By Fr. Daniel Bowen, O. de M.
U.S. Bishops' March 20 Statement
A story is told of a young woman who, as a confused adolescent, had her breasts surgically removed.
She did it in response to the awkward emotions she had as a teenager when she had misgivings about her body. She was told that maybe she should not “identify” as a female.
But now, a few years later, she wants to get married, have a child and nurse her infant.
What deception was unleashed upon this poor young lady. She may never achieve her dreams.
It’s a shame that our young people are being deceived at a time of their lives when they are so vulnerable. Why does society lie to them about their God-given sexuality?
We all know that there is a phase in many young persons’ lives in which they feel insecure about their bodies and their sexuality.
But this is a time to affirm their God-given gender – to explain that their changing body is a part of their normal growth that will, as an adult, make them fully human.
And yet today we hear many voices that seize upon this anxiety and sow confusion and doubt about who they are as a boy or girl. These voices – often coming from publicly-funded clinics, organizations or schools – suggest to the youth that they should not really identify with the gender that they were born with.
Such propaganda is inauthentic, misleading, and from the devil himself.
Pope Francis recently spoke out against this false ideology.
In an interview with the Argentine newspaper La Nacion, Pope Francis said, “Gender ideology, today, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.”
A colonization is the suppression of a person’s freedoms to benefit a more powerful group of people. One thinks of the European countries in recent centuries who have sometimes been guilty of taking advantage of indigenous peoples.
The medical community unfortunately has cooperated with this colonization by accepting such terms as: “gender dysphoria” or “gender incongruence.” It is an attempt to claim that a person’s true identity lies in something other than the gender that God gave them.
As if God could make a mistake!
Our U.S. bishops (USCCB) issued a statement on March 20 that clarifies why we Catholics speak out against such falsehoods.
The document, “Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body,” is a breath of fresh air in this age of misinformation about sexuality.
The bishops say that our human nature is a gift from a loving Creator. They say, “Nor do we ‘own’ our human nature, as if it were something that we are free to make use of in any way we please.”
The bishops encourage us to understand the “body-soul unity of each human person.”
“Throughout her history, the Church has opposed dualistic conceptions of the human person that do not regard the body as an intrinsic part of the human person, as if the soul were essentially complete in itself and the body were merely an instrument used by the soul. … [W]hile there is a distinction between the soul and the body, both are constitutive of what it means to be human, since spirit and matter, in human beings, ‘are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.’”
I hope that we can all understand one thing: God created us male and female, as the Book of Genesis explains.
The bishops go on, talking about chemical or surgical efforts to change one’s gender,
“Such interventions, thus, 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. Bodiliness is a fundamental aspect of human existence, and so is the sexual differentiation of the body.”
The bishops explain further about the soul-body unity,
“The soul does not come into existence on its own and somehow happen to be in this body, as if it could just as well be in a different body. A soul can never be in another body, much less be in the wrong body.”
Transgender Science Fiction
What’s that? In the wrong body?
This all sounds like the stuff of science fiction, like the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Some people feel that a person can just switch bodies, just like changing one’s coat or shirt.
How ungrateful to God that would be!
And this subterfuge is not a matter of choice in society. It’s a matter of public policy in many places that require that children be taught that they can change genders with hormone therapy or sex change surgery. What a shame.
And some countries in the world are pressuring our own Catholic Church to not identify on baptismal certificates the gender of the parents of the child to be baptized.
In his encyclical Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis has said,
An appreciation of our body as male or female is also necessary for our own self-awareness in an encounter with others different from ourselves. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment.”
How happy we can be – with ourselves and with others - if we can just accept our natural gender!
Form of Bondage
When people tell us that we are not what we are, great tragedy will result. This will have its effect not only the individual, but on society as well.
This false ideology is a form of bondage. This is a modern form of captivity that our founder, St. Peter Nolasco, sought to liberate people from in the 13th century. In those days, St. Nolasco founded The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy to rescue those held captive by Muslims who were in danger of losing their faith. The captives were forced to give up their Christian faith or face slavery, or even death.
For the bishops' full statement, click on "Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body."
Me, a Mercedarian Friar?
If you are a single man, would you like to join forces with the Order of Mercy to rescue those being held by modern forms of captivity, such as transgenderism?
God may be calling you to become a Mercedarian friar.
The Mercedarians, also known as the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, was founded in 1218 in Spain. We have friars who are priests and brothers.
In the United States, Mercedarian friars serve in parishes, prisons, hospitals, schools and other institutions in Ohio, Pennsylvania New York, and Florida. As part of our charism of redemptive love, we have a sincere devotion to Mary and to the Eucharist.
Single Catholic men age 18 – 40 who think they may have a Mercedarian vocation are invited to visit the website of the Mercedarian Friars USA. Contact me, Fr. Daniel Bowen, vocation director, at email@example.com.
Test Your Call
Why not test your call to the Mercedarian Friars and get your score?
Learn more about the Friars at these sites as well:
YouTube: Mercedarian Friars USA