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‘I must reject’: Another Alberta bishop strongly denounces ‘gender ideology’ school guidelines

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ST. PAUL, Alberta, January 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- Bishop Paul Terrio from the Diocese of St. Paul, Alberta, has added his voice to that of Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary in coming out strongly against the new guidelines issued by the province’s NDP government last week for implementing mandatory "transgender" policies in all schools across the province, including Catholic ones. 

While Bishop Terrio said that “safe and supportive schools are essential for all students,” the NDP’s document will be of no real help to anyone since it “directly collides with and contradicts the Biblical understanding of human nature as well as our common life experience.”

Bishop Terrio took issue with the document’s foundational premise that stated, “Self-identification is the sole measure of an individual's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

“In ordinary day-to-day experience,” he wrote, “biology cannot be separated from culture and the separation of biological and social gender is a basic error and weakness of ‘gender theory.’ But for the Bible, and therefore for Catholicism and many others, femininity and masculinity are not exchangeable roles, but rather they are gifts and callings from the Creator.”

“To mandate that ‘self-identification is the sole measure of an individual's sexual orientation’ and in fact, by totally excluding biological fact, contradicts our common day-to-day life experience and also repudiates the goodness of Creation,” he wrote. 

“I therefore, as a Catholic Bishop in Alberta, must reject the ‘Guidelines for Best Practices': for reasons of both faith and common sense,” he wrote. 

READ: ‘Totalitarian’: Alberta gvmt forces schools – including Catholic – to accept students’ ‘gender identity’

The NDP guidelines make it clear that "transgendered" students will only be made to feel safe, equal, and included once they are allowed to enter the bathrooms, change rooms, shower rooms, sports teams of their choosing. 

The Rebel’s Ezra Levant said the guidelines amounted to a “radical theory that there is no such thing as gender.”

“They're destroying every schoolgirl's privacy, ignoring any family or community concepts of morality, and risking the safety of every girl in the province,” he said. 

Last week Calgary Catholic Bishop Fred Henry, liaison on education issues for the Alberta Bishops, condemned the guidelines as “totalitarian” and “anti-Catholic.”

“It saddens me to say but totalitarianism is alive and well in Alberta,” he said in a pastoral letter. 

Bishop Henry defended Catholic teaching on the nature of the human person as male and female as “rather simple and direct.”

“God created beings as male and female. In doing so, he gave equal dignity to both man and woman. In his plan, men and women should respect and accept their sexual identity. God created both the body and sex as good. Hence, we do not approach sexuality with fear or with hostility to the flesh. It is a gift of God by which men and women participate in his saving plan and respond to his call to grow in holiness,” he said. 

Bishop Terrio in his pastoral letter noted Pope Francis’ own criticism of “gender theory” as an “expression of frustration and resignation, which seeks to cancel out sexual differences” and that the “removal of difference between the sexes, in fact creates a problem, not a solution.”

He also quoted Pope Benedict XVI’s criticism of “gender theory” as a “profound falsehood” that attacks the truth that people “have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being.”

READ: Alberta’s Catholic schools face ‘watershed moment’ as trustees defy the bishops on gender policies: priest

Bishop Terrio said that the NDP’s guidelines have no place in Catholic schools where children are educated from a faith perspective. 

“Therefore, again, as a Catholic Bishop and as someone who has pastoral responsibility for children in Catholic Schools, I must reject the ‘Guidelines for Best Practices:’ I do this so that the Biblical image of our human nature in its entire radiance and depth can orient and guide the children and youth of our Catholic schools,” he wrote. 

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