One Catholic diocese in Iowa is taking a clear stance against the modern-day sexual revolution, insisting congregants use the locker rooms and bathrooms that correspond with their biological sexes and barring them from employing “preferred pronouns” in church-linked activities.
The Diocese of Des Moines began implementing the new policy Monday.
“Any parochial, organizational, or institutional documentation which requires the designation of a person’s sex is to reflect that person’s biological sex,” read a lengthy statement from the diocese. “No person may designate a ‘preferred pronoun’ in speech or in writing when related to ministry activities of any kind, nor are parishes, organizations, or institutions to permit such a designation. To permit the designation of a preferred pronoun, while intended as an act of charity, instead promotes the dissociation of biological sex and ‘gender’ and thereby confuses or denies personal integrity.”
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Furthermore, the diocese leadership stated all parishioners “must use the bathroom or locker room that matches their biological sex,” adding, “Diocesan parishes, organizations, and institutions are permitted to have individual-use bathrooms that are available for all members of the respective community.”
In the six-page document, church leaders wrote, “Respect for creation includes respect for one’s biological sex.” They continued, “The human person is a body-soul union, and the body — as created male or female — is an essential aspect of the human person. The mystery of human sexuality as a key component of personal identity is received as a gift created by God that we are not authorized to seek to change.”
The new rules apply to the 80 parishes, 17 schools, and 130,000 members under Bishop William Joensen’s leadership, according to the New York Post.
Additionally, the diocese barred the use of drugs for transgender treatments.
“Students and those entrusted to the care of the church are not permitted to take ‘puberty blockers,’ even if self-administered, on parish or school property, with the purpose of a potential or actual ‘gender reassignment,'” stated the diocese, even calling such treatments “mutilation” and “morally prohibited.”
The responses to the statement were mixed, with some lauding the diocese and others condemning it.
One Democratic lawmaker, Iowa state Sen. Claire Celsi, was not pleased with the policy update, telling the Des Moines Register, “This is not what Jesus would do.”
“To actually come out, and say, ‘We’re going to stamp this out, we’re going to pretend like it doesn’t exist,’ and issue this kind of edict is, I think, reprehensible,” she added.
Courtney Reyes, executive director for the LGBTQ group One Iowa, rebuked the church, claiming, “You cannot pretend to be compassionate while misgendering people and denying them access to any and all spaces under your control.”
Others praised the diocese for its bold shift, writing, “At last!” while another called the rules “good.”
“Finally,” added someone else, “a church that is acting like a church.”
It’s important to note, too, the diocese is not abandoning those experiencing gender dysphoria or struggling in some other way with their sexual identities.
The leaders’ statement outlines that those “who express a tension between their biological sex and their ‘gender'” should be “guided to appropriate ministers and counselors who will assist the person in a manner that is in accord with the directives and teachings of the church.”
“The diagnosis of gender dysphoria does not merit the alteration of one’s body through drug-induced hormone therapies or surgery,” the statement continued. “Rather, one is entitled to receive unconditional love and support, as well as psychological and pastoral care.”
Ultimately, church leaders said the diocese “fervently hopes that all persons experiencing gender dysphoria know … they are unconditionally loved by Jesus Christ and by the Church, and that they are vital members of the Body of Christ who have a home in the family of God.”
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