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DAVENPORT, Iowa (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic diocesan newspaper has been promoting transgenderism in the Church.  

The Catholic Messenger, the newspaper for the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, displayed the sexual transformation of a St. Petersburg, Florida deacon’s son in the second of a series of articles seeking to illustrate “A Pastoral Approach to Gender.” 

The Catholic Church teaches that God intentionally made humanity as a unity of two sexes, man and woman, and recognizes gender dysphoria—the personal confusion about or distaste for one’s own God-given biology—as a type of mental illness or temptation to sin that can afflict the faithful. 

The diocesan newspaper’s first installment on handling transgenderism claims “Church teaching does not specifically address transgenderism.” The series follows Davenport Bishop Thomas Zinkula’s establishment of a committee to study ways “how the church can best accompany and minister to transgender persons.”  

In its most recent piece, published in December, the newspaper provided readers with a parental story of “accompaniment.” However, the approach is problematic and favorable to the normalization of transgenderism while neglecting the Church’s perennial teaching, as succinctly expressed by St. Augustine, to “love the sinner, but hate the sin” and hold others accountable.  

“She [sic] was representing as a male and acting as a male, but that was not who she [sic] really was,” said Deacon Ray Devers, introducing his son’s struggles.  

His son, referred to only as “Lexi” in the article, began showing signs of an identity crisis in high school and college, leading to flirtations with suicide and several actual attempts. At Georgetown University, which has a “resource center” for advocacy and support of the LGBT lifestyle, Devers found acceptance from other students identifying as transgender, stating that it steered him away from suicide.   

“[It] is a life-or-death issue for so many of these kids,” Deacon Ray told the newspaper.

“They know they need to come out to live authentically, but they are afraid that if they do, they will lose their families, their friends, all that they have known. They are afraid of rejection by families.” 

The article leaves to the imagination the specific contours of “Lexi’s” early childhood and education and leads the reader to wonder how accepted Devers felt growing up as a child and what may have occasioned those feelings. The article avoids relating how and precisely when “Lexi’s” gender confusion first began.  

In a 2017 critique of transgenderism and its root causes, exorcist and author Father Chad Ripperger stated that one’s education and formation play a central role in living out one’s God-given identity as male or female. Gender confusion can occur when the mind starts habitually to embrace untruths.  

“The natural law inclinations can be eclipsed by sin, that is, habitually we choose things contrary to the truth…and as a result of that it can start to change our patterns or habits of judgment, and so we start thinking of things contrary to it,” Ripperger explained.  

Without this correct understanding of the human person, an individual seeking guidance about gender dysphoria can easily be misled. In “Lexi’s” case, he received therapy and counseling for gender dysphoria after his first year at Georgetown. The result was that he and his parents were led to believe that “Lexi” should alter his identity from male to female.  

“We had been dealing with mental health issues, but it started to come out over a period of time that her gender identity crisis was the underlying cause,” said the deacon.      

When gender dysphoria is encountered, successful parental intervention to save one’s child from the affliction is possible. Accountability, rather than acceptance of the problem in the name of compassion, is a key factor in recovery. 

Deacon Devers stated that he and the boy’s mother admittedly struggled with his decision to seek a sex change but did not dissuade him from obtaining one. He cited his formation in the diaconate as having provided him with some of the principles that led him to accept his son’s lifestyle.  

“There is more to human beings and human sexuality than is incorporated into that Christian anthropology we believe in,” he told the Catholic Messsenger 

“It’s good, but it needs to grow. It isn’t just male and female he created them. They [transgender people] are God’s creation, too.” 

“People think it’s a choice, but in reality, God made them the way they are,” his wife Laurie concluded.  

Currently, “Lexi” fears he does not have long to live because he believes the average lifespan of a person who identifies as transgender is only 31. He is no longer practicing his Catholic faith because he feels unwelcome.  

To respectfully make known your concerns, please contact: 

Most Reverend Thomas Zinkula 

Bishop of Davenport  



Most Reverend Gregory L. Parkes

Bishop of St. Petersburg

c/o Kelly Bui, Executive Secretary to the Bishop