New Ways Ministry Opposes Milwaukee Archdiocese’s New Anti-Transgender Policy

The following is a statement from Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director, regarding new anti-transgender guidelines released by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s new anti-transgender guidelines entitled “Catechesis and Policy on Questions Concerning Gender Theory” are not only pastorally ineffective but also personally damaging in so many ways.

The guidelines ignore the enormous amount of scientific and social scientific research showing that supporting people through gender transition promotes well-being and flourishing. The archdiocesan policies, which insist on opposing, blocking, and penalizing a person’s development concerning their gender will certainly lead to mental and emotional problems, forms of self-harm, and lives of confusion, pain, and sorrow.

For example, the final guideline attempts to oppose disrespecting and bullying people who are questioning their gender. This statement rings hollow because the first six guidelines promote policies which are themselves forms of disrespect and bullying. Indeed, when religious institutions issue anti-transgender guidelines such as these, they give permission for others to treat people with disrespect, insults, violence, and even death.

Such diocesan policies are certainly not infallible documents, as the many judgement errors in these guidelines illustrate. Catholics should resist such advice, and instead should follow the church’s more solid teaching to treat all people with equality and respect.

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, January 20, 2022

9 replies
    DUANE SHERRY says:

    If Catholic bishops are right, then all of these organizations are wrong:

    * American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    * American Academy of Family Physicians
    * American Academy of Nursing
    * American Academy of Pediatrics
    * American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
    * American College of Physicians
    * American Counseling Association
    * American Medical Association
    * American Nurses Association
    * American Osteopathic Association
    * American Psychiatric Association
    * American Psychological Association
    * American Public Health Association
    * Endocrine Society
    * National Association of Social Workers
    * Pediatric
    Endocrine Society
    * Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
    * World Medical Association
    * World Professional Association for Transgender Health

  2. Dcn. Allen Boedeker
    Dcn. Allen Boedeker says:

    Can you supply the sources of “the enormous amount of scientific and social scientific research showing that supporting people through gender transition promotes well-being and flourishing?” I would be very interested in reading the findings and knowing who the researches are so as to make an informed decision about this issue.

  3. Paula Ruddy
    Paula Ruddy says:

    Dear Francis DeBernardo, can you find out if these harmful diocesan “guidelines” on gender identity are aimed at reducing civil liability for discrimination in schools? I have heard it suggested that that is their purpose. Understanding that purpose might give a way to oppose the policy if the bishops cannot be counted on to respond to humane arguments.

  4. Tom Bower
    Tom Bower says:

    Even more than relying on the above highly respectable organizations, how about having a conversation with someone who is transgender and finding out how much happier they are with their life after becoming more at ease with themselves. There seems to be no one who has accepted they are transgender who are unhappy with themselves. Others may have made then more challenged, but with themselves they are at peace. And peace I recall is what Christ wanted for all of us.

    • Duane Sherry
      Duane Sherry says:

      I’ve been blessed to have the oppprtunity to spend time with dozens of transgender people. Their *lived experience* speaks volumes!

  5. R. A. Story
    R. A. Story says:

    After reading about the archbishop of my diocese and the reply from New Ways Ministry, I picked up the local paper and read that “An advocacy group working to end clergy abuse in Wisconsin has delivered thousands of documents from Wisconsin’s five Catholic dioceses to the state attorney general, documents it says show a systemic coverup of abuse.” Is the timing of these events coincidental?


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