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  #1  
Old Jul 3, '12, 10:24 pm
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Holly3278 Holly3278 is offline
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Default What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Hi everyone. I have been putting off posting this for a while but I have finally decided to post it because I really want to know. Anyway, I was at a local gas station recently and there was this person there who told me that they are transgendered and that they are getting sex change surgery. I couldn't tell what their biological gender is because they do not have a distinctly masculine or feminine appearance/persona. All I know is that this person is getting a sex change. Well, I told this person that I am a devout Catholic and that I do not agree with sex changes and things like that. This person acted really offended even though I did tell them that I was not preaching at them. I hope I wasn't uncharitable toward them simply by stating that I disagree with what they are doing.

So anyway, I am just wondering, what does the Church teach about transgendered people? From what I understand, transgendered people suffer from a mental illness known as gender identity disorder but that's all I know. I am pretty sure that the Church considers sex change operations to be immoral but this is what I don't understand. This person told me that they are so uncomfortable with themselves that they have been suicidal in the past because of this. This person seemed to think that getting a sex change surgery would take away a lot of their depression over the issue. So, that leads me to wonder: would the Church be okay with sex change surgery as a treatment for gender identity disorder in serious situations such as this?
  #2  
Old Jul 3, '12, 10:29 pm
Dakota Roberts Dakota Roberts is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

The Church hasn't really commented.
  #3  
Old Jul 3, '12, 10:30 pm
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Holly3278 Holly3278 is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota Roberts View Post
The Church hasn't really commented.
Yeah, that's what I thought.

So do orthodox Catholic theologians say anything about the issue?
  #4  
Old Jul 3, '12, 10:36 pm
Dakota Roberts Dakota Roberts is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holly3278 View Post
Yeah, that's what I thought.

So do orthodox Catholic theologians say anything about the issue?
Quote:
Attempting to change the sexual appearance of one’s body because of one “feelings" is like trying to make a square circle. Better to go with what God has already created. Even when a person goes through all the operations and plastic surgery, one’s DNA remains what one was born with. Besides not being honest, such attempts constitute sins of mutilation of the body.

Certainly, such feelings are a cross. But when one recognizes them as such, one can offer them to the Lord as a response for His sacrifices for us and they become acts of great love.
To understand this, one must recognize how loving God is and how our very existence is all about Him.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.
source
That's the best I got.
  #5  
Old Jul 4, '12, 12:05 am
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Gertabelle Gertabelle is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Not specifically about transgender surgery, but here is something from the Catechism:

Quote:
369 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. "Being man" or "being woman" is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator.240 Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity "in the image of God". In their "being-man" and "being-woman", they reflect the Creator's wisdom and goodness.


Seems to me that if being a man or being a woman is willed by God, then to try to alter that would be to willingly go against God's will.

My two cents'.

Gertie
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  #6  
Old Jul 4, '12, 12:59 am
faerie114 faerie114 is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?


I understand that changing oneself (either cosmetic surgery to 'enhance' something or alter it altogether) is a sin because it goes against God's unique design for each of us.

I am wondering though, what happens in an off-chance that the person who transgendered regrets doing it? Are they forgiven? Given the fact that they can't go back to their original physical self.
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  #7  
Old Jul 4, '12, 1:39 am
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holly3278 View Post
Hi everyone. I have been putting off posting this for a while but I have finally decided to post it because I really want to know. Anyway, I was at a local gas station recently and there was this person there who told me that they are transgendered and that they are getting sex change surgery. I couldn't tell what their biological gender is because they do not have a distinctly masculine or feminine appearance/persona. All I know is that this person is getting a sex change. Well, I told this person that I am a devout Catholic and that I do not agree with sex changes and things like that. This person acted really offended even though I did tell them that I was not preaching at them. I hope I wasn't uncharitable toward them simply by stating that I disagree with what they are doing.

So anyway, I am just wondering, what does the Church teach about transgendered people? From what I understand, transgendered people suffer from a mental illness known as gender identity disorder but that's all I know. I am pretty sure that the Church considers sex change operations to be immoral but this is what I don't understand. This person told me that they are so uncomfortable with themselves that they have been suicidal in the past because of this. This person seemed to think that getting a sex change surgery would take away a lot of their depression over the issue. So, that leads me to wonder: would the Church be okay with sex change surgery as a treatment for gender identity disorder in serious situations such as this?
Good article about the views of the Church.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/transsexu15.htm
  #8  
Old Jul 4, '12, 6:25 am
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Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by faerie114 View Post

I understand that changing oneself (either cosmetic surgery to 'enhance' something or alter it altogether) is a sin because it goes against God's unique design for each of us.

I am wondering though, what happens in an off-chance that the person who transgendered regrets doing it? Are they forgiven? Given the fact that they can't go back to their original physical self.
Of course they'd be forgiven. No sin is unforgiveable. People who are surgically sterilized can be forgiven, even if they don't attempt to reverse the procedure.
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The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, it’s more than that. It’s a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

- Fr. Gregory Jensen
  #9  
Old Jul 7, '12, 2:09 pm
Dakota Roberts Dakota Roberts is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viviphilia View Post
"Sex change surgery" includes the removal of the breasts for female-to-male trans men. For trans women, it includes the removal of the testes and the surgical conversion of the penis into a vagina.

What did Christ Himself say about the removal of healthy body parts? In Matthew 5, Christ tells us:
29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/...+5&version=NIV

If a transsexual is tempted to suicide, a grave sin, and removing a body part would relieve that temptation, then it is clearly permitted by Christ.

Now lets look at the Catechism on the matter:
2297 "...Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law."
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a5.htm

Although it is by not a perfect "cure," "sex change surgery" is well recognized as a legitimate medical therapy for transsexuals. Therefore, according to the Catechism, sex change surgery is permitted.

Catholics should support transsexuals in bearing their cross. If a transsexual individual commits the grave sin of suicide due to mocking or insensitivity, then those who mocked or were insensitive have contributed to that sin.
1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

- by protecting evil-doers.
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_cs...s1c1a8.htm#III

If "sex change surgery" will help a transsexual avoid the sin of suicide, we are obligated to encourage her to follow Christ's teachings in Matthew 5 in a compassionate and charitable way.
Almost no one these days fully understands the gravity of such an act and as such it wouldn't be mortal sin for them, hence why the CHurch now allows burials and masses for people who committed suicide.
  #10  
Old Jul 7, '12, 6:07 pm
Dakota Roberts Dakota Roberts is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viviphilia View Post
Hi Dakota,

Whether or not it is a mortal sin for the person who committed suicide, it is still a sin for anyone to contribute to the suicide of another person.

- V
Indeed and everyone should be loved.

The scope of medical procedures allowed is correlated with how serious it is. For example the extreme scale of operations need for a severe burn victim is allowed because of the sever health threat physically, the psychological effects of not doing it further tips the scale. A mastectomy to ensure the removal of a tumor or breast cancer is allowed. It would also be permissible for breast shrinkage in males if the breasts have become improperly large due to something such as disordered functioning of hormonal glands and there is psychological distress, in a case where it is not a life threatening condition, severe emotional discomfort alone would not be sufficient.
  #11  
Old Jul 7, '12, 7:41 pm
CopticChristian CopticChristian is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viviphilia View Post
Hi Holly,

Thanks for asking such an interesting question.

"Sex change surgery" includes the removal of the breasts for female-to-male trans men. For trans women, it includes the removal of the testes and the surgical conversion of the penis into a vagina.

What did Christ Himself say about the removal of healthy body parts? In Matthew 5, Christ tells us:
29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/...+5&version=NIV

If a transsexual is tempted to suicide, a grave sin, and removing a body part would relieve that temptation, then it is clearly permitted by Christ.

Now lets look at the Catechism on the matter:
2297 "...Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law."
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a5.htm

Although it is by not a perfect "cure," "sex change surgery" is well recognized as a legitimate medical therapy for transsexuals. Therefore, according to the Catechism, sex change surgery is permitted.

Catholics should support transsexuals in bearing their cross. If a transsexual individual commits the grave sin of suicide due to mocking or insensitivity, then those who mocked or were insensitive have contributed to that sin.
1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

- by protecting evil-doers.
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_cs...s1c1a8.htm#III

If "sex change surgery" will help a transsexual avoid the sin of suicide, we are obligated to encourage her to follow Christ's teachings in Matthew 5 in a compassionate and charitable way.

-V
Viv,

Christ was saying that if your eye is offensive pluck it out so that as a man or a woman you go through the world with one eye, ie a one eyed man or a one eyed woman.

If your genitals are offensive cut them off and then you can go through the world as a genital absent man or woman. I have cared for people that have castrated themselves and authored a paper on that subject. Those that entertain self castration were in my research mentally unstable.

Jesus was not saying to change your sex.

The Catechism is not saying that transgender surgery is an aid to suicide. The first tenet of Surgery is that "cold steel" as we call it is not the cure for mental illness. Suicide is a mental illness.

You wrongly interpret transsexual surgery as "therapeutic". It is not.

If sex change surgery leads a person to commit suicide then the physician that did that surgery bears the cross of that sin.

You are grasping at straws. Read your Bible and Catechism again and get back to me.
  #12  
Old Jul 7, '12, 7:46 pm
CopticChristian CopticChristian is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viviphilia View Post
Sex change surgery is not cosmetic if it helps a person avoid the sin of suicide.
It is very rare for a transsexual to regret "sex change surgery." Such regret usually involved botched surgeries and unrealistic expectations. Since it is not a sin, there would be no need for forgiveness. If one still felt that she had sinned, she can confess and ask for forgiveness like any other sin.
Viv,

Suicide is contemplated before acted. Suicide has many reasons and many causes. A person that commits suicide is never referred to a Surgeon for treatment. Let me know when after researching the DSM on your own you discover the assesment for suicide and initial referral to a Surgeon.

I can see it now....

Plastic Surgeon advertising on the web...

Augmentation
Tummy Tuck
Face Lift
Botox
Suicide prevention Surgery

perhaps you know something I don't know....
  #13  
Old Jul 7, '12, 7:48 pm
CopticChristian CopticChristian is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viviphilia View Post
Hi Gertie,

I'm curious how you know God's will for an individual's gender.

In the case of a person born into the intersex state called "mosaicism" there exists a mix of 46,XY and 46,XX chromosomes and cell types. They have both male and female cells. And correspondingly, their body has features of both men and women, including ambiguous genitalia that is somewhere between male and female genitalia. How are such individuals supposed to know what is God's will with regards to their gender? It might appear that God willed them to be both genders at the same time.

Here is a Christian website which talks about the various intersex conditions which make it difficult for some people to know God's will with respect to their gender.

http://www.transchristians.org/inter...sex-conditions

I think above all else, the Church teaches us that such individuals should be treated with dignity, charity, and compassion.

-V
Viv,

You are a man that wants to be a woman and you have played this exception to the rule card with the various anomalies that don't apply to you. Give it a rest.
  #14  
Old Jul 7, '12, 7:51 pm
CopticChristian CopticChristian is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viviphilia View Post
Hi Dakota,

Whether or not it is a mortal sin for the person who committed suicide, it is still a sin for anyone to contribute to the suicide of another person.

- V
Viv,

Since there is a high rate of suicide in the transgendered population it would be wise for any Catholic Physician through conscience to abstain from involving themselves with this population for fear that there may be any association or contribution to the sin of suicide should it happen. That is what I would do.
  #15  
Old Jul 7, '12, 8:23 pm
CopticChristian CopticChristian is offline
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Default Re: What does the Church teach about transgendered people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viviphilia View Post
Hi Dakota,

Suicidality caused by gender dissonance is certainly a life- threatening condition. I'm not sure where you got that idea about "severe emotional discomfort," or even what that means. Christ makes it crystal clear in Matthew 5 that a body part which is causing a person to sin should be removed to save the soul of the person. The Catechism supports the direction in Matthew 5 since "sex change surgery" is a sound medical therapy which resolves gender dissonance. And finally, the Catechism makes it clear that by not disclosing the instructions of Matthew 5 to a suicidal transsexual, a Catholic might be guilty of contributing to the sin of suicide in another person.

Please come back when you have an argument based on the Bible and the Catechism.

- V
Viv,

As always with Protestants it is best to go to the Greek when trying to understand Scripture...

Concerning your eye...Jesus says You Pluck It Out...and when you go to the Greek it is clear that the word 'You" means as it says below...

Quote:
su: you (early mod. Eng. thou)
Original Word: σύ, σοῦ, σοί, σέ
Part of Speech: Personal Pronoun
Transliteration: su
Phonetic Spelling: (soo)
Short Definition: you
Definition: you.
Concerning the plucking it is also clear that the plucking is done by the one plucking..

Quote:
Original Word: ἐξαιρέω
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: exaireó
Phonetic Spelling: (ex-ahee-reh'-o)
Short Definition: I remove, choose, rescue
Definition: I take out, remove; sometimes (mid): I choose, sometimes: I rescue.
You can look at it in context in the Greek...so if you want to follow Jesus and do what he tells you "You cut it off"...don't go asking someone else to do it...only you know it offends you and then you are without guilt. Don't involve someone else.


http://interlinearbible.org/matthew/5-29.htm
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