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Archbishop Paul S. Coakley addressing the Assembly of Catholic Professionals in November 2019.YouTube screenshot

NAPA, California (LifeSiteNews) – At a meeting of Catholic lawyers, businessmen, and CEOs, conservative-leaning Archbishop Paul Coakley warned against the “plague of relativism” and the “eclipse of truth” sweeping every aspect of American life and denounced the transgender movement as “well-intentioned madness.” 

The Oklahoma City archbishop, who was elected secretary of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference last month, delivered his comments at the November 30 meeting the Monsignor Herron Dinner – of the California-based Napa Institute, a group of Catholic businessmen foundedto serve as a leaven in educating, forming and networking Catholics” in response to the growing secularization of American culture and the increased rejection of the Christian roots of the nation. The archbishop’s address was titled “Transgenderism and the eclipse of truth. 

We see the plague of relativism in nearly every aspect of life, Archbishop Coakley said. In politics, we speak of alternative facts, in education this emphasis on equally valid perspectives, and sadly sometimes even in the church with its push to change her moral teaching, especially her sexual ethic. There is no starker proof that we live in a culture where experience and a desire eclipse the truth than the transgender movement. 

Coakley noted the progressive steps leading to the current wave of LGBT propaganda, beginning with the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the prevailing acceptance and practice of contraception, the legalization of abortion in the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision — now overturned by Dobbs v. Jackson — and the increasing acceptance of homosexuality and “same-sex marriage”. These cultural and moral landmarks in American society, Coakley argued, laid the groundwork for the LGBT agenda sweeping the nation today. 

“The pill gave the illusion of completely untethering sex from reproduction, fueling the fiction that sexual desire could be pursued with cost or without consequences,” resulting in the acceleration of the “rapid breakdown of the family” and the establishment of abortion as a constitutional right in case contraception failed, Coakley said. 

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality as a category of mental illness,” the archbishop noted, drawing a connection between homosexuality and the moral relativism that underlies transgender ideology. Support for homosexuality severed the connection between sexual activity and the inherent difference between men’s and women’s bodies, turning sexual orientation into an individual’s choice based solely on desire,” he said. 

He continued:

Gender is now determined simply by how one feels and how one identifies. In order to avoid being labeled transphobic, these feelings must be accepted as the true indicators of gender and these feelings must be supported even to the point of inalterable ‘gender affirmation’ surgeries. … ‘Nonbinary identities’ have mushroomed, and their spread has gone mainstream. This transgender ideology, this transgender philosophy, is based on a false and defective and totally inadequate anthropology.

Denouncing the insanity into which the transgender movement has descended, Coakley declared “the trans movement is doing great damage to society.” Opposition to the practice of “conversion therapy” — which seeks to assist men and women in the acceptance of their natural, biological sex — the archbishop condemned as “well-intentioned madness. 

Coakley also defended parental rights and the integrity of women’s sports. He castigated those who “marginalize parents in order to protect their children’s so-called gender rights and denounced “the injustice of men identifying as women in sports. 

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The archbishop warned that, due to measures of the Biden administration and the agenda of the liberal left, the Church now faces growing legal threats to the charitable works in which She is engaged.New threats to the Church’s good works are due to the intolerance of some extremists within the political left and their marriage to the most radical forms of social movements.” 

Coakley noted that the Biden administration has promoted regulations that would force doctors and hospitals to perform ‘gender transition’ procedures and mandate insurance to cover these procedures. 

Calling for an authentically Catholic pastoral response grounded both in charity and in the truth, the archbishop said, “In the face of all these dangers from the trans movement, we are called to love and accompany every person struggling with gender dysphoria, especially because they are typically in immense pain.” But, he warned, “If the devil can confuse society about sex and gender, he obscures our understanding of God’s plan for humanity at its very roots. 


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