The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a strongly-worded letter on Monday denouncing the Obama administration’s decree that every public school in the country allow students to use whichever bathroom or locker room corresponds to their self-identified “gender identity.”
The bishops pointed out that President Obama’s transgender order contradicted the firm position of Pope Francis, whom the president had previously praised for his stances on climate change and the refugee crisis.
“The guidance issued May 13 by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education that treats ‘a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex’ is deeply disturbing,” the letter said.
“The guidance fails to address a number of important concerns and contradicts a basic understanding of human formation so well expressed by Pope Francis: that ‘the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created.'”
Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York, and Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska, coauthored the letter, which emphasized the need for compassion for transgender individuals without infringing upon the privacy rights of others.
“Children, youth, and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. All of these can be expressed without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security on the part of the other young students and parents,” the bishops said. “The federal regulatory guidance issued on May 13 does not even attempt to achieve this balance.”
The bishops also pointed to another Pope Francis quote, in which the Holy Father states that “biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated.”
The letter closed with the Bishops saying that they will continue studying the Obama administration’s guidance in order to “understand the full extent of its implications.”
The Bishops repeatedly cited Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation last March, Amoris laetitia, in which the Holy Father resoundingly denounced progressive gender ideology. In the exhortation, the pope also warned about government actions seeking to enforce that harmful ideology:
Yet another challenge is posed by the various forms of an ideology of gender that “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family. This ideology leads to educational programmes and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time” It is a source of concern that some ideologies of this sort, which seek to respond to what are at times understandable aspirations, manage to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised.
The pope’s warnings seemingly had little effect on the intentions or actions of the Obama administration.
The Department of Education did not return a voicemail seeking comment.
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