The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops published a letter Monday reaffirming the Catholic Church’s doctrinal stance against gender transition surgery.
The pastoral letter, titled “Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body,” was signed by members of the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine.
“Modern technology […] produces possibilities not only for helpful interventions, but also for interventions that are injurious to the true flourishing of the human person,” the committee wrote. “Careful moral discernment is needed to determine which possibilities should be realized and which should not, in order to promote the good of the human person.”
The Catholic Church teaches that individuals consist of both a body and a soul and that both are eternal in the afterlife. This doctrine has ramifications on health care, cosmetic modification, and many other aspects of modern life for members of the religion.
The letter commends the improvements and breakthroughs brought about by medical science, celebrating modern health care’s ability to heal ailments previously thought to be untreatable.
Conversely, the note repeatedly cites “human nature” and the “natural order” as sacred realities that must be respected.
“We did not create human nature; it is a gift from a loving Creator. Nor do we ‘own’ our human nature, as if it were something that we are free to make use of in any way we please. Thus, genuine respect for human dignity requires that decisions about the use of technology be guided by genuine respect for this created order,” the letter reads.
The bishops also repeatedly reference statements from Pope Francis, who has been an outspoken critic of gender ideology.
“It needs to be emphasized that ‘biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated.’… 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,” the letter quotes from the pontiff. “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.”
The Committee on Doctrine also specifically referenced the growing movement to allow children to undergo bodily modification as a treatment for gender dysphoria, imploring health care professionals not to proceed with such methods.
“To be sure, many people are sincerely looking for ways to respond to real problems and real suffering,” the letter stated in its conclusion. “Certain approaches that do not respect the fundamental order appear to offer solutions. To rely on such approaches for solutions, however, is a mistake. An approach that does not respect the fundamental order will never truly solve the problem in view; in the end, it will only create further problems.”
Pope Francis spoke out against gender theory in a recent interview, echoing his past comments expressing disapproval of transgender ideology.
“Gender ideology, today, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations,” Francis said.