Friar Foregoes Magisterium

News: US News
by Aidan O'Connor  •  •  March 25, 2023   

Defending gender ideology and mutilation

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. ( - A heterodox Franciscan priest is blasting the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for condemning so-called transgender health care.

Fr. Daniel Horan

In an op-ed piece published Thursday in the National Catholic Reporter, Fr. Daniel Horan attacks the U.S. bishops for releasing a document affirming Church doctrine on sexuality and human dignity.

Father Horan targets the bishops' recent document titled, "Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body," calling it a "disaster."

He argues, "[T]hose responsible for this document not only deny the reality of transgender, nonbinary and intersex persons, but they also compound the harm experienced by already very vulnerable people. ... Predictably, the result is nothing short of a disaster: theologically, scientifically and pastorally."

Father Horan is the director of the Center for Spirituality and professor of philosophy, religious studies and theology at St. Mary's College in Indiana. Horan has long held dissident views and has publicly supported gender ideology, radical pro-abortion feminists and cultural Marxism.

The USCCB document was issued by the Committee on Doctrine. It condemns the growing surgical and chemical interventions for victims of gender ideology. In the document, the bishops affirm the natural order, the fact that God created mankind "male and female."

Horan has long held dissident views.

In his NCR article, Horan claims the bishops are espousing faulty theology. He argues,

Christian theology is dynamic and complex, not easily reduced to simplistic propositional claims. There is a reason why some of the most important dogmatic teachings of the Christian tradition took centuries to develop. It takes time to understand deeply complex realities, such as who God is or what it means to be a human person, and even as we learn more, we never fully exhaust the mystery of reality.

He says of the bishops, "[T]hey state that there are only two genders that conform to one of two biological sexes and that this is a universal and unchanging theological truth. This is an historically and theologically contested claim."

The Vortex: Heretics on Parade

Horan goes on to suggest the bishops "assume they understand in totality the incomprehensible complexity of God's creation generally and the human person particularly," calling this an "errant attitude."

Meanwhile, infamous atheist and author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, recently admitted in an interview, "[T]here are two sexes, and that's all there is to it." 

The bishops affirm the natural order.

Father Horan also alleges that the bishops are using bad science. In their document, the prelates call upon Pope Pius XII's comments on mutilation and human dignity. The pontiff insisted that man "does not have an unlimited power to effect acts of destruction or of mutilation of a kind that is anatomical or functional." The U.S. bishops reiterated this argument:

These technological interventions are not morally justified either as attempts to repair a defect in the body or as attempts to sacrifice a part of the body for the sake of the whole. First, they do not repair a defect in the body: there is no disorder in the body that needs to be addressed; the bodily organs are normal and healthy. Second, the interventions do not sacrifice one part of the body for the good of the whole.

In response, the dissident Franciscan insists that so-called gender-affirming care is necessary for the well-being of patients. He refers to the argument of like-minded ethicist Becket Gremmels, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Jesuit-run Saint Louis University. Finally, Horan accuses the bishops of failing in their pastoral duty:

[T]his statement reflects a culture of paternalism, arrogance and dismissiveness, signaling that the bishops are not interested in encountering trans, nonbinary and intersex people but only interested in denying their very existence and experiences. ... [R]eading this document reminded me of abusers who claim to be "acting out of love and concern" but do nothing but cause greater harm and violence. The tone of this document reads like something written by abusive parents invoking "tough love" as they send their queer children to "conversion therapy."

Faithful Catholics hailed the bishops' document as a great step in fighting gender ideology and mutilation. But it remains to be seen if the prelates will address dissident clerics who are eschewing the Church's Magisterium and leading Catholics astray.

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