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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Thousands of U.S. nuns are deviating from Catholic teaching on transgenderism by rebuking recent statements from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A coalition led by dozens of women religious groups and allies issued a public letter expressing solidarity with the so-called "transgender community." The statement was issued on March 31, timed to coincide with the International Day of Transgender Visibility.
The statement titled "In Solidarity: Vowed Catholic Religious Honor Trans Day of Visibility" proclaimed that "[a]s members of the body of Christ, we cannot be whole without the full inclusion of transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive individuals."
Using hackneyed Marxist terminology of "oppressor and oppressed," the letter further argued:
We will remain oppressors until we — as vowed Catholic religious — acknowledge the existence of LGBTQ+ people in our own congregations. We seek to cultivate a faith community where all, especially our transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive siblings, experience a deep belonging. May we act to transform our hearts, our church, our politics, and our country to ensure that the dignity of our trans, nonbinary, and gender-expansive siblings are acknowledged, boldly accepted, and celebrated.
The letter went on to allege that "at this moment" transgender people are experiencing "harm and erasure." It attributed these perceptions to so-called anti-LGBT state legislation, allegedly harmful language from Christian leaders and the Catholic Church and everyday "discrimination and violence."
Many see the transgender solidarity letter in contrast to the doctrinal note issued less than two weeks ago by the USCCB. In the "Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body," the bishops discouraged Catholic health care groups from performing various medical procedures and interventions that are "injurious to the true flourishing of the human person."
Unlike the nuns, the USCCB's document strenuously reaffirms "human sexual differentiation" of male and female — unlike the nuns' statement that excludes any mention of women or females. The bishops referred to the Catechism of the Catholic Church that states, "Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. 'Being man' or 'being woman' is a reality which is good and willed by God."
They also cited St. John Paul II's powerful reminder from his commentary on the Book of Genesis "that Man is created 'from the very beginning' as male and female" and "that the life of all humanity — whether of small communities or of society as a whole — is marked by this primordial duality."
The nuns' letter was prepared by representatives from various communities; among them is the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth JPIC (Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation) office and the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods in Indiana. More than 6,000 professed religious women across 18 states are represented.
Sister Barbara Battista, one of the architects of the letter and the justice promoter for the Sisters of Providence, took a thinly veiled jab at the bishops' transcendent message of caution to health care groups. She slammed Catholic leaders who have tried to "insert themselves into the private, very personal and intimate conversations and decisions made between the health care provider and the person they are serving."
Many of the nuns are members of the leftist Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a group investigated by the Vatican in 2009 for peddling errant beliefs about homosexual activity and birth control. In 2012, the group was chastised for pushing "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith."
The overall number of Catholic nuns in the United States has been in free fall for over half a century. According to the National Religious Retirement Office, the number of female religious in the United States has dropped more than 86% between 1966 and 2022.