Speaker: Church must accompany people, tell truth about gender ideology

By Andy Telli | OSV News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSV News) — Gender ideology has permeated the culture, rewriting society’s understanding of the differences of the sexes, and leading to a sharp increase in the number of people, particularly teen girls, who are seeking a gender transition.

The role of Catholics and the church is to accompany the people facing these issues to guide them to the truth and to the Gospel, said Mary Rice Hasson, the Kate O’Beirne senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.

Hasson addressed a recent teacher in-service program sponsored by the Diocese of Nashville’s Catholic Schools Office. More than 600 administrators, teachers and staffers at the Catholic schools in the diocese attended the program held at the Catholic Pastoral Center.

“Accompaniment has a purpose. It’s loving the person. But because you love the person, you lead the person closer to God,” said Hasson, an attorney who directs the Catholic Women’s Forum, a network of Catholic professional women and scholars, and is co-founder of the Person and Identity Project, an initiative that equips parents and faith-based institutions to counter gender ideology and promote the truth of the human person.

A person holds a “Trans” banner in this illustration photo. The church must accompany people, and tell the truth about gender ideology, Mary Rice Hasson, co-founder of the Person and Identity Project, said during an inservice program Feb. 17, 2023, at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Nashville, Tenn., for Catholic school teachers, administrators and other staff. (OSV News photo/Sergio Perez, Reuters)

“We need to love people enough to tell them the truth,” she said. “It’s not love to encourage someone to believe something that’s not true.”

Catholics can look to Pope Francis’ approach to gender ideology for guidance, Hasson said. The pope reaches out to people who identify as transgender to take care of their needs while also speaking forcefully against gender ideology as a false anthropology, she said.

In his apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia,” Pope Francis wrote: “It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality. Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.”

From the perspective of gender ideology, Hasson said, “there is no God. I create who I am.”

From the Christian perspective, “the most fundamental thing … is we are created by God,” Hasson said. “He gave me my dignity because he created me in his image.”

Our sexual identity as a female or male is a gift from God, Hasson said in her Feb. 17 address. “Every person is either a son or daughter of the Lord,” she added. “Everything else flows from that.”

Over the last 40 or 50 years, Hasson said, the culture has forgotten that sex has something to do with reproduction. “People are created male or female,” Hasson said. “There are only two sexes because there are only two reproductive roles.”

A person’s sex is marked by the DNA in every cell in his or her body, Hasson said. “You can’t change sex. So if you can’t change sex, why are you changing your body?”

Typically, people considering a gender transition have had previous mental health issues, including body issues or a sense of isolation or not fitting in with their peers, Hasson said.

“You’re modifying the body to deal with feelings,” she said.

One of the arguments for undergoing a gender transition is that without the treatment, the patient will be more likely to choose suicide, but the data does not support that conclusion, Hasson said.

“These are people who are struggling, are in pain,” Hasson said. “Giving someone cross-sex hormones and amputating their breasts is not how you help people experiencing suicidal ideation.”

Unless people address their mental health issues, they will persist “because you come face to face with the fact you can’t change your sex,” Hasson said.

For the vast majority of people, once they start the process of transitioning their gender they rarely reverse the process, Hasson said. “It’s a pathway once you get on, it’s really hard to get off.”

Puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone therapy, and the surgery to transition a person’s gender “can alter your appearance and destroy your natural function,” Hasson said. “It’s irreversible damage by the time you get to surgery.”

“We should celebrate individual differences … without denying the fundamental truth of whether they’re male or female,” Hasson said.

NOTES: For more information about the Person and Identity Project, visit personandidentity.com.

Author: OSV News

OSV News is a national and international wire service reporting on Catholic issues and issues that affect Catholics.

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