The policy says it does not ban “open and respectful discussion or debate” on sexuality and gender dysphoria in appropriate forums for Catholic institutions. However, it bars the display of pride flags or other symbols that may be construed as opposition to Catholic teaching.
“No person may publicly advocate or celebrate sexual orientation or identity in ways that are contrary to the Catholic Church’s teaching and that could cause disruption, confusion, or scandal regarding the Catholic Church’s teachings.”
The policy bars purported gender transitions through social behavior, surgery, or medical treatments. It also rejects changes to or purges of institutional records and documents. These must reflect “a person’s God-given biological sex and legal name.”
Policy based on Catholic teaching
“A person experiencing gender dysphoria or confusion will not be denied admission to an institution or be excluded from an institution’s life and activities simply because he or she is experiencing gender dysphoria or confusion or same-sex attraction,” the policy adds. It outlines cases in which accommodations should or can be made for people with gender dysphoria.
At the same time, the policy notes, those who openly voice disagreement with Church teaching “in an open and scandalous way” or who act contrary to Catholic teaching may face restrictions, or, as appropriate, disciplinary action.
Catholic institutions must act and speak in ways consistent with Catholic teaching, the policy document says. This includes Catholic teaching that “the human person is a unity of both body and soul and that, body and soul, each person is created in God’s image.”
“Our bodies, created male and female, are part of God’s intentional design in creation and are, therefore, imbued with meaning and purpose,” the policy explains. “As stewards of these gifts, we are called to accept, love, and care for our bodies as they were created.”
Similar to policies in other Catholic dioceses
The Cleveland Diocese policy is similar to policies of other Catholic dioceses, such as the Archdiocese of Omaha, the Diocese of Sioux Falls in South Dakota, and the Archdiocese of Denver.
In June 2019, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education issued a document on gender theory and identity “Male and Female He Created Them.” The document discussed Catholic responses to gender theory, which it criticized as “cultural and ideological revolution.” The congregation said that the aim of the Church at the institutional and individual level must be the education of children in line with authentic principles that defend and instill authentic human dignity.
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