Two single-sex Catholic colleges in Minnesota have decided to admit students based on their chosen “gender identity.”
The College of St. Benedict and Saint John’s University recently updated their “Non-Binary Admission Policy” to permit men who believe they are women to attend St. Benedict’s (the women’s college) and women who believe they are men to attend St. John’s (the men’s university).
The colleges formulated the policy “in recognition of [their] evolving understanding of gender and gender identity.”
“We support every student’s right to self-identification,” the policy reads, adding, “we are dedicated to creating spaces that allow women, men, and those who do not identify within the binary including transgender, non-binary, gender-fluid, and gender-nonconforming individuals to matriculate and thrive.”
Both colleges now admit students based on “the gender and gender identity they present to us without further substantiation.”
John Grabowski, professor of moral theology and ethics at the Catholic University of America, told Catholic News Agency (CNA) that the policy represents “a flawed and problematic anthropology that’s at odds with the Catholic faith itself.”
Indeed, Catholic teaching on the dimorphous nature of human beings is clear. The policy does not align with the Catholic – and Christian – belief that God made human beings as two distinct, complementary sexes: male and female.
Not only is this teaching evident in the first chapter of Genesis (Genesis 1:27), it’s reiterated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Paragraphs 2333 – 2335 of the catechism explain:
Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. …
“In creating men ‘male and female,’ God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity.” “Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God.”
Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way.
In 2019, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education published the document “Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education.”
The document sought to address academia’s “educational crisis” in the area of sexuality which “has undoubtedly helped to destabilize the family.” It states gender theory is founded “on nothing more than a confused concept of freedom” which has created a “cultural and ideological revolution driven by relativism.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Catholic bishops approved a revision of the Ethical and Religious Directives document that guides Catholic health care institutions, stating, “Catholic health care services must not perform interventions, whether surgical or chemical, that aim to transform the sexual characteristics of a human body into those of the opposite sex or take part in the development of such procedures.”
Additionally, Pope Francis has called gender ideology “extremely dangerous” because “it eliminates differences, and that erases humanity.”
Catholic teaching on human sexuality is clear – even if entities like the College of St. Benedict & St. John’s University act otherwise.
As a hierarchal institution, the Catholic Church’s ecclesiastical authority could choose to revoke the colleges’ status as “Catholic” schools, but “it’s up to [the school’s] local bishop to determine if a Catholic institution is meeting the requirements to call itself Catholic,” Grabowski told CNA.
There is a precedent for bishops withdrawing a school’s Catholic identity. Last year, Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts decreed that The Nativity School of Worcester could no longer identify itself as a Catholic school after it refused his command to stop flying rainbow flags in support of “LGBT pride.”
The Daily Citizen reached out to the College of St. Benedict & St. John’s University, as well as to the Diocese of Saint Cloud – where St. Benedict & St. John’s are located – for comment, but we have not yet received a response.
This story shows why parents must be careful and discerning about where they choose to send their kids to college. According to some estimates, 85% of Catholic young adults stop practicing their faith in college; the same is true for 70% of professing Christians.
If you or someone you know is considering their college options, check out our following resources below.
For families and individuals struggling with transgender issues, Focus on the Family offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a counseling consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.
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