Archbishop Broglio reminds bishops about Church teaching on transgenderism

Broglio USCCB president Archbishop Timothy Broglio speaks at the bishops' spring meeting, Thursday, June 13, 2024. | Credit: USCCB

The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference in a speech to his fellow bishops gathered in Louisville, Kentucky, for their spring meeting discoursed on the subject of the incompatibility of “sex change” with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

In his speech to kick off the meeting, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who serves as archbishop for the Archdiocese of the Military Services, USA, and is president of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), reflected on the war in the Holy Land, the migrant crisis, the National Eucharistic Congress, and the persecution of the Church in Nicaragua, among other issues. 

The largest portion of his address, however, was devoted to a catechesis on the subject of the dignity of the body, with the prelate citing Pope Francis’ recent declaration on gender ideology and referring specifically to the issue of “sex change.”

Broglio’s remarks come less than a month after news broke that a woman identifying as a man had attended seminary and was living a religious vocation as a male hermit in Kentucky, with the apparent approval of Bishop John Stowe, who leads the Diocese of Lexington.

In his speech to the bishops, Broglio quoted heavily from Pope Francis and his recent document on gender theory.

“We are grateful for the recent declaration Dignitas Infinita from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. There we read a clear message about many issues that plague our times. In particular, ‘Regarding gender theory, whose scientific coherence is the subject of considerable debate among experts, the Church recalls that human life in all its dimensions, both physical and spiritual, is a gift from God,’” he said.

“‘This gift is to be accepted with gratitude and placed at the service of the good. Desiring a personal self-determination, as gender theory prescribes, apart from this fundamental truth that human life is a gift, amounts to a concession to the age-old temptation to make oneself God, entering into competition with the true God of love revealed to us in the Gospel,’” Broglio quoted from the Vatican document.

Broglio also cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church, saying it “expressly invites us to recognize that ‘the human body shares in the dignity of ‘the image of God.’”

“Such a truth deserves to be remembered, especially when it comes to sex change, for humans are inseparably composed of both body and soul,” Broglio said.

He concluded his discourse quoting from Pope Francis again on the dignity of the human body.

“Teaching about the need to respect the natural order of the human person, Pope Francis affirmed that ‘creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.”

At a press conference at the conclusion of the first day of the meeting, Broglio fielded a question about his speech. 

Asked whether the closed-door sessions during the bishops’ meeting had included any discussions of the transgender hermit in the Diocese of Lexington and possible implications for action by the conference, Broglio said the subject had come up at the “committee levels.”

“There certainly hasn’t been any discussion in the general assembly of the bishops. There is concern that has been expressed at some of the committee levels because of the nature of what hermetic life is in the Church and also the preparation necessary for that,” Broglio said.

“And also it’s just the general honesty that should be a part of that whole process of determining a vocation and responding to that vocation. At this point, that’s basically where the discussion is,” he said.

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