LONDON, UK – Pro-life campaigners have drawn attention to a draft document produced by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales that appears to advise Catholics to assist ‘transgender’ people through the process of ‘gender reassignment.’
The document, Applying Equality Law in Practice: Guidance for Catholics and Catholic Organisations, contains the following guidance: “Transsexual people face many difficulties before, during and after transitioning to another gender. As such it is recommended to seek guidance on how to make the transitional process as easy as possible. This could include training for co-workers, as well as reference to medical and social advice.”
A spokesperson for the bishops’ conference told LifeSiteNews the consultation on the document is complete but the draft has yet to receive final approval.
Matthew McCusker of the UK based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children told LifeSiteNews, “Catholics are being recommended to assist another person pursue a course of action which will prove physically and psychologically damaging. This statement is alarming because it seems to recommend unacceptable material co-operation in acts which are gravely contrary to the moral law.”
In a response to LifeSiteNews' questions about SPUC’s concerns, the bishops’ spokesperson said “the consultation document is intended to be a practical guide for Catholics to current equality legislation in England and Wales.”
“The document has been sent out for consultation to the official consultative bodies and agencies of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and the consultation has now finished,’ the spokesperson added. “All responses that were received will be considered and a final version of the document will be produced in due course.”
McCusker asserted that advising Catholic employers to offer “medical and social advice” to employees on “gender reassignment” will “put them in the position of essentially providing propaganda for immoral and gravely harmful procedures.”
The bishops’ draft document, which was prepared by the conference’s Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, is intended to offer “informed advice and guidance” to Catholics for use “when a particular issue arises” relating to the application of the Equality Act 2010 and relevant legislation such as the recent law legalizing same-sex “marriage.”
The document asserts that the “framework” of the Equality Act “should be interpreted as entirely in accordance with Catholic teaching.” The Act’s critics point out, however, that it is explicitly designed to outlaw “discrimination” against those who fall under nine “protected characteristics,” including “sexual orientation,” “marriage and civil partnerships,” and “gender reassignment.” In the UK the term ‘marriage’ is now understood to include same-sex couples, and civil partnerships are only open to homosexuals.
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The Equality Act 2010 has already been used to undermine the civil rights of those who uphold the natural moral law. Last year Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who had been fined after refusing to allow two homosexual men to share a bed at their Bed and Breakfast in Cornwall, lost their appeal at the Supreme Court in London.
The bishops’ draft document states that it is “inevitable” that the law will lead to “instances of unjust discrimination.” However, it adds that Catholics “have a fundamental duty to give witness to the Gospel” by “striving to be inclusive” and by “promoting the benefits of the law.”
“It will be of great concern to faithful Catholics,” said SPUC’s McCusker, “that the Bishops’ Conference is identifying the promotion of ‘the benefits’ of a law which, among other things, upholds same-sex ‘marriage’, civil partnerships, and ‘gender reassignment’ with giving witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
SPUC is urging its supporters to consider writing to Archbishop Peter Smith, chairman of the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, to request that the document not be approved in its current form.
SPUC has produced a 16-page analysis of the draft that draws attention to other areas of concern in the document. You can read this here.
The bishops’ draft document can be read here.
Archbishop Peter Smith
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