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In Michigan, the diocese of Marquette is making some noise over an instruction on aspects of the pastoral care of homosexuals and those with gender dysphoria. In tonight's In-Depth Report, Church Militant's Nadia Hazimeh breaks down the document and the diocese's monumental move.
Priests in the diocese of Marquette are instructed to deny all the sacraments to transgender and non-binary individuals — unless they have repented. This may be a first of any diocese in the United States.
Bishop John Doerfler issued the guide in July, but it only started making waves after pro-gay Fr. James Martin tweeted his discontent on Tuesday: "It is not a sin to be transgender. Transgender people are beloved children of God, struggling to understand their identity. They need to be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity."
If Martin read the guide in its entirety, he'd see it does, in fact, ask priests multiple times to show kindness and respect to those struggling with those tendencies. In doing so, one would help the individual to overcome his homosexual temptations or gender dysphoria so he may live a life pleasing to God.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life."
The Marquette document also notes, "Experiencing feelings and desires that are not in accord with the true meaning and purpose of sexuality is not sinful. ... We commit a sin if we freely and deliberately act on disordered desires."
Someone who identifies as a different "gender" or has attempted "gender transitioning" and wishes to be baptized needs to repent. This does not require reversing any physical changes to the body.
LGBT Catholic advocates are critiquing the guide. Canon lawyer Dr. Jennifer Haselberger is puzzled: "There's nobody who approaches baptism from a state of perfection. The presumption is the opposite. You come to baptism as a sinner, and original sin is forgiven you."
The self-proclaimed feminist who puts pronouns in her Twitter bio also misunderstands. The guide allows for a person who recognizes they have a problem and is willing to work to turn away from it to be welcomed into the Church.
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, said the guide could lead to "decimation of the Catholic community" by creating division among the faithful. Other keyboard warriors who are lost on Church teaching are giving sharp criticism of the diocese on Twitter.
Former parishioners have called a number of homilies from Marquette "outrageously right-wing." Faithful Catholics are calling this a win. Since most people are baptized as babies, the guide is geared for teens and adults receiving the other sacraments and for those who've never known the Church but are interested in becoming part of it.