Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum, or actually the campaign for the highest seat in the land. Pete Buttigieg, the onetime mayor of South Bend announced his candidacy for the Presidential nomination alongside his same sex spouse. And everybody pretty much yawned. I am not sure if he was hoping to get extra points for having a same sex spouse but it didn't register too much. Still, he wasn't deterred in trying to use his same-sex marriage to bolster his campaign image. So he decided to attack Vice President Pence because of his support for traditional, man-woman marriage. Except that didn't garner him much sympathy either. The Vice President simply stated that while he was Governor of Indiana and Buttigieg was a Mayor in the state they got along very well. In fact, in his book, Buttigieg pretty much said the same. It's hard to win a fight when the other person won't attack you, darn Pence. THUMP. DUD!
Our society has become like the frog in the kettle, as time goes on, we don't even notice the temperature rising or the changes that have made the once unthinkable become the debatable and then the justifiable and finally the unexceptional. Same-sex marriage is pretty much now the unexceptionable. The media and Hollywood have normalized it to the point, as Buttigieg found out, gay is no longer radical chic. Come to think of it, wasn't normalization what they were aiming for all along?
Buttigieg did however receive blistering negative points on the account of his same sex marriage, but not from who you may think. You see being gay no longer gives you the strong hand. Lesbian, Gay or Bi are just too vanilla these days. It was the 'T' in the LGBT that lead the mau-mauing of Buttigieg. For these activists, the Mayor's life is too normal. Almost hetero-normal. He is in a stable and monogamous long-term relationship, he lives in the suburbs with a house with a white picket fence, he is highly educated, is a regular Church goer, and espouses all the good liberal causes. And for the Trans activist that sounds and looks too much like your typical suburban heterosexual lifestyle. In their words, Buttigieg is not "queer" or not queer enough. The idea that human sexuality has any norm, even a same-sex one is anathema to these activists.
What has become known as Gender Theory, is actually an ideology that demands society change everything related to the male-female understanding of gender and societal norms (think Restrooms and Sports competition) as well as the very nature of human sexuality. Just in time for this cultural wrecking ball that has descended on our culture, the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education has issued a new document: Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education. (If you are unfamiliar with Gender Theory you should read the Brief Introduction in the document.) In a word, the document makes the case that the Church has much to say about the anthropological and metaphysical make-up of the human person and why Gender Theory is so destructive of the human person: "In this understanding of things, the view of both sexual identity and the family become subject to the same 'liquidity' and 'fluidity' that characterize other aspects of post-modern culture, often founded on nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants, or momentary desires provoked by emotional impulses and the will of the individual, as opposed to anything based on the truths of existence."
Right on cue when the document was released a howl went up from the Trans-activists and others accusing the Church of being hateful to transgendered persons. The usual talking points were made: The Church's understanding of human nature and human biology and human sexuality are out of step with the times. Not only that but a binary understanding of human gender and sexuality is no longer in keeping with the latest developments in psychology and biology. But the reality is quite the opposite. First, the Church understands the suffering that some individuals go through on this issue and seeks to accompany them on their journey to a resolution. Secondly, the document is entitled: "A Path to Dialogue" because the Church wants to share her understanding of the human person and the insights it has gained from the accumulated wisdom and experience of the centuries. It also wants to make the case that the problem of gender dysphoria is not centered in the body but the mind. Changing the body does not fix the mind. To quote the document:
The Holy Scripture reveals the wisdom of the Creator's design, which "has assigned as a task to man his body, his masculinity and femininity; and that in masculinity and femininity he, in a way, assigned to him as a task his humanity, the dignity of the person, and also the clear sign of the interpersonal communion in which man fulfills himself through the authentic gift of himself ". Thus, human nature must be understood on the basis of the unity of body and soul, far removed from any sort of physicalism or naturalism, since "in the unity of his spiritual and biological inclinations and of all the other specific characteristics necessary for the pursuit of his end".
The Trans-ideology that has very quickly swept through our culture and risen to the top as "the issue" has very serious implications for our culture and for individuals. There is scant clinical evidence that hormonal therapy or surgery provide long term relief for those who struggle or that changing society norms, like bathrooms, make things any better. Still we are being told that we must indoctrinate our children at the earliest of ages that there is no such thing as male-female binary genders and when children claim to feel like the opposite gender, we immediately must start them on hormonal treatments and treat them as the gender they are not. Not only that but we must change, even by the force of law, every societal norm, from medical care to pronouns. The Church is offering a different path forward, one that acknowledges the radical integrity of the body/spirit and respects the true nature of humans. This is the path of true freedom. Trans-ideology is the path of conflict and chaos.
Fr. John B.