completely different view of what it means to be a human being.”

“The church is pointing to a clash of anthropologies,” she said. Ms. Hasson does not believe there is common ground between the congregation’s view (that God creates human beings as male or female) and the cultural view (that a person’s biological sex can be determined by the individual). The church, she said, is starting “from a place of revealed truth.”

“You’re not going to find a bridge. It’s a completely different view of what it means to be a human being,” she said.

“We’re all about caring for someone who is going through this,” Ms. Hasson said of those who are transgender. “We can talk about what might be causing those feelings. But we’re not going to deny what’s true. That’s not going to help anyone.”

The Rev. Tad Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, said the document addresses the issue “in a way that is respectful of the [Catholic] tradition and at the same time recognizes profound realities of the human person.”

“There has to be a willingness to take biology at face value,” he said. He called the contemporary treatment of transgender individuals in medicine and psychology a “radical departure,” and one that is a “capitulation to a kind of ideology.”

As an example, he cited Dr. Paul McHugh, who ended gender reassignment surgery at Johns Hopkins in 1979. (The hospital restarted reassignment surgeries in 2017.) Dr. McHugh believes that transgender individuals need psychotherapy rather than surgery.

According to some reports, doctors and parents of transgender children in the United States are becoming more accepting of minors who identify with a nonconforming gender, even as young as 3.

“In the past, there was a willingness to engage on a level of counseling those that were struggling with dysphoria,” Father Pacholczyk said. “The starting point for this issue is being born with a particular gift of being male or female.”

There is a disconnect about what constitutes legitimate science between those who support and those who disagree with the congregation’s document. Science free from ideology “will always serve us well,” Father Pacholczyk said, noting that women are born with XX chromosomes and men with XY. “Arguing that genes mean nothing, that’s simply not true. That’s not doing justice to the science.”

Separating gender from biological sex “is a kind of dualism,” he said. “If the real me is who I profess to be and if the body does not agree, then the body is pathological. It needs to be ‘fixed.’”

“Arguing that genes mean nothing, that’s simply not true. That’s not doing justice to the science.”

While Father Pacholczyk agrees that the lived experiences of transgender individuals “would provide insights,” he added that testimonies need to include “the growing number of individuals who are reverting to their original sex,” he said. “They should not be omitted from the dialogue.”

Hillary Howes is the head of TransCatholic, a group she founded about eight years ago to provide resources for Catholics who are transgender, as well as for their families. She found the Vatican’s document “shocking,” she said, because “they’re talking about gender theory and their definition of it is something from the 1950s that has been refuted by science and medicine.”

“Here we have the hierarchy, a male patriarchy really, essentially taking this theory from the ’50s, one that’s been debunked by now, and blaming everything that’s wrong with Western civilization on it,” said Ms. Howes, who converted to Catholicism following her transition about 20 years ago. She said the document “smears not only transgender people, but gays and anyone who is feminist, frankly.”

Ms. Howes pointed to positive moments in terms of how the church relates to its trans members, including a 2016 article in a publication of the Catholic Health Association that urges Catholic hospitals to provide medical care to trans people and to use their preferred pronouns. But she said the new document feels like a step backward.

“When the document talks about gender theory and so on, it clearly isn’t involving any of the life experiences of any transgender people. The process of being transgender isn’t a matter of changing our sex or changing our gender, it’s a matter of revealing to the world who we truly are,” Ms. Howes said. “The fact that [transgender people are] different from their narrow of idea of humanity is challenging for them.”

Michael O’Loughlin and Kevin Clarke contributed to this story.

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Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

It's not difficult. We don't need dialogue. The church is holding on to a medieval doctrine in the face of scientific facts. The question is why won't the church re-examine its doctrine, given new and contradicting information? I think the answer to that question is that the church cares more about not looking fallible and wrong than it cares about truth. And, also, sadly, I think the church benefits in ways by continuing to discriminate against classes of people, like women and those LGBTQ.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

"We don't need dialogue." Right on cue - my response below.

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

I say that because dialogue implies people will have open minds and be willing to change. When the church says dialogue it means stalling, spinning, giving the impression of incremental progress when there is no honest intention to make changes. It's dishonest.

Vincent Couling
2 months 1 week ago

Crystal, in this week's "Letter from Rome," Robert Mickens provides interesting background to the document. See "Vatican document on gender is like lipstick on a pig: The call for dialogue cannot disguise the text's uncompromising ideological views" at https://international.la-croix.com/news/vatican-document-on-gender-is-like-lipstick-on-a-pig/10334

Mickens writes: "But there is one truly remarkable thing about "Male and Female He Created Them." It is the document's call for dialogue, which is put forth in its very title. The author or authors state "the path of dialogue, which involves listening, reasoning and proposing, appears the most effective way towards a positive transformation of concerns and misunderstandings" surround the gender question. And their alleged reason for advocating dialogue is to overcome "ideologically-driven approaches to the delicate questions around gender." But, as others have pointed out, the document seems to have been written in violation of this very principle. With whom did the authors dialogue before writing this text? And is the document itself not deeply flawed by its own ideologically-driven approaches? Those would be rooted in a stubborn resistance to any of the validated scientific – biological, psychological and sociological – advances and insights in the past hundreds of years that challenge and even disprove some of the 13th century anthropological underpinnings of "official Church teaching" on human sexuality. This Vatican document's call to dialogue is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig. It could be shucked off and ignored for the bogus attempt that it is, except that the text itself amounts to a cruel and insensitive judgment on the consciences (and motives) of real people, especially those who feel and have discovered themselves to be transgender."

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

I fear that what the church means by dialogue is just a mechanism to deflect anger and further protests of the church;s stance. The church no plans to change it's doctrine based on "dialogue".

Gabe Reeder-Ferreira
2 months 1 week ago

Crystal - the document itself is a slap in the face and a pipe to the knees to anyone in the LGBT community and women. It discredits the experiences of millions of people on fallacious beliefs.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

In other words, Gabe, its Catholic and Scriptural. People do hate the Church and all it teaches.

Gabe Reeder-Ferreira
2 months 1 week ago

Tim, although there is truth to that, I don’t see those who are not in union with the document as people hating the church and all it’s teachings. Rather, the rebuttal stems from a giving of dignity, compassion and empathy towards those who are LGBT instead of holding an idea first and foremost over the lives of people.

It is being used to further divide and cut yourself off from others without a care of who you hurt or who your talking too.

Has the document evangelized or converted anyone to the faith? Like many a millennial instead of feeling defeated and giving up or hating anything or anyone the course chosen is simply to not support the Catholic Church while still believing in God and gaining a sense of freedom and liberation from it.

This doesn’t change anything except maybe the count of non-followers of Catholicism.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

Gabe - The first priority of the Church is to be faithful to its mission. If it loses that it loses everything. It really would have no point if it changed its teaching as a strategy to gain more followers. Jesus raised the possibility of a large apostasy in Luke 18, following His opening parable about the nonbelieving judge and the persistent widow. The chapter opens with: "Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying [the parable] and then "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” So, we may have apostasy and the Church may try dialogue and religious orders might come and go, and heresies rise and fall, and nations lose the faith. All this has happened in history. But the Holy Spirit will prevent the Church from teaching false doctrine. Jesus directly confirmed the words "male and female He created them" and directly made sexual morality, even willful thoughts, as a central condition of being faithful. Jesus said: "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them." (Jn 14:21) and John reiterated that (1 Jn 5:3) "In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome."

The gender ideology can neve be accepted, as it directly contradicts Scripture and the Church. No doubt, many will be lost because they chose it over the true faith. But, for you and every individual, life is long and there is time to accept true teaching and be saved.

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

The trouble with the church's mission is that it has gone far afield of Jesus' mission. The gospels are about mainly a few things: the badness of being rich and the importance of giving one's money to the poor, the importance of helping the downtrodden like widows, orphans, the hungry, the sick, strangers, prisoners, etc., and about how corrupt and hypocritical religious authorities are. Somehow the Catholic church (incredibly rich and with it's own bank system and tons of real estate) has made its mission instead to run businesses (colleges, hospitals, museums) and obsess about all things gender and sexuality related.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

Crystal - now I see why you lasted as a Catholic for only a short time. To reduce the Gospel to "the badness of being rich" and helping the poor, is incredibly uninteresting. A purely political project that saves no one and reforms no one, but is just a financial redistribution institution, like taxes.

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

That's what Jesus mostly talked about and acted on, according to the gospels. I don't find that boring at all.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

What an incredible reduction! Jefferson is famous for a NT rewrite where he expunged all the miraculous and mysterious. You have removed even more. The Marxists tried this as well, turning Jesus supernatural messianic mission into a materialist political crusade. No wonder you didn't stay. I wouldn't either on such a narrow message.

Gabe Reeder-Ferreira
2 months 1 week ago

It wouldn’t be the first time the church preached false doctrine and had to admit they were wrong and apologize for it.

It’s drivel like yours on why we need laws to protect kids from conversion therapy - a treatment that is proven to harm them and cause severe psychological distress to the point of self mutilation, drug addiction and suicide.

Go ahead and hold steadfast to your ‘true doctrine’ since it makes you happy and such a loving person. What an ego boost for you, Tim. It’s apparent you feel like you received accolades and blessings with the release of the document.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

Gabe - As to ego boosting, isn't that the whole point of the sin-of-pride parades. Yet, it never seems to work. It just confirms kids in their downward spiral. As to mutilation, what about hormones, castration and other sex-changing surgery. It is also your side that drives a wedge between parents and children and promotes pornographic sex-ed to kids against the parent's wishes. And you wonder why we have epidemics of gender confusion, depression, drug use, venereal disease and suicide. LGBTQIA ideology is essentially a recipe for all the destructive behavior we see in youth today.

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

I agree.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

The "LGBTQIA..." community has no interest in real dialogue, except as a temporary tactic in their war on religion and reality. Their ideology privileges subjectivity over objectivity, feelings over science, and desire over duty. They threaten personal harm, if not appeased, and are extremely intolerant. Their tactics during the gay marriage debate was emblematic. They said they only wanted to expand a right and denied any damage to traditional marriage and religious institutions, avowed a religious freedom clause and a live-and-let-live approach. Since then, Christian organizations have been declared hate groups (e.g. the Ruth Institute), Christian adoption agencies have been cut off from foster care, professors have been fired. Chick-fil-A has been pilloried, several prominent people have been fired, the Boy Scouts destroyed, many NGOs thrown off there founding mission (Amnesty International has forgotten innocents imprisoned and is now just another advocacy organization for abortion and LGBT Mania) and corporations and sports franchises abandoning whole states who try to just maintain a semblance of even-handed treatment.
This was only for the gay stuff. The trans movement is even more radical, demanding everyone change their language, and accept the poisoning of children's minds and bodies, and even actualization via castration. Hillary Howes is a perfect example of the ahistorical intolerance - shocked, shocked that Catholicism is still being practiced -- something he/she thinks went out with the '50s, when even liberal-as-sin Obama and uber-feminist Hillary were against gay marriage only 10 years ago. It is laughable to think that the science of biology and evolution and psychology has changed in such a short time. The trans science does not stand up to a critical examination. A madness has overtaken liberalism.

Kevin Murphy
2 months 1 week ago

Exactly. The left, Father Martin in particular, see "dialogue" as talking until they get their way. Their newest tactic is declaring that "science" supports their position. Also, "lived experiences" cannot contradict Jesus's teachings.

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

When gay people get harassed or beaten up or killed like Mathew Shepard, when gay people lose their jobs, when they are turned away from housing or shops or getting a marriage license, it is the Catholic church who is responsible for that. The church wants to keep promoting this behavior, but doesn't want to get blamed for it. That's what they call "dialogue".

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

Crystal - Matthew Shepherd was a crystal meth drug dealer who was killed by a man who had been having sex with him, and another drug dealer. He was killed over a drug dispute. (See Huff Post link from 2017). Practicing Catholics aren’t doing those things and the Church never promotes that violent behavior.
From the Huff Post: The fruit of the Shepard narrative includes: The Matthew Shepard Foundation, The Laramie Project, T.V. movie “The Matthew Shepard Story,” The Matthew Shepard Act, to name a few. - All of these are based on a fiction.
"n 2013 investigative journalist Stephen Jimenez, himself gay, wrote “The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard,” upending a canonized narrative we all have grown familiarly comfortable with, irrespective of its sensationalized macabre details."
See also the 2004 episode of ABC's 20/20 with Elizabeth Vargasor the NPR's Rachel Martin's interview with Jimenez.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-matthew-shepard-murder-revisited_b_59f3f077e4b06ae9067ab8d3

Gabe Reeder-Ferreira
2 months ago

There were no drugs found in his system from the autopsy. What your saying is based on lies and false information about Mathew.

J Jones
2 months 1 week ago

JD, excellent reporting on the diversity of experiences, approaches, thoughts and reasons for engaging in the discussion. I am grateful for the Deacon's firsthand experience, especially his statements that neither his child's identity not his embrace of his child's identity has harmed his family or their Catholic faith and identity in anyway. I am also grateful for the Sister's statement that she dies recognize in the trans people she has worked with for 20 years the dangerousness or ideologically-driven lives the document ideologucally supposes. Excellent reporting, JD.

Years ago, I knew a beautiful, sunny Christian trans woman. She told me she had been a beautiful, sunny gay man who knew he would be cheerful and well-adjusted if he could live life and be accepted as the straight woman he knew he was. And he was right. She is beautiful and sunny and she is also cheerful and well-adjusted and still very much Christian in belief, word and action. Her joy was a joy in my life.

Once I went to an MCC Mass with a gay homeless guest of our shelter. A straighr cradle Catholic who loves Mass, I received the Eucharist and, because everything in my heart and soul told me this WAS the Eucharist, I made the Sign of the Cross after receiving. The altar server, a loving and deeply dignified and faithful transgendered woman who had been a joyful and faithful altar boy, watched me step aside, look up at the Crucifix and make the Sign of the Cross. Her eyes filled with tears. Mine did, too. That experience of genuine Communion with that beautiful, Christ-filled trans woman is one of the most meaningful experiences I have ever had at Mass: wherever two or more of you are gathered in my Name, there is Love. What a beautiful Catholic soul the RCC threw away...

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

I give up. The church is a lot like the Trump presidency. It survives because there are enough people left who want a license to hate others, and within the Trump orbit and within the church, those people find a home and affirmation.

J Jones
2 months 1 week ago

Crystal, I agree. With you that "within the Trump orbit and within the church, those people find a home" and license.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

I can certainly feel the hate from Crystal and JJ for the Church’s teaching and anyone who is trying to stay faithful to the teaching of Christ. No respect for its mission. Why exactly do you have such a need to change a Church you don’t believe in? Irrational.

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

Really, the teaching of Jesus? I'd love to hear what Jesus had to say about gay people - please give the citation. There is a difference between what the Catholic church teaches and what Jesus teaches. I'm now listening to a speech by Rev. Dr. William Barber II at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. He begins ... "I'm so concerned about those who say so much about what God said so little, while saying so little about what God said so much .... I'm worried about the way faith is cynically used by some to serve hate, fear, racism and greed." The Catholic church has turned its interest in people's sex lives into a fetish that does not even remotely resemble the gospel message.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

So you have joined the church of DNC, where everything in the actual bible is turned on its head. Jesus didn’t mention gay people for a few reasons. 1) gay and LGBT weren’t invented yet, 2) He confirmed His belief in the moral code of the Hebrew Scriptures, and even made it stricter (lust in the heart), 3) He confirmed the judgment on Sodom & Gomorrah, 4) no one at the time thought these ideas remotely plausible, & 5) Jesus specifically left the details to the Church (binding and loosing - see Scripture quotes below).

Mt 16:18-19 Jesus said "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Mt 18:6 “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea."
Mt 18:18 "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Jude 1:7 Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

The mention Jesus makes about Sodom and Gomorrah does not refer to homosexuality. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is not about homosexuality. It depicts straight men raping other straight men, and the bad thing about it is that they broke the customs of hospitality to strangers in this way (and that's what Jesus is referring to in Matthew 10:14-15 ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodom_and_Gomorrah#Religious_views).

Kevin Murphy
2 months 1 week ago

A tired bullet point for the left, that Sodom and Gomorrah was about hospitality. Please.

Kevin Murphy
2 months 1 week ago

http://blog.adw.org/2012/12/the-sin-of-sodom-and-gomorrah-is-not-about-hospitality/

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

Tim mentioned what Jesus said about Sodom and Gomorrah in Matthew 10:14-15. Jesuse was sending the disciples out in twos to travel around the countryside, talking to strangers in towns. Jesus says "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." .... it's about hospitality, not homosexuality.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

Crystal - Jesus repeats the worse-than-Sodom argument Matt 10:15 in 11:24 & Luke 10:12 & 17:29 - all are for unbelief and refusal to repent (like the resistance we see today to the Church's teaching), not something as anodyne as inhospitality, which is another useful fiction like the Matthew Shepherd case, invented only recently in Church history by apologists for homosexuality. When specific, all biblical references to Sodom relate its destruction and wickedness to sexual immorality. Isaiah 3:9 "they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it." One can parade homosexuality (the Pride parade) but not inhospitality. The inspired Epistle of Jude 1:7 is most explicit: "Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion." All the Church Fathers and subsequent saints referred to sodomy as anal sex or perverted sex in general. Even in the Genesis account, the Sodomites did not threaten to throw out the angels from the city. They wanted to rape them. The episode explicitly indicates the rape of men by men was an even worse crime than rape of women, since Lot offered his daughters rather than cooperate. But they had no interest in the women, so you cannot argue they were heterosexual. In any case, it is sodomite acts that are sinful, not the temptation (aka orientation).

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

The people of S & G did a lot of bad things to visitors, including chopping off their legs if they were too tall, and raping people was one of the bad things they did. But the scandal was not that S & G were populated by homosexuals ... the raping was done by straight men ... the scandal was how visitors were treated there. Maybe the early church father dwelt on the raping especially, but that doesn't mean it was about homosexual acts.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

duplicate

Matthew Kilburn
2 months 1 week ago

The world needs more truth; whether the Church needs more "dialogue" or not is an open question, and is entirely dependent on what any given person expects the aim and outcome of that dialogue to be. As noted below, for many on the left (and that includes the likes of Fr. Martin), "dialogue" seems to be code for "we'll talk you to death until you give up or we can implement our agenda through other means". And that most certainly is not what the Church - or human civilization - needs.

The truth is that humans were created as male and female sexual beings, and no person is able to change their objective biological sex. They may modify their anatomy, or behave in a certain way, but as certain as the sun rose this morning, when archaeologists dig up the bodies of transgender individuals 1000 years from now, they will be the same sex they came out of the womb as. This is fact. This is science. A male may say "I'm actually a woman, trapped in a man's body"...but why does that mean that person is actually a "woman trapped in a man's body" rather than a "man with a mental condition which leads him to believe he is female"? Don't the biological and theological facts as we know them point more toward the latter?

Crystal Watson
2 months 1 week ago

.

Frederick Hill
2 months 1 week ago

In response to the Congregation on Education recent document, I find the Congregation talking out of both sides of its mouth. On the one hand, refreshingly so, it calls for a dialogue and as Fr. Martin points out, subtly acknowledges that gender and sexual orientation is an ongoing dialogue that involves various scholars from theology, philosophy, the social sciences, medical science and the stories of the LGBTQ+ experience; of growing into one’s true-self, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, etc. On the other hand, I hear from the title of the document, that there is no room for open, honest discussion. The title, for me, suggests that heterosexuality is the norm and LGBTQ+ people are “intrinsically disordered.” Yet, as the Vatican II document “Gaudium et Spes” acknowledges, the nature of Church based understanding of marriage has a procreative role in the relationship, but I find, underlying “Church in the Modern World” document, in the section entitled “conjugal love,” a message of a love that is mutual and life-giving whether a relationship be “traditional,” heterosexual, or non-binary.
Finally, I don’t believe one can have a dialogue without the dialogue engendering open and honest listening!
Scott Hill, omi
Oakland, CA

Lach Satsuma
2 months 1 week ago

A simple question : Why doesn't such a famous Catholic American Magazine publish the document in full ? The sum of it's left-biased commentaries is already longer than document itself.

arthur mccaffrey
2 months 1 week ago

the most rational , moral, and philosophical discussion about this topic to appear in these pages recently has been by David Cloutier. All the rest is handwaving about not being sensitive enough about Transgenders who have freely chosen their surgery and hormone treatments--nobody twisted their arms. But we live in such a culture of victimology that every minority wants special treatment--otherwise they will call you names like "homophobia". What is interesting to me is that after the revolutions of the 1960s and the civil rights legislation, African-Americans could ride at the front of the bus, or sit at lunch counters. But I never heard anyone use the label "negrophobia" if they weren't treated right. People exercised their rights and got on with their lives, without being crybabies about it. So, all you bleeding hearts dumping on RCC, learn Cloutier's distinction between respect vs. rational disagreement, and stop asking for special privileges for people who have made their life choices, and should learn to live with them, instead of demanding that the whole world turn around "them"!!

Arnoldo Miranda
2 months 1 week ago

.6 of 1% of the human population experiences this reality. This number alone should tell you that this reality is NOT the norm. It is an extreme outlier that indicates that nature didn't necessarily intend this. Although these folks should be received with compassion and understanding, in no way should they be used to exemplify the human experience. They do not fit the mold is basically their reality and we should try to help them but in no way enable a false narrative that is not indicative of humanity.

Craig Hanley
2 months 1 week ago

Nonsense.

Gino Dalpiaz
2 months ago

MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM

In an important address in Venice on June 12, 2009, Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan, and a scholar in his own right, pronounced the following scintillating words about sexual identity:

“From the very beginning the woman is placed before the man (and vice versa) as a gift. She is an unimaginable presence, altogether irreproducible, yet in profound conformity with him. Man and woman are identically persons yet sexually different. This difference pervades the entire human being, to the very last particle. In fact, the man’s body in every one of his cells is male, just as the woman’s body in everyone of her cells is female.”

In a word, every single cell in the body of a transgendered woman (i.e., a male who feels he’s a woman) remains male. He will forever be a HE, not a SHE.

Gino Dalpiaz
2 months ago

MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM

In an important address in Venice on June 12, 2009, Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan, and a scholar in his own right, pronounced the following scintillating words about sexual identity:

“From the very beginning the woman is placed before the man (and vice versa) as a gift. She is an unimaginable presence, altogether irreproducible, yet in profound conformity with him. Man and woman are identically persons yet sexually different. This difference pervades the entire human being, to the very last particle. In fact, the man’s body in every one of his cells is male, just as the woman’s body in everyone of her cells is female.”

In a word, every single cell in the body of a transgendered woman (i.e., a male who feels he’s a woman) remains male. He will forever be a HE, not a SHE.

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