(CNSNews.com) — In a 14-page document released on March 20, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explains why sex-change surgery and puberty blockers to treat “gender dysphoria” violate the “natural order” of the human body and ultimately harm the person. They also declare that no Catholic health care institution may provide such “medical interventions.”
“These technological interventions [surgery/drugs] are not morally justified either as attempts to repair a defect in the body or as attempts to sacrifice a part of the body for the sake of the whole,” state the bishops.
“First, they do not repair a defect in the body: there is no disorder in the body that needs to be addressed; the bodily organs are normal and healthy,” they explain. “Second, the interventions do not sacrifice one part of the body for the good of the whole.” (Emphasis added.)
The bishops’ Committee on Doctrine prepared the document, which is entitled, “Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body.”
In the first few pages, the note explains that there is a “natural order” to the world, the animals, and the human person — all things. This “order in the natural world” was designed by God and it is good. It has an “inbuilt order,” a “grammar” that “sets forth ends and criteria for its wise use, not its reckless exploitation,” wrote Pope Benedict XVI.
The human body, which has a physical (and spiritual) order, is intrinsically connected to its sexuality, state the bishops.
“Just as every human person necessarily has a body, so also human bodies, like those of other mammals, are sexually differentiated as male or female: ‘Male and female he created them’ (Gen 1:27),” reads the document.
“Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman,” state the bishops. “‘Being man’ or ‘being woman’ is a reality which is good and willed by God.”
If we want to find happiness, “we must respect that order,” write the bishops.
They then differentiate between medical interventions that respect the order of the human body and do good vs. interventions that ignore that natural order and do harm.
For instance, surgery to amputate a foot ravaged by diabetes can be a good thing if it helps the person’s body as a whole — eliminating a damaged part. The same could be said for removing a deadly tumor or a gangrenous hand.
However, when it comes to sex-change surgery or puberty blockers, especially in children, the medical action does not respect the natural order and natural design of the human person. It destroys what is natural, normal, and good.
Sex-change surgery literally removes a woman’s breasts (double mastectomy) and cuts out tissue from an arm or leg to fashion a fake penis, which is sewn on (phalloplasty). For the male, he is castrated and his genital area refashioned into a fake vagina. These patients also take drugs to alter their natural hormonal balance.
This type of medical service is an attempt to redesign order, reads the document, an attempt to “replace the natural order with what is imagined to be a new and better order.”
“The Congregation warns that ‘in the attempt to create a new type of human being one can recognize an ideological element in which man tries to take the place of his Creator,” state the bishops.
“[R]ather than to repair some defect in the body or to sacrifice a part for the sake of the whole, these interventions are intended to transform the body so as to make it take on as much as possible the form of the opposite sex, contrary to the natural form of the body,” reads the document. “They are attempts to alter the fundamental order and finality of the body and to replace it with something else.”
In conclusion, the bishops state, “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. The Hippocratic tradition in medicine calls upon all healthcare providers first and foremost to ‘do no harm.’ Any technological intervention that does not accord with the fundamental order of the human person as a unity of body and soul, including the sexual difference inscribed in the body, ultimately does not help but, rather, harms the human person.”
In preparing the document, the bishops consulted with numerous experts, including medical ethicists, physicians, psychologists, and moral theologicans.
According to Dr. Paul McHugh, formely the chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University, who worked with transgender patients for years, “Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they ‘identify.’ In that lies their problematic future.”
One of the most thorough studies of people who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery, showed that “10 to 15 years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to 20 times that of comparable peers,” reported Ryan T. Anderson, the author of When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.
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