The recent letter from the Department of Education on bathroom and locker room policy for students with gender confusion has generated a great deal of concern among parents and people of good will. Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s actions are creating even greater confusion in an area of life that is vital for our children to develop as boys and girls. The brokenness of our society will not be healed by indiscriminately embracing every subjective behavior but by accepting the truth found in creation. As a Church, we must compassionately promote these truths. In the words of Pope Francis, “the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created” (Amoris Laetitia, 285).
Statement by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
In the wake of the Obama administration’s decision to issue guidance for public schools to allow students with gender confusion to use any bathroom or locker room, I have asked the Denver Catholic to publish this statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. I would also like to reassure concerned Catholics that our schools and institutions will not adopt this policy.
The statement: USCCB Chairmen Respond to Administration’s New Guidance Letter on Title IX Application
WASHINGTON—Two Committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement in response to guidance issued May 13 by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education entitled “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students”:
The Catholic Church consistently affirms the inherent dignity of each and every human person and advocates for the wellbeing of all people, particularly the most vulnerable. Especially at a young age and in schools, it is important that our children understand the depth of God’s love for them and their intrinsic worth and beauty. Children should always be and feel safe and secure and know they are loved.
The guidance issued May 13 by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education that treats “a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex” is deeply disturbing. The guidance fails to address a number of important concerns and contradicts a basic understanding of human formation so well expressed by Pope Francis: that “the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created” (Amoris Laetitia [AL], no. 285).
Children, youth, and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. All of these can be expressed without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security on the part of the other young students and parents. The federal regulatory guidance issued on May 13 does not even attempt to achieve this balance. It unfortunately does not respect the ongoing political discussion at the state and local levels and in Congress, or the broader cultural discussion, about how best to address these sensitive issues. Rather, the guidance short-circuits those discussions entirely.
As Pope Francis has recently indicated, “‘biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated'” (AL, no. 56, emphasis added). We pray that the government make room for more just and compassionate approaches and policies in this sensitive area, in order to serve the good of all students and parents, as well as the common good. We will be studying the guidance further to understand the full extent of its implications.
The statement was issued by Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Archbishop George Lucas, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education.