(LifeSiteNews) – Prominent dissident, heterodox priest Fr. James Martin, SJ appeared to defend giving puberty blockers to children with gender dysphoria and criticize Texas for moving to restrict the experimental practice in a tweet Tuesday.
Martin, editor-at-large for the Jesuit magazine America, tweeted a response to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who declared in a legal opinion this week that “sex change” surgeries and transgender hormone drugs for minors are child abuse under state law. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday directed all state agencies to enforce the opinion.
“These procedures are monstrous and tragic,” Paxton tweeted Monday. “I’ll do everything I can to protect against those who take advantage of and harm young Texans.”
Martin responded to Paxton with a letter from the Texas Pediatric Society that endorsed providing gender-confused minors with puberty-blocking drugs, which top experts have condemned as abusive.
One section of the document quoted by Martin claims that “providing gender affirming care to transgender children and adolescents unequivocally does not constitute child abuse.”
Martin, a favorite of Pope Francis, has for years espoused extreme dissidence on core Catholic teaching. Among other things, the liberal Jesuit advocates for homosexual “marriage,” adoption, and priestly ordinations, and refers to God as female.
In a statement to Fox News, Martin alleged that his tweet Tuesday was not an “endorsement,” but then appeared to suggest that people should undergo devastating transgender procedures based on age.
He told Fox News that “a person’s age is important in deciding what should be done” regarding practices like puberty blockers. “I’m no expert on all this, but few people are, which is why it’s also important to listen to what physicians have to say,” he said.
“Why wouldn’t we want to listen to doctors?”
Renowned Johns Hopkins-trained pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Quentin Van Meter recently told LifeSiteNews that prescribing puberty blockers to gender-confused children should indeed be banned as child abuse. “In the adolescent, there is no data that has ever been gathered over a period of 10, 15, or 20 years,” he said about the drugs. “They are guessing and hoping. This is one large experiment on American children.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has never approved medical treatments for gender dysphoria, and there are no long-term clinical studies on the use of puberty blockers or other “gender transition” practices in minors with gender disorders.
Transgender hormones and surgeries have also been linked to a host of serious and life-threatening side effects, including sterilization, heart attacks, and increased risk of stroke.
In the U.K., an official review last year commissioned by NHS England found that existing studies supporting puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for gender-dysphoric children are all of “very low quality.” Public health authorities in Sweden and Finland have come to similar conclusions. Hormone drugs, a top Swedish hospital has warned, “are potentially fraught with extensive and irreversible adverse consequences such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, infertility, increased cancer risk, and thrombosis.”
“As far as minors are concerned, there are no medical treatment[s] that can be considered evidence-based,” Finnish health officials said in June 2020. “Potential risks of [puberty blockers] include disruption in bone mineralization and as yet unknown effects on the central nervous system.”
Up to 98 percent of boys and 88 percent of girls with gender dysphoria will naturally grow out of the condition by adulthood, according to the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
But studies show that nearly all gender-confused kids put on puberty blockers will later take cross-sex hormones, which sterilize users and typically lead to mutilating transgender surgeries. “Sex change” surgeries have been performed on children as young as 13 years old in the U.S.
The Magisterium of the Catholic Church upholds the biological reality that there are only two genders and that God creates every human being either male or female. “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 sexual identity,” states the authoritative Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco last year slammed “terrible” transgender procedures for children as an affront to the “created order.”