Catholic Bishops Push Back Against Obama Administration's Bathroom 'Guidance'

Source: Conservative Review | May 16, 2016 | Nate Madden

President Obama has infringed upon the privacy and safety rights of society’s most vulnerable and ‘short-circuited’ discussion on a question of human dignity and purpose with its recent guidelines on transgender bathroom, alleges a letter from two prominent Catholic bishops.

In a statement released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Monday, 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 hit back at the Administration’s recent 25-page “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students,” calling the move “deeply disturbing.”

Read the full statement below:

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 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also released a seven-page document in late 2015 on the subject of gender ideology through the Conference’s “Marriage: Unique for a Reason,” initiative, the introduction of which unequivocally defines gender ideology as “a position on anthropology (who a human being is) that is in conflict with the Christian one.”


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