Milwaukee Archdiocese Provides Gender Theory Policy Based on Biological Sex

“Our biological sex, expressed by our body, is a gift from God and is unchangeable,” the document says.

The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee.
The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee. (photo: Credit: / Sulfur via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0))

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee this week put forth a policy related to gender theory, which includes the provision that only pronouns corresponding to a person’s biological sex are to be used in parishes, schools, and other Catholic institutions or organizations.

The policy states that “As a general rule, in all interactions and policies, parishes, organizations, and institutions are to recognize only a person’s biological sex,” which it defines as “the sex with which a person is born, regardless of acceptance or perceived identity.”

“Permitting the designation of a preferred pronoun, while often intended as an act of charity, instead promotes an acceptance of the separability of biological sex and ‘gender’ and thus opposes the truth of our sexual unity,” it said.

In the Catechesis section of the policy, the archdiocese lays out the Catholic Church’s teaching on the topic of gender. Humans are created by God as inseparable composites of body and soul, and “Our biological sex, expressed by our body, is a gift from God and is unchangeable,” the document says. 

“A person’s ‘gender’ is inseparable from biological sex,” it also notes. “While biological sex and ‘gender’—or the socio-cultural role of sex as well as ‘psychological identity’—can be distinguished, they can never be separated. Should someone experience a tension between biological sex and ‘gender,’ they should know that this interior conflict is not sinful in itself but rather reflects ‘the broader disharmony caused by original sin’ and often results from the residue of social ills and cultural distortions of what constitutes ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity.’”

The document notes that people experiencing “interior conflict” between their biological sex and their psychological identity “should be treated with respect and with charity, and ‘no one should suffer bullying, violence, insults, or unjust discrimination’ based on such experiences.”

"Only by turning to Christ can one acknowledge and accept one’s sexual identity in every aspect—
physical, moral, social, and spiritual — and only through such an acceptance can the human person in
turn experience the freedom promised by Christ," the archdiocese stated.

“Parishes, schools, and other Catholic institutions or organizations should take the necessary precautions, in accord with the policies of this document, to avoid bullying and to protect the integrity of those who may express tension or concerns about their biological sex,” the document reads. 

The policy forbids the use or distribution of any medications for the purpose of gender reassignment.

The policy also says that where a dress code or uniform exists, all persons are to follow the dress code or uniform that accords with their biological sex. It also notes that bathrooms and locker rooms are to be used in accordance with biological sex, and that participation in athletic and extracurricular activities “must be conformed with the biological sex of the participant.”

The Milwaukee document cites Pope Francis writing in "Laudato Si’": “Learning to accept our body, to care for it, and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology…It is not a healthy attitude which would seek ‘to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.’”

Milwaukee is one of several U.S. dioceses in recent years to issue guidance related to gender theory based on the Congregation for Catholic Education's 2019 document “Male and Female He Created Them,” which says that the Church teaches an essential difference between men and women, ordered in the natural law and essential to the family and human flourishing.

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