Worcester Bishop Directs Catholic Schools To Reject Transgender Identity This School Year

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2023/08/18/worcester-bishop-directs-catholic-schools-to-reject-transgender-identity-this-school-year/

Catholic schools in central Massachusetts will be expected to reject transgender identity and homosexuality this upcoming school year.

The Diocese of Worcester issued new policies regarding sexuality and transgender identity this week. Bishop Robert McManus, the bishop of Worcester, approved the plan in late June.

Under the policy, Catholic schools must not affirm transgender identity in any way, and expressing same-sex attractions in school will not be allowed.

All 21 schools run by the Diocese of Worcester are expected to comply with the new policies, which they must incorporate into their student handbooks.

“While some schools had policies in place, others did not. Individual situations were arising which underscored a need for a single policy which clearly states Church teaching and provides consistent application of that teaching across all our schools,” David Perda, superintendent of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Worcester, said in a press release issued by the diocese.

Here is how the diocese sums up the policy in a written statement:


  • Bullying, harassment, or threats or acts of violence against any student based on that student’s perceived sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, will not be tolerated.
  • For purposes of the school environment, chastity also encompasses modesty in language, appearance, dress, and behavior.   
  • Students may not advocate, celebrate, or express same-sex attraction in such a way as to cause confusion or distraction in the context of Catholic school classes, activities, or events.
  • All students are expected to conduct themselves at school in a manner consistent with their biological sex.  School practice shall consider the gender of all students as being consistent with their biological sex, including, but not limited to, the following: participation in school athletics; school-sponsored dances; dress and uniform policies; the use of changing facilities, showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms (with rare exceptions only on a limited, case-by-case basis, to be determined by the principal of the school); titles, names, and pronouns; and official school documents. 
  • Diplomas, transcripts, school records, and any other official documents of the school (“official school documents”) shall be issued in conformity with the student’s biological sex as based upon physical differences at birth and at the time of the student’s enrollment. 


The diocese says the policy is rooted in Catholic doctrine.

The diocese cites canon 795 of the Catholic Church’s canon law, which states:  “children and youth are to be nurtured in such a way that they are able to develop their physical, moral, and intellectual talents harmoniously, acquire a more perfect sense of responsibility and right use of freedom, and are formed to participate actively in social life.”

It also cites the views of sex and gender professed by Pope Francis.

Here is what that part of the diocese’s written statement says:


The policy points out that “Pope Francis has repeatedly stressed the importance of a proper understanding of our sexuality, warning of the challenge posed by ‘the various forms of an ideology of gender that denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences’ (Amoris Laetitia (“AL”), #56).  Pope Francis further notes that ‘biological sex and the sociocultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated,’ and that although we must always be ‘understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life,’ that does not require us to ‘accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality’ (Ibid).  … The Holy Father then stresses that ‘the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created,’ so that ‘we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator’ (AL, #285).

It continued, “As Pope Francis notes, we must always respect the sacred dignity of each individual person, but that does not mean the Church must accept the confused notions of secular gender ideology.” 


Catholic Action League of Massachusetts executive  director C. J. Doyle praised the bishop for his decision, saying in a written statement:

Catholic schools were built by and for the Catholic community, whose children have a right to an authentically Catholic education.

Catholic parents should enjoy the reasonable expectation that Catholic schools will provide a genuine alternative to the secular values and practices — often inimical to Christian morality and parental rights — which prevail in the government-controlled public school system.

Finally, the Catholic faithful should have the right to hear the truth of the Church’s teachings, without their beliefs being reprobated or their religious leaders being demonized by secular society.

Catholics should regard the opprobrium and the ad hominem attacks which will now be visited upon Bishop McManus as testimony to his loyalty and to his integrity.


In June 2022, Bishop McManus yanked the Catholic affiliation of the Nativity School of Worcester for refusing to stop flying a rainbow flag and a Black Lives Matter flag, which McManus said contradict Catholic teaching.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Worcester could not be reached for comment on Thursday or Friday.


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