CLEVELAND (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland late last month formally banned participation in radical LGBT ideology for all of its elementary and high schools, prohibiting “pride” flags, preferred pronouns, participation in social or surgical gender “transitions,” and more.
On Tuesday, Axios reported that the Catholic diocese, which maintains 97 elementary schools and 10 high schools serving some 42,000 students throughout eight counties, had “quietly instituted” the policy, which is intended to concretize the diocese’s stance on LGBT ideology in schools.
“The Church, through divine revelation, has been given the gift of knowing that the human person is a unity of both body and soul and that, body and soul, each person is created in God’s image,” the diocese said in its policy, signed August 30 and implemented September 1. “Our bodies, created male and female, are part of God’s intentional design in creation and are, therefore, imbued with meaning and purpose.”
“As stewards of these gifts, we are called to accept, love, and care for our bodies as they were created,” the Cleveland diocese added. “Catholic institutions, therefore, are called to act and speak in ways that are consistent with and affirming of this divinely revealed truth.”
Specifically, the diocese:
- Requires institutions to notify parents if a child is experiencing gender confusion.
- Prohibits the use of “preferred pronouns.”
- Mandates that students, employees, and others use bathrooms and facilities in accordance with their biological sex and only play on appropriate sports teams.
- Requires students, employees, and others to wear clothing “consistent with their God-given biological sex.”
- Bans celebration of sexual orientation contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
- Prohibits students, employees, and others from engaging in attempted social, chemical, or surgical gender “transitioning.”
- Bans institutions from altering school records to suggest that a person’s sex is different from his God-given biological identity.
The new policy, which took effect September 1 and applies to all “employees, personnel, volunteers, students, and youth participating in parish or institutional faith formation,” expresses sympathy with those struggling with “gender dysphoria or confusion or same-sex attraction” but states that a view which claims that “gender” can be an identity separate from one’s God-given body “erases those intentional, embodied distinctions between men and women” and is “contrary to the divinely revealed reality of our true, God-given human nature.”
Those who “openly express disagreement with Church teaching on matters of sex, sexuality, and /or gender in an inappropriate or scandalous way, or who act in ways contrary to the teachings of the Church,” the policy states, “may be subject to restrictions on his or her participation in the life of the institution or, in appropriate cases, to disciplinary action, both for that person’s own good and/or the good of others.”
Caveats to the guidance includes permission to use single-stall bathrooms “at the sole discretion of the institution’s leadership,” pastoral accommodation to utilize a nickname to refer to a gender-confused person so long as the nickname doesn’t “obscure or contradict the person’s God-given biological sex … promote the idea that one’s gender is different than one’s God-given biological sex, or … cause scandal,” and an allowance to attend parish or school dances without a partner or with same-sex platonic friend(s).
There is also a potential exception whereby girls may be allowed to play on the same team with boys, though the policy document does not explain why or in what context this would be allowed to occur.
The policy was signed by Chancellor Vincent Gardiner and Bishop Edward Malesic, who previously issued a decree to establish a diocesan shrine dedicated to offering the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in accordance with the requirements of Traditionis Custodes.
The diocese’s decision has been met with outrage by proponents of LGBT ideology, including Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb.
In a September 12 post on Twitter/X, Bibb argued that “faith is about universal love and acceptance” and accused the Catholic diocese of “forc[ing] LGBTQ+ kids to hide their authentic selves and attend schools in fear of persecution for who they are.”
However, as the diocese made clear in its statement, the policy actually affirms children as being “who they are” by reinforcing the unalterable truth that they are created by God to be either male or female and that they are intrinsically a “unity of both body and soul.”
In its Tuesday report, Axios pointed out that the move by the diocese follows a bevy of recent laws pushing back against LGBT ideology nationwide.
Recent wins for conservatives in this arena, as LifeSiteNews has reported, include laws requiring schools to notify families of a child’s gender confusion, mandating institutions to pull sexually explicit and pro-LGBT curricula and materials from classrooms and school libraries, enforcing protections for girls’ sports and spaces, and banning sexualized performances targeting children.