Catholic Monk Announces He’s Transgender

(Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Lisa Moore Contributor
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Catholic hermit Brother Christian Matson of the Diocese of Lexington in Kentucky publicly announced Sunday that he was transgender.

The 39-year-old Benedictine oblate believes he is “the first openly transgender person in his position in the Catholic Church,” according to Religion News Service (RNS).

“You’ve got to deal with us, because God has called us into this church,” Matson told RNS. “It’s not your church to kick us out of — this is God’s church, and God has called us and engrafted us into it.”

Matson said that he transitioned in 2006 before converting to Catholicism in 2010. After feeling called to the religious life, a cannon lawyer told him that marriage and priesthood “were categorically off the table” but advised him that life as a hermit could be permitted if he were up front with church leaders, the outlet reported (RELATED: Vatican Slams Sex-Change Surgeries As Threat To Human ‘Dignity’)

Matson took his vows to be a diocesan hermit in 2022 under Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington in Kentucky. Stowe notably calls for more tolerance of LGBT people among Catholics, according to Religious News Service.

Matson decided to go public with his life after a student who identified as transgender and nonbinary told him he felt the church rejected him.

“I can’t stand by and let this false and, at times, culpably ignorant understanding of what it means to be transgender continue to hurt people,” Matson said. He expressed frustration over Vatican documents that reject “calls for public recognition of the right to choose one’s gender.” (RELATED: US Bishops Warn Against Catholic Doctors Performing ‘Gender Transition Procedures’)

Matson’s disclosure also comes one month after the Vatican issued “Infinite Dignity,” a treatise condemning sex change surgeries, abortion and surrogacy as violations of human dignity and practices that go against God’s plan.

“Vatican-level documents that have come out on the subject have not engaged with the science at all,” Matson told Religious News Service. “If I don’t say anything and allow the church to continue to make decisions based on incorrect information, then I’m not serving the church.”