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(Lepanto Institute) — On March 20, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a 14-page doctrinal statement on the “Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body,” offering guidance for Catholic healthcare institutions. In it, the bishops reaffirmed that “gender-transition” interventions are not to be performed as they do not respect God’s creation and that each person is unified in body and soul.

A fundamental tenet of the Christian faith is that there is an order in the natural world that was designed by its Creator and that this created order is good (Gen 1:31; Ps 19:1ff.). The Church has always affirmed the essential goodness of the natural order and called on us to respect it.

The statement prohibits “manipulating” or mutilating bodies, especially those of children and adolescents, supposedly to change their gender:

Catholic health care services must not perform interventions, whether surgical or chemical, that aims to transform the sexual characteristics of a human body into those of the opposite sex or take part in the development of such procedures.

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The bishops go on to explain that:

There are only two scenarios recognized by the Church’s moral tradition in which technological interventions on the human body may be morally justified: 1) when such interventions aim to repair a defect in the body; and 2) when the sacrifice of a part of the body is necessary for the welfare of the whole body.

They continue that it is gravely immoral to apply surgical or chemical techniques that aim to change:

The sex characteristics of a patient’s body for those of the opposite sex or for simulations thereof. In the case of children, the exchange of sex characteristics is prepared by the administration of chemical puberty blockers, which arrest the natural course of puberty and prevent the development of some sex characteristics in the first place.

The bishops state that they wrote the document to provide moral criteria for Catholic healthcare institutions for discerning which medical interventions promote the authentic good of the human person and which are injurious to the true flourishing of the human person. The bishops added that they developed the statement in consultation with medical ethicists, physicians, psychologists, and moral theologians.

This, of course, is a welcome statement from the bishops, and one that should eliminate any arguments to support these harmful surgeries; however, the statement itself does pose a dilemma for the USCCB.

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This past November, the Lepanto Institute published a highly detailed report on organizations receiving funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the official anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops.

Despite repeated claims that the CCHD “never” funds organizations that promote grave moral evils, like abortion, contraception, etc., the Lepanto Institute’s report demonstrates that 66 out of 214 CCHD-funded organizations were doing just that.

Included in the report are a number of CCHD-funded groups that directly promote transgender ideologies, not only in direct opposition to CCHD grant guidelines but now also in direct opposition to the USCCB’s new document on transgender surgeries.

Just Economics

Most concerning are the CCHD grant-funded organizations that promote transgender surgeries and ideologies for children, such as Just Economics of Western North Carolina.

Since 2018, the organization, which employs pro-abortion, LGBT, and Marxist staff members received a $50,000 grant from the CCHD for 2020–2021.

C/O: Lepanto Institute


At a 2015 “LGBT in the South Conference,” Just Economics’ sponsorship of this conference enabled several workshops aimed at children that seek to groom them in homosexual and transgender beliefs including:

  • Trans Inclusion in Schools
  • Ethically Engaging Youth in LGBTQ Activism in the South
  • Fighting for Equality in K-12 Schools
  • LGBT* Youth Resiliency in the South.
C/O: Lepanto Institute

Furthermore, Just Economics’ executive director Vicki Meath was found directly and publicly promoting transgenderism.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

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St. Paul Youth Services

St. Paul Youth Services (SPYS) received its first grant from the CCHD in 2020–2021 for $50,000. The organizations based in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis indicate their efforts surround civil rights and racism. On the surface, the organization is a youth program designed to keep children in school and out of prison, but it is also very active in promoting homosexuality and transgenderism to these same children.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

In 2017, SPYS created a video on the use of preferred pronouns for self-identified “transgender” kids.  The video is a clear propaganda piece intended to generate acceptance of sexually deviant behavior. This is the original link to the video, but we’ve uploaded the video to YouTube, in case the link here disappears.

The organization’s webpage welcomes LGBT youth, and openly supports this gravely immoral lifestyle on its Twitter account. For example on June 28, 2016, SPYS posted on Twitter “Love and support for LGBTQ+ youth at #TCPride!”

Austin Interfaith

Since 2007, Austin Interfaith (AI) has received a staggering $515,000 in CCHD grant funds, and most recently $60,000 in 2020–2021.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

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While AI’s issue area supposedly surrounds economic justice, the organization focuses much of its efforts on LGBT issues, including the support of transgender surgeries for children.

In March 2022, the group posted an article on its Twitter account supporting “gender-affirming care” for minors, which includes puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

That this kind of promotion from Austin Interfaith is taking place is bad enough, but the reason for it lies entirely with its leader, Doug Greco.

Greco has been the lead organizer for Austin Interfaith since 2018 and is an open advocate for homosexual and transgender ideologies.  For instance, Greco’s Facebook page is littered with “likes” for LGBT organizations and groups.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

On April 29, 2021, Greco publicly opposed TX House Bill 1399, which would have banned doctors from performing genital mutilation surgeries (i.e., “transgender surgeries”), transgender hormone “therapy” and prescribing puberty blockers for gender-confused Texas children. In a public statement before the House Committee on Public Health, Greco said:

In opposition of HB 1399: This bill interferes with the decisions best made between doctors, parents, and their children. The state should not play the role of medical provider here.

Community Organizing and Family Issues

Since 2007, the Diocese of Belleville Community Organizing and Family Issues organization (COFI) has received a whopping $215,000 in grant funds from the CCHD, which includes $50,000 awarded in 2020.

COFI is a member of Dignity in Schools, an organization that actively promotes LGBT indoctrination of children, safe spaces for self-described transgender students, clubs rooted in homosexual and transgender ideologies, LGBT propaganda, and curricula that includes LGBT ideologies.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

Two of the members of the Coordinating Committee for Dignity also serve with COFI and are responsible for policy, public action, and direction of the campaign as well as promoting LGBT rights in its core mission.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

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Additionally, members of Dignity in Schools must sign the Principles of Unity, which include promoting gender identity and sexual orientation topics as well as calling for withholding information from parents on the moral and mental well-being of their children while forcing children to share locker rooms and bathrooms with the opposite sex.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

In 2018, Dignity in Schools produced a toolkit for “School Communities on the Every Student Succeeds Act” and COFI is identified as a contributor.

C/O: Lepanto Institute

Page six of this toolkit specifically pushes LGBT ideologies, saying “We must push for schools that promote equity for all students, including low-income students, students of color, English learners, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities.”

C/O: Lepanto Institute

This was just a small sampling that represents at minimum 59 other CCHD-funded organizations that promote pro-homosexual ideologies.

In their moral document, the bishops state that “Particular care should be taken to protect children and adolescents, who are still maturing and who are not capable of providing informed consent.” Yet, their lack of action contrasts their words as they annually grant money to the very organizations that are morally reprehensible to Catholic teaching on abortion, birth control, LGBT issues, gender reassignment, puberty blockers, and hormonal treatment.

The document quotes Pope Francis as saying young people in particular need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created, for:

[T]hinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation… An appreciation of our body as male or female is also necessary for our own self-awareness in an encounter with others different from ourselves. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment.

If not supported with action, the USCCB’s words in this document are vapid. The CCHD must defund each of the organizations supported through the donations of hard-working Catholics.

Additionally, the bishops must issue directives to the CCHD which establish the Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body as a criterion for any organization seeking a grant from the CCHD and scrutinize the organizations annually to be certain the funds are not being used for immoral and anti-Catholic purposes.

Reprinted with permission from the Lepanto Institute.