Sunday, February 1, 2009

WHO A PERSON IS - Intersex - Magisterium


Dear Father Kurylowicz,

Human rights will be denied on the basis of acquired religious prejudice, innate fears and sexual aversions and/or superstitions etc., as long as the focus of debate remains fixed upon how a person responds to sex signaling, (including sexual orientation), as opposed to focusing on WHO A PERSON IS, all by themselves, with appreciation of their own unique dignity and worth as a human being, even sans any sexual attractions, repulsions, sexual relationships or lack thereof. 

Our problem with the Church is one example. I am 60 years old, and a long-time chaste and celibate Catholic hermit (under private vows), who has no desire for sex with anyone. I am not 'oriented' for sex toward anyone, but I DO HAVE A STRONG MALE GENDER IDENTITY. This gender identity is about WHO I AM, or at least WHO and HOW I perceive myself to be, and feel within my inmost being...which may or may not include how I spontaneously relate to my GOD, myself, Other Beings, my own body and the world. 

However despite whatever devotion and aptitude for the consecrated religious life of service that I might have, because my body is INTERSEXED, I cannot be accepted by any Catholic order, male or female. This is because the Church's presently mal-educated simplistic binary-sex focus is on speculation about what my sexual orientation might be, rather than on WHO I AM actually as an unique person, loved by GOD. 

In the ancient Church obviously intersex children, who were usually abandoned at birth, were often raised by religious orders, and became religious celibates. This religious devotion of intersex children has been true in many cultures, with intersex persons becoming healers, shamans, priests and priestesses or nuns etc.

But now, because of the tragic homosexual pedophilia abuses in the Church, homophobia is dominating the pastoral and medical ethics focus of the Church, and so it has changed everything. There is no longer any place for a person like me in any religious order, and in fact as an intersex person, I am treated as an unmentionable. In today's Catholic Church the existence of a person like myself is treated like a scandal, because the mal-educated and still superstitious members of the Magisterium are acting like atypical humans are some kind of demon spawn. 

Intersex and transgendered persons, and even 'masculine' women and 'effeminate' men, all suspected of homosexual orientation, have been denied entrance into the religious life, or even cruelly cast-out of their orders or priesthood due to this homophobia. In each case the precious PERSON was not considered, because their individuality was not the focus. Instead their imagined sexual object-orientation was the controlling interest of their character Judges in the Church. 

Putting an idolatrous fixation with genes or perfect genital anatomy, or suspicions about a person's sexual 'orientation' before consideration of their actual spiritual gifts and character is impersonal. Such impersonalism is the very antithesis of the profound personalism Jesus Christ's Love demands of us ! 

After repeated encounters with such soul-killing impersonalism (committed In The Name of Jesus Christ!), I gave up finding any religious order that would take me decades ago, and took private vows.

As a researchist, I later tried to provide information on intersex in vertebral species, and atypical sex differentiation in humans, to the largest Catholic medical ethics organization in the USA. Seeking to foster some Catholic bio-ethics contact with intersex human rights activists in the USA, I put one of the Catholic bio-ethics organizations in contact with a physician leader of the ISNA. I then ran up against two immovable objections. One was an apparent Magisterium taboo against discussing the rather common reality of intersex humans at all, and the other was strangely that the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) was dominated by some kind of seeming pathological feminist agenda driving its so-called advocacy for intersex people. 

I learned that the ISNA ultimately was using intersex people in the service of their own feminist careers and medical politics. The feminist physician leader of the ISNA purposely sabotaged my efforts with the Catholic medical ethics organization, so that was the end of it. No rational communication on these issues can move forward when the dialogue is either prevented or hijacked by people with selfish radical, fear-mongering and hate-filled agendas. 

Since then, the Church seems to have continued to ignore the common, pervasive and non-pathological reality of intersex in countless species. Intersex is a positive part of creation, providing many important functions within species, between species and in balancing entire ecosystems. The base line of intersex in many species is usually stabile until there is some degradation of habitat or other threat, at which time intersex may increase as a natural population control.

However the Magisterium is now identifying feminizing intersex as a global threat, related to environmental estrogens. Previously a rise in intersex, transgendered people or feminine males has even been blamed as the cause of the collapse of civilizations. Fundamentalists today even say this. But the fact is that there is an increase in atypical people in response to the collapse of civilizations! Degradation of the environment with all of its related biological stresses will cause a rise from the normal base line population of atypically sex-differentiated persons. 

To demonize a whole class of people who are part of God's (or Nature's) answer to the problem, NOT ITS CAUSE, is profoundly backward. It is a continuation of the superstitious thought process that identifies atypical humans with being accursed or somehow the creation of the devil, not GOD. Primitive societies that murder their atypical offspring out of fear and loathing suffer from the same kind of ignorance. 

Education is absolutely the key to change. People of humility and goodwill CAN LEARN and DO CHANGE, when presented with the information that they need to realize something that they did not grasp before. 

Humans do not come in only two models. Childhood play preferences and adult responses to sex signaling (our 'sexual orientation' is about these innate responses) are just as much part of our biological make-up as our genetics, bio-chemistry and gross anatomy. But somewhere in all of our subtle and gross physicality, is our precious PERSONHOOD. For most people (but not all) this includes an immutable sense of self that is for many inseparable from their gender identity. 

As long as the Church or any religious or governmental etc. institution having social power over people, denies their very right to their own PERSONHOOD (male, female, or intersex), including their gender identity (or absence thereof), such institution will be guilty of violation of the most essential of all human rights, the right to BE. 

Before we act, we are. The Church fearing action (same-sex physical intimacy, and especially pedophilia) now violates the essential right to BE of countless devoted souls, who are innocent of any acts, or even intentions to act, which may violate the traditional Catholic vows of religious life. 

When the Leaders of the Church become educated enough to understand the pervasive and positive reality of intersex throughout nature and in humanity, they will have to readjust their entire superstitious and idolatrous view of human sexuality, and start treating people as unique and precious individuals, instead of treating them impersonally as either ideal or defective males and females.

David / Bhakti Ananda Goswami second letter

To learn more about Intersex:
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a non-profit organisation incorporated
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To learn more about Intersex:
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1 comment:

Fr. Marty Kurylowicz said...

D/BAG asked me to post his comment.

David / Bhakti Ananda Goswami said...

Dear Fr. Kurylowicz and Friends,

Here is the website of OII, our Organization Intersex International.

We are inclusive and welcome transgendered and transsexual persons, and anyone else, to collaborate with us in our mission to educate everyone about human sex differentiation. This education is what is necessary to establish a scientific reality-based global standard for universal human rights.

Godhead's Love for the Finite Person in Judeo-Catholic 'Bridal' and Love Mysticism

The Person is infinitely more than the sum of their physical parts, and our bodies are themselves infinitely complex. However in spite of our metaphysical and physical complexity, in Catholic theology the core revelation of Godhead to us, and for us, is extremely simple. GOD IS LOVE. This God has created us out of love, to love and to be loved. To our God-Who-Is-Love, each of us is precious and lovable, JUST AS WE ARE. We are His beloved 'OTHER', the object of His love. We infinite number of finite beings are actually attractive to God, drawing-out the endless and infinite expressions of His love, which create and maintain the infinite number of spiritual and material worlds. And when we misbehave with our minute independence and get fouled-up in the knotty consequences of abusing our own free will, He comes to untangle us. He continuously and personally comes to us and for us, joining us in all of the hells of our own making, just to save us from the ultimate spiritual consequence of our sin, which is loveless SEPARATION FROM GOD AND OTHERS!

Sexism is Specifically Rejected in the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Is this Ultimate Source and Transcendent Saving Godhead a Being who would reject whole classes of people because they were not physically typical males or females? What a ridiculous proposition! Sexism cannot be reconciled with authentic Catholic Christian theology.

The New Testament declares that: 'In Christ there is no Greek or Jew' . NO RACISM. 'In Christ...there is no slave or free'. NO CLASSISM. ' In Christ...there is no MALE OR FEMALE.' NO SEXISM.

What part of this is not perfectly clear? In 'The World' these divisive distinctions are certainly there, but Christians are called to be 'in the world, but not OF the World'. God's love In Christ should empower us to transcend all divisive 'worldliness', rising above all impersonal prejudices to know and love one another as the uniquely lovable individuals that we truly are. In Christ's divine love, we should experiance that same holy attraction for each other, that attracts God Himself to us!

The universally redeeming Love of God in Christ is the Gospel 'Good News' of the Catholic Apostolic Christian Revelation. It is the primary mission of the Church to deliver this Good News, and to LIVE THIS LOVE FOR HUMANITY. How is the Church's mission, both Its message and ministry of Christ's Love, served by racism, classism and sexism? Today's Catholic Communion is a great global force of opposition to racism and classism. But sadly the Church is still crippled by the sexism of various cultures, now abetted by newer versions of the old post-Victorian era pseudo-sciences of sex. Every area of the Church's ministry, from the work of dogmatic and moral theologians, to the welfare workers in the streets, is impacted by this problem. There is a profound discordance between the universal-saving-grace inclusiveness of the Gospel Message, and the exclusiveness of the Church's recent practices, which all but demonize any and all humans percieved as 'other' than somehow ideally male or female.

The LBGT&Q communities each have their own issues with the Church, but the question of how the Church acknowledges or ignores, accepts or rejects intersexed (including naturally "sex-reversed") people, is actually the one question that is at the very heart of its dogmatic theology of the universal salvation offered to humanity through Jesus Christ. By focusing on the question of same-sex behavior / acts as an issue of moral theology, the Church is avoiding the more profound question of what it is to BE A SAVE-able HUMAN, in dogmatic theology.

The Irreducible and Unavoidable Question

The question is at its essence about WHO or WHAT IT IS TO BE HUMAN, and therefore to have a claim to human rights, both in the mundane order of humankind and in the divine order of Godhead.

In India they say that if you have a million rupees, all of your ten rupee problems are solved. All of the related ten rupee behavioral problems in Catholic moral theology will be solved when the erroneous simplistic 19th Century pseudo-scientific view of human sexual differentiation is corrected.

In dogmatic theology, the question of what it means to be human is essential to the Church's doctrine of salvation. If God made only males or females (or males and females), then who has created intersex people, and are they still human and save-able through the once-and-all-sufficient self-sacrifice of God as Jesus Christ?

Are intersex people entirely fit as humans to recieve the Sacraments or to take Holy Orders? If intersex people are not deemed fit, and do not share in the religious rights of all other Catholics to worship and serve Jesus in His Church, why not ?

There is the challange. This is the real battle. Are the intersexed, including naturally sex-reversed people, fully human and loved by God? If naturally sex-reversed XY women exist, some of whom can even naturally concieve and bear normal children, what is the implication for other XY women? If naturally sex-reversed XX men exist, if countless millions of complex Human Wonders of atypical sex differentiation exist, what is the implication of their existence for LBGT and Q people? The information war of liberation, which finally frees intersexed and sex-reversed humanity from its prison of shamed silence and societal denial, will also begin the liberation of the rest of humanity from the cruel and impersonal oppression of every other form of sexism. We do not need to find a 'gay gene' or a region of the brain to blame for 'Gender Identity Disorder'. We do not need to understand the minutia of genetics or the psychology of Freud or Jung to simply acknowledge that there are millions of physically sexually atypical humans alive today, who present a countless number of 'intersex' variations...too many to ever be cataloged or understood.

This is the million rupee truth about the human condition, which puts an end to all of the little ten rupee lies about our simplistic sexual dimorphism. The logical side-effect of successfully meeting this challange to educate Catholic leaders about the reality of human intersex, will be a profound impact on almost every other sex and gender issue facing the Church, in the realms of moral and dogmatic theology today. Most important is the task of reaching the Magisterium with this truth about our wonderfully diverse humanity, this truth that can set us free, and also free the Church from the sexism that oppresses it now.