Lord, teach us to pray:
(To be read by the Leader)
“God created humanity in His image and likeness, in His divine image He created him; male and female He created them….God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good, (Gen. 1, 27, 31)”
Brothers, last month we were left with the question; what does the Catholic Church teach about transgender? The following summary comes from Dr. Moira McQueen, Bioethics Matters, (volume 14, number 1, March 2016). “1. Each of us is made in God’s image as man or woman. 2. Gender identity is determined at conception, genetically, anatomically and chromosomally. 3. A person must accept that objective identity.” “Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his or her sexual identity. Physical, moral and spiritual difference and complementarity are orientated toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out, (CCC2333).”
“There is no doubt that the Church, while sympathetic to those who have this condition, does not condone any move that would attempt to alter the person’s body to represent the opposite gender, although it would recognize counselling therapies that try to alleviate the dysphoria or distress, (McQueen).” The Catholic Church is clear in her belief that grace builds on nature and that we are called to live our lives as healthy whole individual’s body and soul together. “John Hopkins University used to be in the forefront of performing transgender surgeries. They no long do them because in following up with those who had the surgeries, the surgery had done nothing to alter other long-standing accompanying psychological problems. The Hopkins staff decided that they were enabling and colluding with their patients in a delusion (collaborating with a mental disorder), something that was not helpful to the staff nor the individual in assisting them to move toward a healthier life, body and soul, (Sr. Burns).” Catholic Teaching in this area must be viewed through the lens of the “Principle of Totality” meaning that the bodily integrity of the person is to be respected and protected at all times. “The only reason for interfering with that integrity would be to prevent a more serious harm. For example, one would allow amputation of a leg to prevent whole-body poisoning by gangrene. No one would reasonably choose surgical amputation or removal of a physically sound limb or organ in physically sound body. That constitutes mutilation, and is inherently wrong, (McQueen).” Catholic teaching is clear on the need to accept the objective truth of our bodies. All therapy and assistance for a transgendered person must have this acceptance as its goal. Brothers, I have found the topic I chose to write about this year, troubling and very challenging. We are created in His image and likeness, male and female He created us. I think what has troubled me is not the writing on homosexuality and Church teaching in this area. It is the area of transgender which is new ground for me. That someone (a child of God) could be so troubled by their gender identity. An identity which I accept in my own life as an objective truth that is
subject to God’s natural law and creative genius. My heart hurts for these individuals who are such emotional and psychological pain, that they would risk surgery in the hopes of feeling more whole or more human.
(To be read by the Leader)
“It is crucially important to understand that saying a person has a particular inclination that is disordered is not to say that the person as a whole, is disordered. Nor does it mean that one has been rejected by God or the Church, (USCCCB 2006).”
Having said this, the problem lies much deeper than sexual identity among a relatively small number of members of humanity, (No, I am not minimizing). The essence of the challenge we face in our society today, with transgender issues simply being one of the symptoms is this. Humanity, has come to think they are in charge of creation, to the point of excluding the Creator from creation and putting themselves in that role. We are stewards of ourselves and a creation, entrusted to us by the Creator Himself. Our faith, our loving Creator God are what we must hang on to. These are the stabilizing rudders in a secular society fraught with unhealthy ideologies that have no faith or even scientific foundation. This is very troubling. What gives me hope is our God. Our God who has created us in His image and likeness purely out of love for us. Our God who has walked with humanity throughout the ages and despite humanities best efforts to shoot themselves in the foot, our God has always prevailed. Our God prevailed over sin and death in His resurrection. His grace is sufficient for us and always has been. Brothers, this is a challenging and convoluted topic. To get a fuller sense of Catholic perspective and teaching on the issue of homosexuality, transgender LGBTQ etc. I suggest you start in September 2017, and read these formation articles start to finish, noting the references I have used for your own follow-up and study.
My dear Brother Knights my prayer for you and yours as you navigate the storms of society and life is that you remain steadfast in your faith and as Knights, husbands, dads, continue to be the visible witness and disciples of Jesus Christ in the world. Your faith and your witness will give you peace in difficult times and stormy waters. Your faith and your witness will draw others who are searching for peace to our loving God. To our God in whom we are:
Created in the Image and Likeness of God (Gen.1, 26-27)
(The Leader now invites the members to spend a few moments in silent reflection, as the above text is not meant to be a ready-made answer but a starter for personal reflection on the theme.)
(The leader now invites the members to share with their Brother Knights any relevant thoughts that came to them during the meditation period.)
(Recited by all)
Let us pray: “Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”