National Catholic Reporter columnist Jamie Manson has responded to Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s new anti-transgender policy by suggesting the bishops are putting “trans folks in their crosshairs.”
Manson begins her column by acknowledging many spaces in the church are unsafe for LGBTQ people. But “some bishops seem to enjoy upping the ante” on being explicitly anti-LGBTQ. She notes that Paprocki’s anti-LGBTQ actions have included an exorcism when Illinois passed marriage equality and a ban on church funerals for Catholics in same-gender marriages.
Bondings 2.0 broke news earlier this week that Paprocki’s diocesan office has issued a new policy on gender identity that places severe restrictions on transgender people, including threats of firing church workers and expelling students in Catholic schools if they lived openly in a gender inconsistent with their sex assigned at birth. Manson responds to this latest development:
“This move is the latest sign that some Catholic leaders, having lost their vociferous and well-oiled campaign to defeat marriage equality, have now put trans folks in their crosshairs.”
She continues saying that the “most painful part” of Policy 650, as it is titled, is “how much Paprocki gets wrong about the best way to treat transgender persons, especially trans youth.” Manson highlights how trans youth who are not accepted suffer higher rates of mental health and substance abuse issues, including rates of suicide, commenting:
“Paprocki’s guidelines are a perfect recipe for this kind of psychological harm.”
“In no way does Paprocki’s policy draw on the opinions of science and medical experts, or the experiences of countless healthy, prospering transgender persons. His reasoning can be boiled to down to this: ‘Because God says so.’
“This binary God that Paprocki portrays is so small and so limited in the face of the extraordinary complexity and variety that God has made in every aspect of nature and throughout our universe.”
Manson also raises the harm the diocesan policy does to intersex people, “those who are born with variations in their sex characteristics genetically, hormonally or in regard to their genitalia or gonads,” who may be one in every 1,000 people, far more than Paprocki acknowledges. Manson concludes:
“If God is creating so many people with such magnificent diversity, and if all persons are a union of body and soul, why wouldn’t it follow that God is being equally creative in the gender expressions and spirits of transgender persons? And why wouldn’t the church allow them to receive potentially life-saving treatment that will help them thrive in the way God wants all of God’s beloved children to flourish?
“Rather than victimizing transgender people in his latest culture battle, Paprocki should be listening to their stories, their suffering and their faith. He might learn something about the God who created him.”
For Bondings 2.0’s full coverage of Jamie Manson’s writings, click here. Tomorrow’s post will feature DignityUSA’s response to Policy 650, and a way for peole to register their support for transgender-inclusive policies.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, February 14, 2020