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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.  

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As governments across the globe seek to mandate abortion-tainted Covid-19 “vaccines” on millions of people against their will, medical autonomy continues to diminish worldwide, setting a dangerous precedent for future generations. 

In response, during this Season of Advent, we have an important petition sponsored by Deacon Nick Donnelly of England, which makes the case that reception of the COVID vaccines currently available in the Western World is “morally illicit” for virtually all, if not every individual, in ordinary circumstances. 

The Bethlehem Declaration” has already been initially endorsed by four Catholic prelates, including Bishops Marian Eleganti, Rene Henry Gracida, Athanasius Schneider, and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, along with ten priests and many scholars, activists and journalists from the United States, Europe, and Australia.

It also provides a compelling presentation, rich with hyperlinked resources documenting that not only are these injections morally illicit, but ineffective, unsafe, and unnecessary.  

Calling mandates for reception of these chemicals “acts of violence” and “criminal,” the document also encourages those facing these difficult situations to exercise the virtue of prudence to the best of their ability while providing plenty of information to assist them in doing so. 

Deacon Donnelly said this manifesto received its name since the Church is presently contemplating the “baby Jesus who manifests the sanctity of life of all babies, created in the image and likeness of God.”  

“Bethlehem is also associated with the massacre of the Holy Innocents by King Herod,” he said. “This petition gives us the opportunity to protest on behalf of these silenced victims of the pharmaceutical industry” who have been exploited and used for the development and testing of COVID-19 vaccines. 

Another signatory, child advocate Elizabeth Yore, called the Bethlehem Declaration “an outstanding document” which serves as “the definitive response to the globalist tyrannical health Madness.”  Encouraging everyone to read it, she said, this petition “must resonate strongly amidst the noisy covid clatter.” 

“I so love the gravitas of this grace-filled and divinely inspired document,” Yore said. 

The Bethlehem Declaration concludes with the following appeal expressing the intention of this petition: 

We therefore respectfully appeal to the Holy Father, the CDF, all Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, lay faithful, and all people of good will to vehemently oppose the reception of these morally tainted, dangerous, and ineffective products, along with the gravely unjust mandates for their reception being imposed upon millions of students and workers across the Christian West. 


The Bethlehem Declaration:  
Challenging the moral liceity of the abortion-tainted experimental injections for COVID-19 and calling for universal opposition to ‘vaccine mandates’ 

 'For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man’ (GS 22). 


Whereas the Second Vatican Council rightly summarized the horror of abortion classifying it as an “abominable crime” which also encompasses a “supreme dishonour to the Creator” (GS 51 § 3; 27);  

Whereas St. John Paul II taught all must oppose such deliberate “murder” of the most vulnerable with “maximum of determination” (EV, 58; CL, 38); 

Whereas, the sanctity of pre-born babies, created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:27), is gravely violated by their utilitarian exploitation and commodification; thereby furthering the descent of the human race into “a civilization of ‘things’ and not of ‘persons’, a civilization in which persons are used in the same way as things are used” (St. John Paul II, GS, 13);  

Whereas all of the experimental COVID-19 gene-based vaccines currently available in the Western world, are abortion-tainted having been tested or developed through the abuse of stolen fetal cells from the bodies of murdered pre-born children… 



**Photo Credit:  Mike Baumeister on Unsplash

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“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



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