Nuns rebel against anti-trans stance of Catholic leadership

Nuns rebel against anti-trans stance of Catholic leadership

A large coalition of Catholic nuns has issued a public letter supporting transgender, nonbinary and gender-expansive individuals – and "implicitly rebuking recent statements from the U.S. Catholic hierarchy," the Religious News Service reported Saturday.

The letter was issued by a wide range of Catholic communities representing more than 6,000 religious orders across 18 states, RNS reported.

As members of the body of Christ, we cannot be whole without the full inclusion of transgender, nonbinary and gender-expansive individuals,” the letter reads.

It goes on to argue that "we will remain oppressors until we — as vowed Catholic religious — acknowledge the existence of LGBTQ+ people in our own congregations. We seek to cultivate a faith community where all, especially our transgender, nonbinary and gender-expansive siblings, experience a deep belonging."

The letter had been in the works since a wave of bills targeting trans people swept across state legislatures, one of its authors –Sister Barbara Battista, congregation justice promoter for the Sisters of Providence, St. Mary-of-the-Woods – told RNS.

But she added that release of the letter was "jump-started" by an anti-trans statement by Catholic Church leaders.

"The nuns' effort comes in the wake of a doctrinal statement published earlier this month by a committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which discouraged Catholic health care groups from performing various gender-affirming medical procedures, arguing doing so does not respect the "intrinsic unity of body and soul," RNS reported.

The nuns were explicit about their disagreement with legislators and church leadership. Battista noted that many of the bills working their way through state legislatures revolve around the health care needs of trans people, an issue that hits home for her as a licensed physician’s assistant in Indiana.

"She described her work as 'participating in the healing ministry of Jesus,' rooted, she said, in a 'sacred trust' between patients and providers." But Catholic leaders and government officials, she argued, have tried to "insert themselves into the private, very personal and intimate conversations and decisions made between the health care provider."

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