Sunday, October 07, 2018

God, Sex and Gender

(Twenty-seventh Sunday of the Year (B): This homily was given on October 7, 2018 at St. Pius X Church, Westerly, R.I., by Fr. Raymond Suriani.  Read Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 128:1-6; Hebrews 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-16.)

[For the audio version of this homily, click here: Twenty-seventh Sunday 2018]

One of the early Christian hermits of Egypt once said, “The time will come when people will be insane, and when they see someone who is not insane they will attack that person saying: You are insane, because you are not like us.”

The hermit who made that statement, a man known as Abba Anthony, said those words way back in the 4th or 5th century.  But I wonder—did he say them because God gave him a vision of life in the 21st century?

I think that’s a very good possibility, since we are definitely living in a time of cultural insanity!  And nowhere is that more evident than in the current controversies concerning sex and gender.  In today’s gospel reading Jesus says, “From the beginning God made them male and female.”  Sex according to Jesus—and the word of God—and good science—is binary.  Two X chromosomes make you female; one X and one Y chromosome make you male.  And yes, there are cases of people being born with birth defects that affect their genitalia and cause confusion, but these are medical disorders that are, thankfully, rare.

Well, needless to say, a lot has changed in recent years.  Now we are told by certain “experts” that when we classify human persons we should no longer make reference to the 2 sexes (male and female); rather, we should use the category of “gender”—which they consider to be a broader and much more “fluid” concept.  This basically means that, to those who believe and teach this stuff, your gender is whatever you say it is.  Objective reality doesn’t matter anymore. 

Neither does science.

In one article I read last week the author claimed there are at least 63 possible genders that a person can identify with.  I kid you not.  Here are a few examples: there’s the “masculine bisexual woman”; there’s the “masculine male-attracted hermaphromale”; there’s the “feminine homosexual andromale”; and, my personal favorite, the “androgine female-attracted hermaphrofemale".

This, my brothers and sisters, is insanity!  It’s pure, unadulterated lunacy.  But it’s lunacy that’s fast becoming mainstream.  Which means that your children and your children’s children will pay the price for it.  In fact, some young people already have paid a heavy price. They’ve being taught this garbage in school, and because they’ve believed it they’ve been led to make bad decisions—decisions that will have a negative impact on them for the rest of their lives.  And they’ve made these bad decisions, in most cases, with the support of medical doctors and psychologists.

I wrote about this in one of my editorials last week in the Rhode Island Catholic.  (That’s one of the things they’ve asked me to do in my “retirement”.  Every three weeks I write the two editorials for our diocesan newspaper.)  What prompted this editorial was an important policy statement that was recently issued by one of the largest associations of pediatricians in this country.  Consequently it’s a policy that will directly affect hundreds of doctors—and tens of thousands of children.

[Before I read this I want to publicly thank Dr. Michelle Cretella.  I had her proofread the editorial to make sure the medical information and statistics were accurate.]  So here it is …
 Two weeks ago the American Academy of Pediatrics published a policy statement in which it urged parents to accept the gender identity their children prefer, and to disregard their children’s actual biological sex.  This is just the latest step in the advance of “gender ideology”—something Pope Francis has condemned quite frequently in recent years.  Gender ideology maintains that everyone has something called a “gender identity” that does not always match his or her biological sex. Anyone experiencing this inner conflict (known as “gender dysphoria”) should be supported in “transitioning” from male to female, or vice versa.In children, this transition involves the use of puberty-blocking drugs (which are not FDA approved for this use) and cross-sex hormones.  Together these drugs often cause permanent sterility and increase the risk for many serious illnesses.  Youth may then opt for irreversible, mutilating surgical procedures to remove healthy body parts, such as double mastectomies at age 13 or genital surgeries at age 18.That’s a pretty big price for a confused young person to pay for a psychological disorder which, with some care and counseling, would eventually resolve itself in the vast majority of cases.  According to the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, as many as 98% of boys and up to 88% of girls with gender dysphoria come to accept their biological sex by late adolescence.
We must help wounded children heal and accept the biological truth about themselves.  We shouldn’t be treating them as pawns in a trendy social-engineering experiment by giving them unnecessary and dangerous drugs and surgeries.The leaders of the
American Academy of Pediatrics who published this statement should already know this—which should lead them to revise their policy.

I could have added “and reverse the insanity.”

When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about divorce, our Lord gave them a history lesson.  He took them back in time.  But not just to the time of Moses; that wasn’t far enough.   To clarify the Father’s will concerning divorce, Jesus took the Pharisees back to the beginning—to the beginning of human history; to God’s original plan for men and women. 

That’s what we need to do with respect to issues related to sex and gender—at least when we’re dialoguing with believers.

“From the beginning God made them male and female.” 

Accepting that clear and simple truth, and living our lives accordingly, is one of the best things we can possibly do for ourselves, for our society—and especially for our children.

Many people will say we’re crazy, that’s true.  But remember this: If everyone is running toward the edge of a cliff—a cliff with a 200 foot drop—and you’re the only one running in the opposite direction away from the danger, YOU look like the crazy one.

But you’re not!