NOTRE DAME, Indiana (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, has condemned the new transgender admissions policy of Saint Mary’s College. According to the new policy, biological males who “identify” as female will now be admitted as students at the all-female school in South Bend beginning in the fall of 2024.
In a letter published Nov. 27, the bishop said Saint Mary’s new policy departs from and contradicts Catholic teaching on the nature of woman and human sexuality. He urged the college to reject the falsehoods of transgender ideology and to correct their policy to maintain their Catholic identity.
“One of the four essential characteristics of a Catholic college or university is ‘fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church’ (Ex corde Ecclesiae 13),” the bishop wrote. “This institutional fidelity includes ‘a recognition of and adherence to the teaching authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals’ (Ex corde Ecclesiae 27). In this new admissions policy, Saint Mary’s departs from fundamental Catholic teaching on the nature of woman and thus compromises its very identity as a Catholic woman’s college.”
Condemning the acceptance of an ideology based on a false dualism that “separates body and soul,” and that untethers “sexual identity” from the reality of one’s biological sex, Bishop Rhoades wrote, “To call itself a ‘women’s college’ and to admit male students who ‘consistently live and identify as women’ suggests that the college affirms an ideology of gender that separates sex from gender and claims that sexual identity is based on the subjective experience of the individual. This ideology is at odds with Catholic teaching.”
Rhoades continued, “The Church has always rejected a dualistic anthropology that separates body and soul, and which consigns sexual identity to one’s individual self-declaration. The new admissions policy at Saint Mary’s College erroneously suggests that ‘woman’ is a purely social category that anyone, regardless of sex, can inhabit.”
The bishop also took to task Saint Mary’s president Katie Conboy for adopting the erroneous position that sex is “assigned” at birth. Rhoades pointed out the obvious biological fact that a child’s sex is “discovered, not assigned,” and this “long before birth.”
He also emphasized that it is Catholic teaching that sexual difference and one’s own sex are determined by God Himself as Creator.
The bishop wrote, “The letter from the president also erroneously speaks of ‘sex assigned at birth,’ a common expression that conveys the philosophical understanding that sex is not an innate and recognizable aspect of our embodied nature, but an arbitrary category that can be changed. A person’s sex can normally be ascertained long before birth. The sex of a person is discovered, not assigned. It is God who creates human beings as male or female. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: ‘By creating the human being man and woman, God gives personal dignity equally to the one and the other. Each of them, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his/her sexual identity’ (#2393).”
The bishop called on Saint Mary’s to adhere to Catholic teaching on the matter. “To be true to its Catholic identity and mission, every Catholic institution has the duty to uphold the truth of the Gospel and to accompany with love all who struggle to accept and live the Church’s teachings,” Rhoades declared. “This includes the truth about the human person created by God with a sexual identity, embodied as male or female, with a unity of body and soul.”
Cautioning against a false notion of charity that would accept the lies of transgender ideology, Rhoades warned that “solidarity in love does not mean affirming an understanding of sexual identity that is not true. It does mean affirming every person’s dignity as a human person created in the image and likeness of God and as a brother or sister in the family of the Church or in the human family.”
The bishop concluded by pointing out the essential problem is not a question of hospitality but the acceptance or rejection of Catholic teaching. “The desire of Saint Mary’s College to show hospitality to people who identify as transgender is not the problem. The problem is a Catholic woman’s college embracing a definition of woman that is not Catholic,” he wrote.
He then called on the college administration to reverse its policy to bring it in line with Catholic teaching, declaring, “I urge the Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s College to correct its admissions policy in fidelity to the Catholic identity and mission it is charged to protect and to reject ideologies of gender that contradict the authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the human person, sex and gender.”
Saint Mary’s students have voiced strong objection to the new policy, which would force women to share dorms, locker rooms, and bathrooms with biological men, giving rise to the real danger of sexual assault and rape.
“Saint Mary’s College is no longer Catholic,” Claire Bettag, a Saint Mary’s junior, told the Signal. “It is no longer a women’s institution. This is fraudulent misrepresentation at best. Every student should be entitled to a refund for fraudulent misrepresentation. An attorney should file a class action lawsuit against the college. They have abandoned their faith, and they’ve abandoned the women. No woman should be forced to share a bathroom or living quarters with a man.”