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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – A United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) memo has suggested bishops consider DNA tests and medical examinations for admittance to seminary and religious life after multiple women identifying themselves as men were admitted to seminaries and houses of formation. 

The memo, issued by Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, head of the USCCB Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance on September 22, states that the committee was recently “made aware of instances where it had been discovered that a woman living under a transgender identity had been unknowingly admitted to the seminary or to a house of formation of an institute of consecrated life.” It is not specified whether or not the seminaries and houses of formation were in the United States or elsewhere, nor is it specified how often such incidents occurred. 

The memo mentions an instance in which “sacramental records had been fraudulently obtained to reflect [the individual’s] new identity.” In all instances, however, “nothing in these individuals’ medical or psychological reports had signaled past treatments or pertinent surgeries.” None of the women identifying themselves as men had as yet attempted Holy Orders. 

Listecki, a doctor of Canon Law, stated that “canon law requires the diocesan bishop to admit to the major seminary and promote to Holy Orders only men who possess the requisite physical and psychological qualities” needed for ministry. He went on to point out that bishops can canonically “require various means to establish moral certitude in this regard.” Listecki also stated that some members of the Committee have suggested “that a bishop should consider requiring a DNA test, or at a minimum, certification from a medical expert of the bishop’s own choosing, to assure an applicant is male.” 

Rocco Palmo, a blogger for Whispers in the Loggia, broke the story on Twitter. In a Tweet dated September 22, Palmo said that Listecki had told the bishops of “unspecified ‘instances’ (plural) of born-female transmen ‘unknowingly admitted to seminary or religious life.’” 

The Tweet was initially met with rage and incredulity, with some suggesting that the suggestions made by the Committee resounded of medieval practices used to check candidates for the priesthood.  

While Catholic baptismal certificates do not specify the biological sex of the baptized, some Protestant churches have invited people identifying as transgender to re-affirm the promises made at baptism with their chosen name, reflecting a trend in mainline Protestantism. The Catholic Church, however, has maintained its traditional teaching that biological sex is an absolute, with Pope Francis condemning gender theory on several occasions, in one instance calling it demonic. 

LifeSiteNews reached out to the USCCB for comment but has yet to receive a response.