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Patricia’s Bible Quote of the Day, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015

September 20, 2015

I think after the events of last week, it is helpful to hear what the New Testament would say about my motion on transgender policy at our Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 Board meeting.

In discussing the church’s teaching on gender identity, Catholic clergy often will quote Genesis1:27:  “So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them”. This passage then becomes a means by which the clergy substantiate discrimination against transgender members of our society.

But what does the New Testament say?  Galatians 3:28-29 “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”

So the question of the day that goes with my bible passage of the day is:  why do clergy insist on quoting the Old Testament instead of the New Testament when it refers to transgender issues?

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5 Comments
  1. Fr. Stefano Penna permalink

    Perhaps clergy refer to the text because it comes from the mouth of Jesus Christ who is the New Testament itself:

    “But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,[b] 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

    Just speculating.

    • The Bible seems to say two things — God made them male and female yet in Christ there is no male or female. My point is that in using the Bible to substantiate our positions there is a temptation to “cherry pick” as we cherry pick the churches teachings to do the same. I am throwing my support behind the Pope when he says that “Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.” (from Fr. Spadaro`s interview with Pope Francis in America Magazine) I also throw my support behind theologian Walter Kasper who says that the essence of the Gospel is mercy and therefore we need to show one another mercy. My whole position on this issue of allowing transgender students to use the bathroom they identify with is to offer them mercy. You may judge me on this as the wrong position to take but I am following my conscience which has been informed by the Gospel of Mercy. I believe that the Pope would say that you are not to interfere spiritually with me nor transgender people who have determined according to their conscience which way to proceed in life. We are free people but what I find you and some of the clergy in Edmonton attempting to do, is control others with your idea of what is right. I don’t think Pope Francis would agree with your approach.

  2. Harold Neth permalink

    People often conflate Old Testament and New Testament to support their opinions and biases.

  3. Stefano Penna permalink

    I think you might want to check with what Pope Francis actually has said about this issue … without “cherry picking” his words.

    From the National Catholic Reporter (hardly a “clerical” publication)

    Pope Francis has strongly criticized modern theories that consider people’s gender identities to exist along a spectrum, saying such theories do not “recognize the order of creation.”
    Speaking of gender theory in an interview in a new book released in Italy, the pope even compares such theories to genetic manipulation and nuclear weapons.

    Gender theory is a broad term for an academic school of thought that considers how people learn to identify themselves sexually and how they may become typed into certain roles based on societal expectations.

    Asked in the book about how important it is for Christians to recover a sense of safeguarding of creation and sustainable growth, the pope first speaks of the duty of all people to respect and care for the environment.

    But he then says that every historical period has “Herods” that “destroy, that plot designs of death, that disfigure the face of man and woman, destroying creation.”

    “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings,” he continues. “Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”

    “With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator,” the pope says. “The true custody of creation does not have anything to do with the ideologies that consider man like an accident, like a problem to eliminate.”

    “God has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth,” Francis says. “The design of the Creator is written in nature.”

    So – Pope Francis has made himself extraordinarily clear on this subject.

    And so … ?

    • No one is suggesting that the church change its teachings on gender identity and expression, not even the mother of the transgender child in question. My position on this issue has always been the pastoral approach. This is what our Pope has been preaching since his election. I read many comments by the Pope at the public board meeting which suggests this approach (for my complete speaking notes on this subject scroll down to my blog post on my motion on the gender identity and expression policy). Pope Francis says in his interview with Fr. Spadaro: “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you…A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person…In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation.” All I am suggesting is that the school board consider our transgender students, staff and families in their situation first. Let us love them as they are right now and maybe one day we can talk to them about our rules. In the end though it will be up to them whether to accept the church’s rules on gender identity and expression. Pope Francis also speaks about freedom of conscience which is a church teaching (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1776-1802). During his return flight from Rio de Janeiro Pope Francis stated that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, “I am no one to judge”. “Religion” he went on to say, “has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.” So our Pope would agree that our Catholic schools like our church are to teach Catholic doctrine but in the end our students, staff and families whom God in creation has set free, will have to choose for themselves — according to their conscience–how to live their lives. Freedom of conscience too is church teaching.

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