catholic church support trans people

Wait…Does the Catholic Church Support Trans People Now?

I’m as stunned as you are

Have you ever heard news so surprising it made you question everything you thought you knew about the world?

Well, that’s what I heard today, and it came to us courtesy of the Catholic Church.

But for once, this was actually good news. For once, the Catholic Church did the right thing — publicly support trans people.

Now, typically, when you see a headline featuring the words “Catholic Church” and “trans”, you’d probably assume it was bad news.

And based on everything that institution has ever done, that would be fair.

If you’re one of the lucky few who’s blissfully unaware of the rocky relationship between the Catholic Church and the queer community, let me take you on a trip down memory lane.

Centuries of queer hate

The Catholic Church hated queer people from day one.

Most famously, the Bible described gay people as “immoral and sinful”. And the basis for this discrimination was written by some random guy 3,500 years ago.

Now, we don’t need to fully dissect how terrible that sentence is. Nor do we need to talk about how wild it is to base your morals on anything written thousands of years ago.

But, we are going to learn about how terrible the church has been to trans people.

So buckle up! It’s about to get depressing.

Trans exclusion

According to the Human Rights Campaign, in the eyes of the Catholic church, gender is assigned at birth.

And, unfortunately, that was the official word of god for a very long time.

In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI said the idea that someone could choose their own gender identity was a “profound falsehood.” 

In 2015, Pope Francis talked smack about trans people on multiple occasions.

Also in 2015, the church denied a trans man the opportunity to be a godfather and supplied this gem of a quote as his justification:

“[…] the result is evident that this person does not possess the requisite of leading a life conformed to the faith and to the position of godfather (CIC, can 874 §1,3), therefore is not able to be admitted to the position of godmother nor godfather. One should not see this as discrimination, but only the recognition of an objective absence of the requisites that by their nature are necessary to assume the ecclesial responsibility of being a godparent.”

First of all, this person was a man, so there’s no reason anyone should be concerned about his qualifications to be a godmother.

Second, the justification is gross. Is “not leading a life conformed to the faith” really the excuse they used?

Listen, if someone wants to participate in every ritual the church has, that person has by definition “conformed to the faith”.

Also, just saying you aren’t discriminating doesn’t mean you aren’t discriminating. If someone got caught eating a human, it’s not like they could just say they weren’t a cannibal and we’d have no choice but to believe them.

That isn’t how life works. Your actions show us who you truly are.

And one man in particular, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, is all about showing us who he is. And he is a man who does not like trans people.

But in a shocking turn of events, being a bigot got him fired.

A stunning 180

In November, Pope Francis publicly supported the inclusion of trans people.

Remember a few paragraphs ago when I was saying he basically went on a year-long tirade against trans people? Well, that guy just made this proclamation:

Transgender people can be baptized, become official godparents, and act as a witness for weddings in the Catholic faith.

As awesome as it is for the pope to decide this is the official word of God, what’s even more awesome is that he doubled down by firing Joseph Strickland for “undermining the faith” by being anti-trans.

Admittedly, I have no way of knowing what actually caused this sudden change of heart. But I have a sneaking suspicion this wasn’t done out of the kindness of anyone’s heart.

I don’t genuinely believe the pope is open-minded and thinks we should be more accepting of different lifestyles. I have no reason to believe this very old man suddenly completely changed his worldview. 

It all seems a tad performative. It seems like a ploy to get people to come back to church and drop some cash in the donation basket.

Because, let’s face it, property taxes on a 25-billion-dollar estate can’t be cheap.

But if nothing else, even if this proclamation wasn’t entirely made in good faith, public affirmations of disenfranchised people are never a bad thing. And I’m choosing to be optimistic that this could be a step in the right direction.

Maybe this brought us one step closer to finally accepting trans people.

Thank you for visiting my site! If you liked what you saw and you’d like to support my work, you can purchase my books here, and subscribe to my email list here so you never miss a post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights