Women religious communities endorse transgender observance

By Gina Christian | OSV News

(OSV News) — Close to 30 U.S. women religious communities, who say they represent “over 6,000 vowed Catholic religious and partners in mission in over 18 states,” released a joint statement endorsing the March 31 observance of International Transgender Day of Visibility.

The March 31 statement said the observance, which was established in 2009, is “a time to celebrate, acknowledge and uplift folks who identify as transgender, nonbinary, and/or gender-expansive.”

“As vowed Catholic religious and our partners in mission, we wholeheartedly affirm that transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive individuals are beloved and cherished by God,” read the statement, which was posted to the website of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, U.S. Federation.

According to the website, the text was prepared by representatives of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph; the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of- the-Woods, Indiana; and the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation office of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas. The 27 endorsers included women religious communities across the nation.

A person holds a “Trans” banner in this illustration photo. Women religious communities representing over 6,000 vowed Catholic religious and partners in mission in over 18 states released a statement for March 31, 2023, also known as International Day of Transgender Visibility. (OSV News photo/Sergio Perez, Reuters)

Among the orders listed on the statement were several communities of Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of St. Francis and Sisters of Loretto, as well as the Medical Mission Sisters. Individual Dominican, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Presentation, Providence and School Sisters of Notre Dame communities also signed the message.

“As members of the body of Christ, we cannot be whole without the full inclusion of transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive individuals,” the statement read.

The text said that “at this moment in the U.S., transgender people are experiencing harm and erasure” due to “anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across several states,” “daily discrimination and violence,” and “harmful rhetoric from some Christian institutions and their leaders, including the Catholic Church.”

The “Gospel call of unifying love compels us to actively interrupt harmful interactions in daily life and dismantle the systems that reinforce this rhetoric and violence in society, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and other folks of color,” said the statement, which included calls to action and advocacy on behalf of those who identify as LGBTQ+.

“We will remain oppressors until we — as vowed Catholic religious — acknowledge the existence of LGBTQ+ people in our own congregations,” the text said. “We seek to cultivate a faith community where all, especially our transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive siblings, experience a deep belonging.”

On March 20, the U.S. bishops’ doctrine committee issued a 14-page statement declaring that surgical, chemical or other interventions that aim “to exchange” a person’s “sex characteristics” for those of the opposite sex “are not morally justified.”

“The human person, body and soul, man or woman, has a fundamental order and finality whose integrity must be respected,” said the committee, chaired by Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas. “Because of this order and finality, neither patients nor physicians nor researchers nor any other persons have unlimited rights over the body; they must respect the order and finality inscribed in the embodied person.”

The doctrine committee acknowledged that “many people are sincerely looking for ways to respond to real problems and real suffering.”

“Certain approaches that do not respect the fundamental order appear to offer solutions. To rely on such approaches for solutions, however, is a mistake,” it said. “An approach that does not respect the fundamental order will never truly solve the problem in view; in the end, it will only create further problems.”

The doctrine committee said that “any technological intervention that does not accord with the fundamental order of the human person as a unity of body and soul, including the sexual difference inscribed in the body, ultimately does not help but, rather, harms the human person.”

OSV News requests for comment from the USCCB and the National Catholic Bioethics Center have not yet received a response.

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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