Recently, the United States Catholic Bishops have banned certain procedures related to gender reassignment operations. The bishops determined that having these procedures done go against the will of God and that no one is born with the wrong body as they are created in the image of God.
The bishops have spoken out against surgical and chemical procedures which seek to change the sex characteristics of one’s body to match that of the opposite sex. They state that while modern technology has led to many significant advancements in the field of healthcare, however, moral judgment must be used when utilizing its full range of capabilities.
The bishops ultimately argue, “Catholic health care services must not perform interventions, whether surgical or chemical, that aims to transform the sexual characteristics of a human body into those of the opposite sex or take part in the development of such procedures>.”
They open the doctrine with, “Modern technology offers an ever-increasing range of means—chemical, surgical, genetic—for intervening in the functioning of the human body, as well as for modifying its appearance. These technological developments have provided the ability to cure many human maladies and promise to cure many more. This has been a great boon to humanity. Modern technology, however, produces possibilities not only for helpful interventions, but also for interventions that are injurious to the true flourishing of the human person. Careful moral discernment is needed to determine which possibilities should be realized and which should not, in order to promote the good of the human person. To do this discernment, it is necessary to employ criteria that respect the created order inscribed in our human nature.”
The conclusion of the doctrine states, “As the boundaries of what is technologically possible continue to expand, it is imperative to identify moral criteria to guide our use of technology. As the range of what we can do expands, we must ask what we should or should not do. An indispensable criterion in making such determinations is the fundamental order of the created world. Our use of technology must respect that order.”
It continues, “To be sure, many people are sincerely looking for ways to respond to real problems and real suffering. Certain approaches that do not respect the fundamental order appear to offer solutions. To rely on such approaches for solutions, however, is a mistake. An approach that does not respect the fundamental order will never truly solve the problem in view; in the end, it will only create further problems. The Hippocratic tradition in medicine calls upon all healthcare providers first and foremost to “do no harm.” Any technological intervention that does not accord with the fundamental order of the human person as a unity of body and soul, including the sexual difference inscribed in the body, ultimately does not help but, rather, harms the human person. Particular care should be taken to protect children and adolescents, who are still maturing and who are not capable of providing informed consent.”
The doctrine concludes, “Catholic health care services are called to provide a model of promoting the authentic good of the human person. To fulfill this duty, all who collaborate in Catholic health care ministry must make every effort, using all appropriate means at their disposal, to provide the best medical care, as well as Christ’s compassionate accompaniment, to all patients, no matter who they may be or from what condition they may be suffering. The mission of Catholic health care services is nothing less than to carry on the healing ministry of Jesus, to provide healing at every level, physical, mental, and spiritual.3
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