Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois issued a pastoral guide last month regarding diocesan policies on gender identity, expounding on existing policy that schools and other diocesan institutions will recognize students and adults by the biological sex with which they were born.
In the guide, Paprocki noted the need to approach the issue with compassion and sensitivity, while also adhering to Church teaching and the truth.
“Gender dysphoria is a real psychological condition, in which a biological male or female believes he or she is the opposite gender,” Paprocki noted.
“It is of paramount importance to handle such situations with gentle and compassionate pastoral skill and concern. All forms of discrimination and harsh treatment must be strongly resisted and corrected,” he said.
Families face great difficulties when they have a child experiencing gender dysphoria, Paprocki said, and he encouraged parents to help their child through their confusion without reinforcing the confusion and making their child think their problem will be “solved” with surgical or hormonal interventions.
“Such treatments, especially for children, are invasive and disruptive physically, chemically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually,” Paprocki said. “Fueling the confusion that families face in these circumstances is not merciful. For the sake of the family and the loved one, it is imperative to be clear on the reality of human biology as a gift from God that we cannot change.”
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