Students Can Change Gender on University Records Under Proposed Policy at Catholic DePaul
December 1, 2015 | By Kimberly Scharfenberger | Cardinal Newman Society
DePaul University in Chicago recently proposed a policy that would allow students to choose preferred genders and change their names up to three times for use on class rosters and other college records despite the fact that “gender theory” is opposed to Church teaching on human sexuality, and is a danger to society according to Pope Francis.
“Largely, the policy would provide a better option for transgender and transitioning students who do not use their legal names,” The DePaulia reported. “Further, the policy would enable an optional ‘unspecified’ gender option instead of male or female.”
Such a policy would present a conflict for DePaul’s Catholic identity, as Church teaching does not support gender theory and ideology. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. ‘Being man’ or ‘being woman’ is a reality which is good and willed by God … In their ‘being-man’ and ‘being-woman,’ they reflect the Creator’s wisdom and goodness.
Moreover, Pope Francis has commented on the danger that gender ideology presents to young people. “I wonder, for example, if the so-called ‘gender theory’ is not also an expression of a frustration and of a resignation, which aims to cancel the sexual difference because it no longer knows how to address it,” he stated in an April General Audience. “Yes, we risk taking a step backward. The removal of the difference, in fact, is the problem, not the solution.”
Dr. Leroy Huizenga, a moral theologian, also told the Newman Society in an interview that “gender theory” denies nature and reason. “Many people now believe that gender is separate from sex, that sex is a matter of raw biology [and] gender is a matter of fundamental identity rooted in one’s interior self-perception,” he said. “[In] this view, our embodied nature as male or female doesn’t matter. But the Christian view is that the body does matter.”
The Cardinal Newman Society contacted DePaul University to address the policy’s conflict with Church teaching, but no response was received by time of publication.
The DePaulia noted that the University’s LGBTQA student services coordinator, Katy Weseman, “has served as one of the more determined forces in creating this policy.” She reportedly proposed the policy change to the University’s senior director of records and technology in 2012, following the beginning of her employment at DePaul.
“Very much in line with DePaul’s mission, part of honoring a person’s human dignity is honoring and respecting how they identify and how they refer to themselves,” Weseman reportedly said.
“[Y]ou can never solve an injustice with a policy, but this would provide an option that would help a lot of people,” she told the DePaulia.
But The Cardinal Newman Society has spoken to several priests who have warned of the danger in this approach.
Father Paul Check, director of the Courage apostolate, explained in an interview with the Newman Society that Catholic colleges must work at drawing the distinction between “love” and “complete acceptance of modern society’s distorted sexual landscape.”
atholic colleges can work to help young people by focusing on the virtue of chastity which “seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.” Moreover, students have “the right to receive information and an education that respect[s] the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life,” he said.
And in a recent interview with a priest in the Diocese of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada, Father Gregory Roth warned that “embracing these identities can be very troublesome and hurtful for all students, not just those who are dealing with transgender issues.” He noted that “[w]e can and must love the human person, even with all of their sufferings,” but “at the same time we cannot identify with their self-identities.”
The policy will reportedly be presented in early December to a University joint council — consisting of the University president, deans, executives and other administrators — who will make the final decision in approving the policy.