(LifeSiteNews) — Two high-ranking California Catholic prelates released a joint pastoral letter upholding the true “nature of the human person” in opposition to radical gender ideology. The letter comes after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reasserted Catholic teaching on human sexuality in March, rejecting the “dualism” of gender ideology.
On September 29, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland published a letter declaring that the pervasive ideology that asserts that people can be born in the wrong body or switch genders is “radically opposed to a sound understanding of human nature.”
Cordileone and Barber wrote that the insidious ideology has led “to forms of cultural influence, especially via education and legislation, that promote a notion of personal identity which is left to the choice of the individual and that deny the anthropological basis of the family as founded on the biological difference between male and female.”
Obliterating the complementary difference between men and women, they argued, “would be an offense against human dignity and a social injustice.”
“Gender ideology denies certain fundamental aspects of human existence, such as male-female sexual difference, the reciprocal complementarity of man and woman, and the essential unity of body and soul in the human person,” they wrote.
“It is thus opposed to reason, to science, and to a Christian view of the human person,” they wrote, citing the Catholic Church’s consistent opposition to any “notions of dualism that posit the body and soul as separate, non-integrated entities.”
The letter also cited remarks by Pope Francis, who argued that gender ideology is “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.”
The archbishop and bishop noted that “[m]any faithful Catholics demonstrate solidarity with those suffering from gender dysphoria, unjust discrimination, or other questions related to gender identity and sincerely desire to respond in love to their sisters and brothers.”
This solidarity, they said, must be practiced “while affirming the beauty and truth of God’s creation.”
Referencing Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate, they added in the letter that “[c]ompassion that does not include both truth and charity is a misplaced compassion.”
“Support for those experiencing gender dysphoria must be characterized by an active concern for genuine Christian charity and the truth about the human person,” they said. “It is, in fact, the truth about the dignity of each person which demands that no one should suffer bullying, violence, insults, or unjust discrimination.”
“To those experiencing gender dysphoria, we wish to reaffirm that God knows us, loves each of us, and desires our flourishing,” Cordileone and Barber wrote. “Our identity is not something we invent or create for ourselves. Your most fundamental identity is that of a beloved child of God.”
And Cordileone and Barber are far from the only Catholic leaders to take a strong stand against radical gender ideology in recent months.
In March, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops published an instruction forbidding so-called “gender transition” surgeries and drugs.
“What is true of creation as a whole is true of human nature in particular: there is an order in human nature that we are called to respect,” the bishops wrote. “In fact, human nature deserves utmost respect since humanity occupies a singular place in the created order, being created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27).”
“To find fulfillment as human persons, to find true happiness, we must respect that order,” they said. “We did not create human nature; it is a gift from a loving Creator. Nor do we ‘own’ our human nature, as if it were something that we are free to make use of in any way we please. Thus, genuine respect for human dignity requires that decisions about the use of technology be guided by genuine respect for this created order.”
In late August, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland formally banned participation in radical LGBT ideology for all of its elementary and high schools, prohibiting “pride” flags, preferred pronouns, participation in social or surgical gender “transitions,” and more.
“The Church, through divine revelation, has been given the gift of knowing that the human person is a unity of both body and soul and that, body and soul, each person is created in God’s image,” the diocese said in its policy, signed August 30 and implemented September 1. “Our bodies, created male and female, are part of God’s intentional design in creation and are, therefore, imbued with meaning and purpose.”
“As stewards of these gifts, we are called to accept, love, and care for our bodies as they were created,” the Cleveland diocese added. “Catholic institutions, therefore, are called to act and speak in ways that are consistent with and affirming of this divinely revealed truth.”