We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Bishop Paprocki and the American College of Pediatricians: human identity, human dignity.


Catholics are called to treat everyone with compassion.
—Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield, IL.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki has written a letter on the sensitive subject of gender identity and the welfare of children.

Before this post proceeds to the Bishop's letter, a brief reminder to those who might need one:
Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion... and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
For the sake of clarity and charity, and to help avoid any misunderstanding arising from comments having been taken out of context, readers are strongly encouraged to follow the complementary links.
An audio recording of the Bishop's contribution can be found at the following link:
Excerpt from the Paprocki letter.
Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love
http://ct.dio.org/bishops-column/message/bathrooms-now-legislated-who-knew/read.html?format=html
May 15, 2016
Bathrooms now legislated? Who knew?
by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Once again common sense has been turned on its head in our culture, this time by transgender activists agitating for people to be able to use the bathroom that they feel corresponds emotionally to their self-identified gender rather than the anatomical gender of their biological sex. The issue has emerged prominently in recent national and local news.
[...]
(T)he American College of Pediatricians (ACP) has pointed out that transgenderism is classified as a mental illness and therefore has warned legislators and educators that conditioning children to accept transgenderism as normal is child abuse. They advised, “When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind, not the body, and it should be treated as such.”1,2,3.
His Excellency is referring to the following document, which reads in part:
Gender Ideology Harms Children
Originally posted March 21, 2016 – a temporary statement with references. A full statement will be published in summer 2016. Updated with Clarifications on April 6, 2016.
The American College of Pediatricians urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality.
1. Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of health – not genetic markers of a disorder. The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species. This principle is self-evident. (The question is will people acknowledge a self-evident principle and act responsibly or disregard the facts and act contrary to the informed counsel of the ACP?) The exceedingly rare disorders of sex development (DSDs), including but not limited to testicular feminization and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, are all medically identifiable deviations from the sexual binary norm, and are rightly recognized as disorders of human design. Individuals with DSDs do not constitute a third sex [Consortium on the Management of Disorders of Sex Development, “Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Disorders of Sex Development in Childhood.” Intersex Society of North America, March 25, 2006. Accessed 3/20/16 from http://www.dsdguidelines.org/files/clinical.pdf.].
http://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/gender-ideology-harms-children
Citing the findings of a world-class authority, Bishop Paprocki's letter continues: 
Dr. Paul McHugh, psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was so concerned about the psychological origins of gender-identity disorder that he halted the practice of sex-reassignment surgery at his institution. He concluded that the research demonstrated that Johns Hopkins should no longer participate in what he called “unusual and radical treatment” for “mental disorders.”4
http://www.firstthings.com/article/2004/11/surgical-sex
Conscious of the philosophical and theological aspects associated with the subject of human identity, Bishop Paprocki adds:
The Catholic Church has some clear teachings on transgender issues. Catholics are called to treat everyone with compassion. Yet the Church maintains that people may not change what Pope Benedict XVI called “their very essence.” In a speech at the Vatican on Dec. 23, 2008, Benedict directly addressed transgender issues by cautioning Catholics about “destroying the very essence of the human creature through manipulating their God-given gender to suit their sexual choices.”
Further emphasizing the intrinsic beauty and profound meaning of the human body, Bishop Paprocki associates his teaching with that of Pope Francis:
Similarly, in his encyclical Laudato Si, issued last year on the environment, Pope Francis called for men and women to acknowledge their bodies as a gift from God which should not be manipulated. “The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home,” the pope wrote, “whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation” (no. 155).
In his recent apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis warns that gender ideology “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences … It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality. Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created” (no. 56). (Are the quoted/underlined comments by Pope Francis the statements of a progressive?)
The Bishop's letter concludes with a call for civility.
Here in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, we ask that people respect these teachings of the Catholic Church in their use of facilities in our churches and schools. People who are confused about their gender identity — especially children and adolescents — should be treated with compassion and provided counseling rather than being further confused by activists promoting their political ideology.
May God give us this grace. Amen.
Summary

Informed voices linked to the Letter emphasize that, for the sake of the well being of all, public debate and policy cannot overlook nor marginalize:
  • the immediate psychological well being of at-risk children (see notes 1(3) and 2(7) below); 
  • concern for a child's physical integrity and concern about the dangerous consequences of the prolonged use of body altering drugs used to facilitate what the American College of Pediatricians considers to be child abuse (see note 3(8) below);
  • concern about the grave consequences of ill-informed decisions which negatively impact the long term physical and mental health of an individual and, from a spiritual perspective, the destiny of the soul (see notes 3(8) and 4(McHugh) below).
Footnotes

(ACP = American College of Pediatricians)
  1. (3-ACP) These children suffer from gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria (GD), formerly listed as Gender Identity Disorder (GID), is a recognized mental disorder in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-V). The psychodynamic and social learning theories of GD/GID have never been disproved.
  2. (7-ACP) Rates of suicide are twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBTQ – affirming countries. What compassionate and reasonable person would condemn young children to this fate knowing that after puberty as many as 88% of girls and 98% of boys will eventually accept reality and achieve a state of mental and physical health?
  3. (8-ACP) Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse. Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to “gender clinics” where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs. This, in turn, virtually ensures that they will “choose” a lifetime of carcinogenic and otherwise toxic cross-sex hormones, and likely consider unnecessary surgical mutilation of their healthy body parts as young adults.
  4. (McHugh) We saw the results as demonstrating that just as these men enjoyed cross-dressing as women before the operation so they enjoyed cross-living after it. But they were no better in their psychological integration or any easier to live with. With these facts in hand I concluded that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness. We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia.http://www.firstthings.com/article/2004/11/surgical-sex

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