Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity – Canon Law

F. Canon Law

Fr. Urbano Navarrete, S.J. , “Transsexuality and the Canonical Order” Periodica de re Canonica, Vol. 86 (1997), pp. 101-124, Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana. – an (awkward) English translation of the original Latin text of the article which later became the basis for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 2000 sub secretum instruction on transsexualism which was originally sent to papal nuncios, and then in 2002 to presidents of bishops’ conferences to provide guidance on specific canonical and pastoral issues; does not address intersex individuals, i.e., those with abnormally developed reproductive organs and/or genetic makeup; seems to consider “sex-change” operations morally acceptable in certain extreme cases if a medical probability exists that they will “cure” the patient’s internal turmoil; addresses the consequences of transsexualism for marriage, holy orders and religious life; concludes with the caution that with such extraordinary cases, judicial norms cannot be applied, and the search for solutions on a case by case basis must respect the good of the patient, the community and the Church.

John Norton, “Vatican says ‘sex-change’ operation does not change person’s gender,” Catholic News Service, September 19, 2011. – lists key points from the CDF’s 2000 “secret” document on transsexualism (in fluent English!); quotes passages from Fr. Navarrete including his precise canonical definition of transsexualism as “a psychic disorder of those whose genetic make-up and physical characteristics are unambiguously of one sex but who feel that they belong to the opposite sex.”

A Catholic Answers Forums thread. (January 2009) – Pasted into text document for readability. see #’s 1 – 12 between Zoe and Ruthie, and #’s 18 – 21 between Zoe and Gretta1 – An extraordinary discussion between a scientist who happens to be a “severely intersexed” woman who was able to father a son, and a canon lawyer who explains Fr. Navarette’s position on transgenderism.

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