Archbishop backs transgender ban, but says human dignity must prevail

President Donald Trump salutes the ensign and military personnel in Washington Jan. 20. He announced July 26 that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals serving in any capacity in the military. (CNS photo/Mike Segar, Reuters)

by Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services offered support for President Donald Trump’s reinstatement of a ban on transgender people serving in any branch of the military.

In a July 28 statement, the archbishop said that “sexual orientation and gender identity issues reflect a rapidly increasing and incorrect societal attitude that individual behaviors in life should pursue immediate and personal choices rather than eternal truth.”

He said that “personal choices in life, whether regarding the protection of the unborn, the sanctity of marriage and the family or the acceptance of a person’s God-created biology, should be made not solely for a penultimate reality on this earth but in anticipation of the ultimate reality of sharing in the very life of God in heaven.”

While supporting the ban, Archbishop Broglio said that Trump’s emphasis on military readiness and the cost associated with gender reassignment surgeries and therapies as reasons for the ban failed “to address the essence of the issue — the dignity of the human person.”

The statement came two days after Trump announced the ban in three postings on Twitter July 26. It represented a major shift in military policy, reversing a 2016 decision by the Obama administration to lift the ban.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said July 27 the policy of allowing transgender people to serve in the military would continue until rules outlining any change are issued by the White House and guidance is adopted by the Department of Defense.

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect,” Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford said in a July 27 letter to the joint chiefs.

Citing St. John Paul II, Archbishop Broglio said that in upholding human dignity the church offers “maternal care” to each person.

“This care extends from the time an individual is conceived, until natural death, and every point of life in between. It is offered regardless of personal choices or conditions because Christ offers salvation to all people,” the statement said.

The archbishop’s statement explained church teaching that human dignity is rooted in the fact that people are created in the image and likeness of God and that the church “honors human dignity by drawing near in order to accompany people.”

Pope Francis said in October that Catholics who are homosexual, confused about their sexuality or convinced they were born in the wrong body deserve the same attentive pastoral care as anyone else.

“People must be accompanied like Jesus would accompany them,” he said aboard a papal flight from Azerbaijan to Rome. “When a person who has this situation arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, ‘Go away because you are homosexual.’ No.”

Pope Francis, however, also upheld an early comment condemning “indoctrination of gender theory,” the teaching to small children that no matter their biological sex, they can choose their gender.

Copyright ©2017 Catholic News Service / U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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