Their recommendations are not “one size fits all,” and there are some situations in which a child could be admitted, Selner-Wright emphasized.
For example, there could be a situation in which a single parent who experiences same-sex attraction but is trying to live a chaste life wants to enroll a child in a Catholic school. The attraction itself isn’t the issue, Selner-Wright said, as long as the parent is not living in a way that generates a contradiction between what the child learns in school and what they learn at home.
Selner-Wright said the goal of their project is to inform people about gender ideology and equip them with the knowledge to refute it in a compassionate, loving manner. She said Catholics who accept the Church’s teaching on gender are sometimes dismissed as “hateful” toward those who accept gender ideology, but she said loving a person who is questioning his or her gender cannot involve a wholesale affirmation of that person’s desires or choices.
The only way to rightly love a person is in the context of the truth, she said — therefore, questioning a person’s decision to “transition” can be a loving decision, born out of a desire for what is best for the person.
CNA contacted Selner-Wright this week for additional comment but did not hear back before publication.
The policy also includes recommendations that Catholic educators should not use a student’s “preferred pronouns” but instead the pronouns that fit with the student’s biological sex. In addition, the policy reads, “in no situation should the school recognize, encourage, endorse, or facilitate a student’s ‘gender transition.’” In addition, students must use the bathroom that fits with their biological sex and may not attend school functions such as dances as a same-sex couple.
Denver is one of several U.S. dioceses in recent years to issue guidance related to gender theory following the Congregation for Catholic Education’s 2019 document “Male and Female He Created Them,” which says that the Church teaches an essential difference between men and women, ordered in the natural law and essential to the family and human flourishing.
Several other dioceses throughout the country, including Green Bay, Wisconsin; Milwaukee; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, have implemented similar policies to Denver’s on gender dysphoria.
The Milwaukee document cites Pope Francis writing in Laudato si’: “Learning to accept our body, to care for it, and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology … It is not a healthy attitude which would seek ‘to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.’”
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, issued a pastoral guide regarding diocesan policies on gender identity in early 2020. He said that Catholics must support those struggling with gender dysphoria with “compassion,” but this does not mean compromising Catholic values.
The Omaha Archdiocese, in response to feedback from parents and educators, announced in September that it would delay the implementation of a new policy for Catholic schools on gender identity and gender dysphoria and will promulgate a new policy for the 2023–2024 school year.
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Under the Aug. 25 policy — which was to take effect Jan. 1, 2023 — all students, parents, guardians, employees, and volunteers would have been required to “act toward a person in accordance with his or her biological sex at birth.” A spokesman for the archdiocese reiterated that the new policy would continue to affirm the Church’s teachings on gender, even after revisions.
Note: The description of the roles of Farnan, Selner-Wright, and Hasson has been revised since publication.