Catholic bishops wade into America’s bathroom wars


A controversy over transgender rights at schools and public facilities in the United States that’s been dubbed the “bathroom wars” has drawn varied Catholic responses, with bishops expressing concern over a trio of disputed government actions at the local, state and federal level, and a Catholic gay rights group supporting increased access for transgender people.

The epicenter of what commentators have called the latest salvo in the culture wars has unfolded in North Carolina, where the Charlotte City Council in February passed an ordinance that prohibited barring transgender people from using a bathroom or locker room that corresponds with the gender with which they identify.

North Carolina’s Catholic bishops issued a statement opposing that measure and urging the state’s legislature to overturn it, saying it did not serve the common good because it undermined public safety and did not protect the rights of religious institutions that opposed the action.


On May 6, Raleigh’s bishop expressed opposition to the state legislature’s attempted corrective action, saying, “After prayerful consideration and thorough review, and following various legal interpretations regarding the real impact of HB2, I believe another remedy to the unfortunate situation created by the Charlotte ordinance and HB2 should be considered, whether that be legislation or some other measure.”

That isn’t very helpful. If you are going to criticize don’t just say something doesn’t work. Offer an actual solution. I think such open ended criticism is dangerous and unwise given the political environment. The issue is simple; should men be able to use women’s facilities and vice verse. You either think they should or think they shouldn’t.


It is not the role of the Church to propose specific legislation. If the objection cited in the OP had been coming from a candidate for public office, your comments might be more on point.

By the way, did you notice that the Church leaders criticized both the Charlotte pro-transgender measure and the state anti-transgender countermeasure? It was not immediately obvious to me upon first reading which side they were siding with. It turns out they are siding with neither side.


I get the idea of not proposing ‘specific legislation’ but what exactly does that mean? The Church certainly opposes specific legislation. It certainly proposes legislation making certain things illegal.

The bishop did oppose the Charlotte law. And he seems to oppose the state law. But how can you be against both? It is like being against A and against B when B is Not A. I don’t see a third option. If there is then the bishop should mention it. The Charlotte law mandated that you can use any sex segregated facility you want to regardless of your sex. The state law says you have to use the sex segregated facility that matches your sex.


You really don’t see how one could be against both? The first law was a bad law, and the state law was a hammer when a push pin would have done. It didn’t just invalidate the local law, but imposed new requirements.


No I don’t. Please explain it to me.

With respect to facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms the state law didn’t establish new requirements. It just made it supremely clear what the law already was. If the sex segregated facilities weren’t really sex segregated then you couldn’t arrest or even remove a man for being in the women’s facilities. And the signs themselves would be a fraud as they establish an expectation of privacy.


I wish ALL our American Bishops and clergy, (and world wide), would stand up strongly against this and all the other evils our government is forcing on us. God Bless, Memaw


There wasn’t a law about restrooms and locker room previously. Thus, it was up to individual businesses or government policy (not law) on who was allowed in. So previously if you entered a restroom in which it appeared you didn’t belong, you could be removed by the owner or arrested for trespassing (if you did not leave). If you were transgender you would just use which ever restroom you could pass for and as long as you were discrete, no one would notice. Or heck, if one bathroom was closed for cleaning or the lines were too long, you could get a look out and use the other bathroom. (Now I am not very familiar with either law, but was the local law just for government buildings or for everyone?). Charlotte passed a law that more or less says that anyone can use which ever bathroom/locker room whenever merely by claiming they are transgender. (There is no test for whether someone is transgender to verify anyone’s claim). Then the state came along wanting to invalidate the law, but instead of just invalidating the law they placed a requirement that one had to match their bathroom with their birth certificate. This is was an unnecessary requirement that actually complicates things. Has it now criminalized the, “oh no the line is too long” emergency bathroom trips, or accompanying a child into the restroom? And it also has people who look like the opposite sex into the bathroom of their actual sex, even though females might be growing beards, and men might be wearing bras and dresses, where previously they would have passed unnoticed.

Now, I don’t know how this law will be enforced, besides by people reporting on those they know to be transgender, but it could criminalize innocent behavior. This is why I say that the state law went too far and how one can see that neither law is a good law.


I believe the law is just for government. And the law allows for exceptions like for cleaning or care taking. I don’t know that there wasn’t a specific law before, but even without one some sort or law pertained to sex segregated facilities. They obviously weren’t just open up to any and everyone.

How is using the bathroom of your sex a problem? Just because some people want to use a different restroom doesn’t mean they should. Can people now go into areas marked employees only if they are deluded into thinking they are employee or even if they are not and just proclaim themselves to be?

If women are growing beards because of hormones and implants and men wearing bras it isn’t societies obligation to accommodate their fetish, delusion and life decisions.


Catholic bishops should side with the South if they ever experience Northern treachery on moral matters.


I do not know how the last post was relevant, but I was actually graced with the chance to be able to speak with Bishop Burbidge the day he was interviewed by reporters, and I can say that many of the criticisms made against him are poorly founded. As an authoritative representative of the Church, he of course must be careful with his words, and he did so effectively and lovingly.

What he stated to me and the others with me at my parish was that HB2 covers much more than so called “bathroom rights”, and that he could not simply reject the entire bill as bad or ungodly. Rather, he emphasized that the both bill and counter-proposal were rushed and poorly crafted, and that we ought to spend more time on the bill, ensuring that it protects the rights of all. Put yourself in his shoes. If he had replied bluntly “this bill is terrible and should be rejected”, or “the Catholic Church does not approve”, he would not have been acting with mercy and kindness towards all.

Also, a bishop’s expertise is not political. His area of expertise is religion and religious administration, ensuring the salvation of souls in the Church. Therefore, one cannot expect him to create a well-formulated counter bill. Both bill and counter-bill were poorly crafted, and so yes he can disagree with both of them, they have many facets in each. But to criticize him for not being 100% one way or the other, I believe, is a poor judgement to be made upon a man who has done many amazing works for the diocese of Raleigh, and I am sure the same could be said for Bishop Jugis of Charlotte.


Common Sense Turned on its Head Once Again, by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki


Thank you for posting this.



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit