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Father Jenkins and Transgenders, Fact and Fiction

Uncle-Sam-Wants-Notre-Dame

Father Jenkins’s wavering on transgender “rights” calls into question truths of both science and faith.


NOTRE DAME, IN — As we’ve reported in a previous bulletin, Father Jenkins has said he’s undecided about the demands of transgendered persons to use the showers, dressing rooms, restrooms, and dormitories of the sex that they claim.

He has described “heightened respect for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens” as “a signal moral achievement of our time” — an extraordinary accolade considering that same-sex marriage is the principal “achievement” of the LGBT rights drive and that its ramifications present perhaps the gravest threat to religious liberty of our time.

While Father Jenkins said he is given pause by “those who might be uncomfortable undressing in front of a member of the opposite biological sex,” this would be a feeble reason indeed for standing in the way of another step in LBGT victories that are a “signal moral achievement of our time.”

But in fact, the basis for objecting to these transgender demands is far more compelling. It is rooted in the ontological and theological teachings of the Church, teachings that undergird the Church’s opposition to the transgender agenda, as we pointed out in our prior bulletin.

We now add to the authorities we cited (including Pope Francis) a new statement by prominent religious and lay leaders, including Professor Gerard Bradley of Notre Dame and four bishops who chair key committees of the USCCB, in which they assail laws that are “used by the government in an attempt to compel citizens to sacrifice their deepest convictions on marriage and what it means to be male and female.” (You can add your name here.)

Notre Dame will have to make up its mind. The question whether schools receiving federal funds (as does Notre Dame) are obliged under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act to accede to transgender demands respecting showers, dressing rooms, dormitories and restrooms is now before the Supreme Court. And irrespective of the outcome, the LGBT forces will not relent in pressing the transgender agenda one way or another.

imagesWe devote the balance of this bulletin to a reproduction of a singularly instructive article on the transgender question by, we are pleased to say, a member of the Sycamore Trust board, Katherine Kersten. We reprint it, copyright reserved, with the consent of First Things, where it first appeared. (If you are not a subscriber, examine its web site  and see why you should be.)

A 1973 summa cum laude graduate of Notre Dame, Katherine holds a masters degree from Yale University and a law degree from the University of Minnesota and was the 2003 recipient of   the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s Family Exemplar Award. She  is a senior policy fellow at the Center of the American Experiment in Minneapolis and an author, columnist, and radio and television commentator.

Katherine begins with a vivid account of the devastating impact upon a school community of the adoption of a “gender inclusive” policy in a prominent private K-12 school in St. Paul. She proceeds to an illuminating account of the medical and psychological aspects of gender dysphoria and sex-reassignment treatment. She explains why the evidence shows that the “fundamental claim” behind the transgender movement – “a human being can change his or her sex” – is simply and demonstrably baseless. In the words of a leading medical authority,

Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All … become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they identify.

Katherine describes how, notwithstanding the evidence of serious deleterious effects of sex-reassignment treatment, it is becoming ever more popular at earlier and earlier ages and why that is so – particularly “the breakdown of the family and other social institutions” that has produced a crisis of mental and behavioral health among the young. In this environment, “transgenderism has attained cult status.”

Finally, Katherine considers the phenomenon of the startling success of the LGBT campaign. It is linked, she writes, to the weakening of the Judeo-Christian concepts of God, man, and nature in the face of the post-Christian dismissal of God and insistence upon man as a “free-floating self” that “forges its own ‘identity’ through a creative assertion of will.”

After noting how the federal government has thrown its weight behind the transgender movement – a subject we will consider in a later bulletin in light of the election — Katherine concludes with reasons for hope that “transgender ideology’s disconnect from reality [will] render it unsustainable over time.”

This is, of course, the part we like the best and so will you, so we will not try to summarize it lest we do a disservice.

Click here to proceed to the article.  


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14 Responses to “Father Jenkins and Transgenders, Fact and Fiction”

  1. Michael Coleman January 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    How about posting name and addresses of trustees and start a campaign to let them know Sycamore Trust’s position?
    Are the trustees becoming DC politicians and out of touch?
    In discussions with other Catholic university graduates many feel their institutions are going down the same path as ND.

    • A good question, Michael, and one we consider from time to time. The trustees and their contact information are in fact listed on our website at http://sycamoretrust.org/contact/nd-fellows-and-trustees/ We do write them from time to time in the hope of moving them by presenting some especially noteworthy information and analyses. And we have mounted campaigns on several issues over the years by way of petitions that have gained thousands of alumni and other members o the ND family. However, in general when we have suggested to subscribers that they let the university know their views o a particular issue (or in general), we recommend writing the members of the 12-person board of Fellows, particularly the six CSC members whose names and addresses we regularly display. The Fellows are much more familiar with what’s going on; they hold ultimate authority; and the CSCs are the most responsible for what’s happened. But we will continue to explore ways of influencing the board as well.

      As to other Catholic universities, your friends are quite right. Almost all of the major ones are in worse shape than ND. One of our goals is to promote the establishment of alumni organizations like Sycamore at other schools. If you can do anything to move that along, by all means do so. There should be one at every school and an overarching federation.

  2. Enough of Jenkins Let’s get rid of him and Kelly!!!

  3. If we don’t sign on to the latest fad, we’ll lose the respect of our aspirational peers, and lose points in the annual USN&WR standings. That is our god now at Notre Dame.

  4. What comes to mind with the reading of this excellent, detailed, nuanced article by Kersten is the expressions, “He whom the gods would seek to destroy, they first must drive mad.”
    And it surely is madness to allow, support the aggressive transgender.agenda at the University of Our Lady. Is the motive to destroy the at one time, numero uno, THE, and still to a smaller degree – probably because of past laurels – desired to attend CAtholc University?
    As “a born and bred St. Paulite,” I find it interesting that the once orthodox, “conservative” St. Paul,” with the supposed built in protections that concept connotes, has effected this “trans” experiment.
    Yet, is it really that strange.
    Having left St. Paul many years ago, I always found it surprising that so many Catholic marriages ended in divorce and remarriage after twenty five or more years.
    Did the “progressiveness” of Arbp John J Ireland plant the germ of revolt?
    And what has happened at Novo Academy will surely happen at Notre Dame shoud the proposed “trans” disordered policy be implemented. It cannot not occur.

  5. I don’t want my granddaughter to be forced to share a locker room or shower with a guy who thinks he’s a girl. For saying that I have been called a bigot.

  6. Sycamore Trust is tops in the distribution of truth.
    Chuck Johnson

  7. How is the leader of Notre Dame elected or selected Are there ever recalls and new leaders appointed If there is much acclaim or he realizes he is out of touch would he consider resigning

    • The president is elected by the board of trustees. Father Jenkins was elected to a third five-year term beginning in June, 2015. Any officer of the university can be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the trustees. Any officer can, of course, resign at any time.

  8. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/life-and-family/marriage/pre-marital-sex-lessons-from-reason-scripture/

    By Fr. William Saunders

    “The Catholic Church continues to teach that sexual love between a man and a woman is reserved to marriage. We find this teaching in the creation account of Genesis—Book 1, Chapter 1 of Sacred Scripture: First, God creates man in His own image and likeness, making them male and female (Genesis 1:27). In the next verse, the Bible reads, “God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it’”(Genesis 1:28). Before the man and woman come together as husband and wife, and before they express their love as husband and wife, they are first blessed by God.

    Only in marriage do we find God’s blessing upon the act of sexual love, or what is better termed, marital love. This physical expression of love in marriage is a sacred sign of a husband and wife’s covenant of love and love that they share in union with God. This marital love signifies the vows freely exchanged between each other and thereby reflects the faithful, permanent, exclusive, and self-giving love they have promised to each other and to God. This understanding is evident in Jesus response to the Pharisees’ question regarding divorce: “Have you not read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and declared, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, and the two shall become as one’? Thus they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore let no man separate what God has joined” (Matthew 19:4-6). Thorough the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, God blesses the couple joined in this sacred bond and generously bestows grace so that they may assume the duties of marriage in mutual and lasting fidelity.”

    Love is ordered to the inherent personal and relational Dignity of the persons existing in a relationship of Love, (The Blessed Trinity), which is why a man does not Love his wife, in the same manner as he Loves his daughter, or his son, or his mother, or his father, or a friend. Every beloved son or daughter, from the moment they are created and brought into being at conception, has the inherent Right to be treated with Dignity and respect in private as well as in public.

    Men and women are designed in such a way that it is not possible to engage in same-sex sexual acts without demeaning our inherent Dignity as beloved sons and daughters. The desire to engage in a demeaning act of any nature, does not change the nature of the act. No one should be condoning demeaning sexual acts of any nature including between a man and woman united in marriage as husband and wife.

    Same -sex sexual acts, as well as any sexual act that does not respect the inherent personal and relational Dignity of the human person, demean the Dignity of every human person, who is not, in essence, an object of sexual desire, but a son or daughter, worthy of being treated with Dignity and respect in private as well as in public. The sexual objectification of the human person has led to physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual suffering. It is time to heal those wounds, and learn how to develop healthy and Holy relationships and friendships that are grounded in authentic Love.

    Same sex “marriage” presents the gravest threat to Religious Liberty because
    when we deny the Sanctity of the marital act, which is Life-affirming and Life-sustaining, and can only be consummated between a man and woman, united in marriage as husband and wife, we deny that God, The Ordered Communion of Perfect Love, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, Is The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage. When we deny that God Is The Author of Love, of Life and of Marriage, we deny The Divinity of The Blessed Trinity, and thus we deny Salvational Love, God’s Gift of Grace and Mercy.

    If it were true that “heightened respect for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens” is “a signal moral achievement of our time”
    then it would be clear to all who desire to serve God, and thus The Common Good, that an inclination is not, in essence, a person, and that it is out of Love for all God’s children that we are not afraid to witness to The Truth of Love by making it clear to those men and women who have developed a same-sex sexual attraction that it is because we Love you, and respect your Dignity as a beloved son or daughter, that we cannot condone the engaging in or affirmation of any act, including any sexual act that demeans your inherent Dignity as a beloved son or daughter. The desire to engage in a demeaning act of any nature, does not change the nature of the act. We Love you, and because we Love you, we desire that you will always be treated with, and will always treat others with Dignity and respect in private as well as in public. We will not tolerate the engaging in or condoning of sexual behavior that does not reflect the upmost respect for the human person because we Love you.

  9. Father Jenkins is undecided on many things that is why he is no leader. He must be trying the patience of the one whose image resides on top of the golden dome. LORD help us all.

  10. Excellent article. We are seeing more and more how the ill are trying to seize control of institutions.

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