Catholic archbishop suggests ‘exploring options’ to ensure only people assigned male at birth are ordained

Male only are ordained

A US bishops’ conference leader has suggested exploring “various options” to ensure that only people assigned male at birth are ordained to the Catholic priesthood.

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki has alleged that transgender men have been “unknowingly admitted” to diocesan seminaries and houses of formation for religious orders.

Listecki, who serves as the chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, told the nation’s bishops in a Sep 22 memo that they should consider DNA testing and certification from a medical expert chosen by a bishop.

In the memo, Listecki says his committee had been made aware of “instances where it had been discovered that a woman living under a transgendered identity” had been admitted to a seminary or a religious institute’s house of formation.

In one instance, Listecki wrote, an individual’s “sacramental records had been fraudulently obtained to reflect her new identity. In all instances, nothing in these individuals’ medical or psychological reports had signalled past treatments or pertinent surgeries.”

Listecki said that in every known case of a “transgender” candidate, her true sex had been discovered before ordination. He asked bishops to be careful to ensure that candidates for the priesthood are male.

The archbishop’s memo cites the 1983 Code of Canon Law, which requires the diocesan bishop to admit to major seminary and to ordain “only men who possess the requisite physical and psychological qualities.”

“Moreover, a diocesan bishop can require various means to establish moral certitude in this regard,” Listecki also wrote. He added that the committee encouraged him to write to the bishops about those occurrences so that they would “exercise special vigilance” as a new year of seminary formation begins.

While mainline Protestant and non-denominational Christian seminaries have increasingly welcomed transgender students, the Catholic Church has taken an unbending stance on transgender issues.

Pope Francis has often spoken out against what he refers to as “gender ideology”. In 2019, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education released an extensive statement in which it asserted that gender theory seeks to “annihilate the concept of nature.”

A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee referred questions from NCR about the memo to the bishops’ conference. Chieko Noguchi, a spokesman for the conference, declined to comment on Listecki’s memo.


National Catholic Reporter

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