A group of U.S. Catholic bishops has issued a statement discouraging Catholic health care groups from performing various gender-affirming medical procedures, suggesting they are “injurious” and do not respect the “intrinsic unity of body and soul.”
The 13-page document, officially known as a “doctrinal note,” was produced by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine on Monday (March 20) and focused on “the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body.” In the document, the committee’s bishops argue that medical technology can and should be used to “repair a defect in the body” or “sacrifice part of the body … for the welfare of the whole body.”
But bishops said procedures that fall under the category of gender-affirming care, often sought out by transgender adults and adolescents, are “not morally justified.”
“Such interventions … do not respect the fundamental order of the human person as an intrinsic unity of body and soul, with a body that is sexually differentiated,” the document reads. “Catholic health care services must not perform interventions, whether surgical or chemical, that aim to transform the sexual characteristics of a human body into those of the opposite sex or take part in the development of such procedures.”
The bishops cite Pope Francis, who has repeatedly met with transgender people throughout his papacy but has also decried gender theory as “ideological colonization” and made no moves to alter existing church teaching regarding sexuality…
… Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic LGBTQ outreach organization, criticized the document on Tuesday in a statement, arguing that the Catholic prelates do not account for the experience of transgender people, nor engage with experts who say gender-affirming care betters the lives of transgender people.
“The bishops’ unwillingness to counter any of the evidence from the scientific community or the experience of transgender people is neither good theology nor acceptable pastoral care,” read DeBernardo’s statement.
DeBernardo cited the risk of suicide among transgender youth, which experts have long noted is significantly higher than in the rest of the population.