Thursday, 10 June 2010

Catholicism vs The Intersexed

And I'm very sorry to say that it looks as if it's come to that. On one side, objective facts, observations, rationality. On the other, ignorance, superstition, dogma and inconsistency.

From the Jakarta Post:

Church says Alterina’s marriage illegal
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 06/07/2010 9:46 AM | Jakarta

The Indonesian Bishops' Council (KWI) has declared the controversial marriage of transgender Alterina Hofan illegal, kompas.com reported on Monday.

KWI secretary Benny Susetyo said the Catholic Church could not accept the marriage and suggested that Alterina should seek medication rather than changing her sex status.

“The Catholic Church bans marriage between people of the same sex,” Benny said, adding that the KWI deemed Alterina had defied her nature.

Alterina has the rare Klinefelter’s syndrome which gives him an extra X chromosome, making him look more effeminate. After years of operations, he documented himself as a man and even married Jane Hadipoespito.

Benny said the health problem could not justify the change in sex status. “Her DNA and genetics prove she is female, therefore she can be medically cured,” the priest said.

He suggested that the state should regulate the issue of same-sex marriage as it could create more social problems in the future.

Jane’s parents denounced the marriage, filing a lawsuit against Alterina for fraud because he had previously declared he was a woman on his identity card. Alterina is facing a seven-year imprisonment for the alleged fraud.
The Catholic Church has pronounced him Guilty: because he has an extra X chromosome.

My reply:
I'm starting to get a little tired of the superstitious nonsense - sorry, there's no other phrase that fits - emanating from the Catholic church on the issue of Intersex conditions.

In some places, anyone with 47XXY chromosomes is considered by the Church to be male, regardless of the biological facts. Now in Indonesia, they're considered female, again regardless of the biological facts.

Most people with 47XXY chromosomes look male. Some can father children, though that often takes technical help.

A few, a very few, look female. Some have given birth.

I've seen the most monumental claptrap written by Theologians on the subject, very much the equivalent of arguing that the Earth is flat, that it must be so according to Natural Law.

His Holiness the Pope recently made not one, but two addresses, one to the Curia, another to the Vatican Diplomatic Corps, denouncing Intersexed people as "threats to the human ecology" - Vermin by any other name - and calling proposed laws to grant them basic human rights as an "attack". Because their existence contradicts Church metaphysical dogma.

Recently, the American Catholic Bishops opposed such laws in the US, not on any religious or moral grounds, but because they would violate "privacy" and "freedom of association" - the very same words used to justify segregation, apartheid, and treating people without white skin as sub-human.

I fear the Catholic Church is setting itself up for another embarrassing clash with Science, one even worse than the Galileo affair.

This wouldn't be so bad if it was just some obscure theological and academic debate. But they're supporting the persecution of a group that already has quite enough to deal with from their congenital medical issues.
For His Holiness's words on Intersex issues, and those of the American Catholic Bishops, see this previous post.

I wrote considerably more on the issue on the Catholic Answers Forum Catholic News section. On a thread that has since been ... vaporised.

And on another thread, I've been accused of Heresy for saying that Intersex conditions exist.
First . . . within Catholicism and indeed the entire wealth of Judeo/Christian orthodox teachings over the centuries. . . in acceptance and in accordance with . . . Divine Revelation . . . there is absolutely no such state within God's creation of human kind such as . . . "neither male nor female" . . . such a teaching/understanding is a delusion and is a false teaching . . . which in Christendom is considered as "heresy"
As Heretical a belief as Heliocentricism, in fact.

Eppur Si Muove.

18 comments:

Cameron said...

I think you have to be Catholic to be guilty of heresy by their standards, so you should be off the hook! LOL! Oy! Cannot believe the mess that goes on the minute the words sex, gender or orientation hit the boards. Stay on it! Your words are much needed!

Lloyd Flack said...

For all the harm done to the intersexed and for all the harm done in protecing pedophiles, we should remember that the harm done by the Catholic church that affects the largest number of people is its position on artificial contraception. This is a position that I can only describe as sophistry.

jessie-c said...

The Catholic Church is rapidly becoming one of the largest sources of organised evil in the entire world. They have long since squandered any moral superiority they once had and still they dig themselves deeper.

Zoe Brain said...

Cameron - I've been warned off by the moderators.

My views are proscribed. Seriously.

The charge was "Contempt of Catholicism". I pleaded guilty, though felt that I hadn't disrespected it, so hadn't violated the TOS.

But contempt? Perfect word for it.

Zimbel said...

How is their position not a violation of Nostra Aetate

Perhaps they hinge everything on their belief in a perfectly dualistic sex, with a perfect correspondance to gender, such that their actions aren't "persecution" or "discrimination" but something else?

Indeed, the church reproves every form of persecution against whomsoever it may be directed. Remembering, then, its common heritage with the Jews and moved not by any political consideration, but solely by the religious motivation of Christian charity, it deplores all hatreds, persecutions, displays of antisemitism directed against the Jews at any time or from any source.

The church always held and continues to hold that Christ out of infinite love freely underwent suffering and death because of the sins of all, so that all might attain salvation. It is the duty of the church, therefore, in its preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God's universal love and the source of all grace.

5. We cannot truly pray to God the Father of all if we treat any people as other than sisters and brothers, for all are created in God's image. People's relation to God the Father and their relation to other women and men are so dependent on each other that the Scripture says "they who do not love, do not know God" (1 Jn 4:8).

There is no basis therefore, either in theory or in practice for any discrimination between individual and individual, or between people and people arising either from human dignity or from the rights which flow from it.

Therefore, the church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against people or any harassment of them on the basis of their race, color, condition in life or religion. Accordingly, following the footsteps of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, the sacred council earnestly begs the Christian faithful to "conduct themselves well among the Gentiles" (1 Pet 2:12} and if possible, as far as depends on them, to be at peace with all people (see Rom 12:18) and in that way to be true daughters and sons of the Father who is in heaven (see Mt 5:45).

CatherineCC said...

Just shows their true colors. They don't care about the harm they do to IS people. They don't care about the harm they do to trans people, or about the people in sub saharan africa that have been condemned to an early death because of the church's policy on contraceptives or about any of the people who suffer as a result of their actions.

It's a bunch of men in robes destroying lives in order to protect their clearly flawed dogma.

People need to wake up and realize that these fucking savages are doing real damage - and the fact that they hide behind the sometimes compassionate faces of parish priests doesn't make them better, but worse.

Zoe Brain said...

Perhaps they hinge everything on their belief in a perfectly dualistic sex, with a perfect correspondance to gender, such that their actions aren't "persecution" or "discrimination" but something else?

That's exactly what they do, yes.

Oddly enough... I have a lot of sympathy for the CC. I'm sad so much rage is directed against them when most are pretty good.

But they're getting worse, and the things in Vatican II that made them more human are being rolled back. The last 40 years have been a disaster for them, due to the ignorant conservatism at the top.

Lloyd Flack said...

This is where the harm is done by clerical celibacy. It interferes with their moral intuitions in sexual matters. Or as one Italian woman said "He no playa the game he no maka the rules."

The Catholic Church tries to base morality on revelation and on deduction from first principles. They make a valiant attempt and in some areas such as the theory of just war they make consideable contributions. But ultimately they fail.

Most people ultimately base their morality on moral intuitions, their conscience if you will. But this does not give certainty and nost people, rightly I think, regard it as less than an ideal basis. But moral intuitions and deductions from them are what we have. The Catholic Church tries to avoid them. Protestant churhes are ambivalent about them. The Reformation and the Enlightenment were to some extent about listening to moral intuitions. In the Enlightenment moral intuition was used to challenge authority and revelation.

Clerical celibacy leads to clerics not really understanding what sexuality means to other people. They try to make it acceptable by over idealizing it. They claim that it needs the possibility of reproduction to justify it. But it fulfils other needs as well and these are sufficient justification. The Catholic Church's position is ultimately sophistry,

Zoe Brain said...

Or, to put it simply - they're obsessed with sex.

wreckage said...

Scripture is silent on intersex conditions, (and on the earth being at the centre of the solar system!)if we take that to mean, people whose gender isn't clearly defined at a biological level. The division of the universe into clearly defined "male" and "female" spirituality, spirits, and gods/goddesses is a pagan belief - so I'm startled to hear the CC espousing that. (Attention pagans: I am not dissing pagans. Just want to be clear.)

The CC, unfortunately, preaches that sex results from lust and is therefor bad. Presumably when God made Adam and Eve with genitals and sexual reproduction, it was a horrible mistake. The CC goes on to say, nono, reproduction is OK, but attraction to your wife/husband is lust and therefor bad. This is why the CC holds that Eve couldn't have gotten pregnant before the Fall.

Anonymous said...

Don't you just hate getting the boot from a given website because the mods didn't like your dissenting views?

Zoe Brain said...

Their site, their rules. It's why I even let Nicky post anything he likes, as long as he does it in his own name.
Or how would I be better than them?

Lloyd Flack said...

Zoe,
Did they outright ban you or just prohibit you from saying anything that bit? Like say, pointing out a lack of empathy and suggesting that that was evil.

Looking at the thread where you were accused of heresy I noticed that there were two biological fallacies behind it. The obvious one that you and others have pointed out many times is essentialism. This is the idea that there is some defining trait that makes something male or female rather than a pair of clusters with no distinct defining borders and and continuous gradations between them. No biologist would support essentialism.

The other biological fallacy that cropped in that thread was vitalism. They were talking about the vegetative soul which as far as I can tell is the same thing as the life fore. Except, there is no reason to believe that it exists. One can make a case for what Catholic theologians call the rational soul or the sensitive soul. But the vegetative soul explains nothing that is not explained by biological processes and structures. Life is what living things do, not something that is in them. Vitalism is a discredited hypothesis. But it makes a convenient hook for essentialists to hang differences between the sexes on.

Lloyd Flack said...

And to add to the list of fallacies, a reply to you talked about the nature of species as if any species had an essential nature. Didn't he or she hear abot evolution? Species change over time and biologist keep on asking whether these teo populations are distinct species or not. Essentialism is a concept that has no place in biology. Reality is so messy.

Zoe Brain said...

If you look at my status, you'll see "suspended" - meaning a complete ban, but not necessarily a permanent one.

I'm sure it will become permanent though, as I have no intention of remaining silent on the issue.

The total communication from the moderator was:

---------------------------
Dear Zoe Brain,

You have received a warning at Catholic Answers Forums.

Reason:
-------
Contempt for Catholicism

Contempt for Catholicism
-------

Original Post:
http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=6727529

Quote:
From the Jakarta Post

The Indonesian Bishops' Council (KWI) has declared the controversial marriage of transgender Alterina Hofan illegal, kompas.com reported on Monday.

KWI secretary Benny Susetyo said the Catholic Church could not accept the marriage and suggested that Alterina should seek medication rather than changing her sex status.

Mr Hofman has 47XXY chromosomes, rather than the usual 46XX ones of females, and 46XY ones of males.

Most people with 47XXY chromosomes look male. Quite a few can father children. A few look female, and some of those have given birth.

Quote:
Alterina has the rare Klinefelter’s syndrome which gives him an extra X chromosome, making him look more effeminate. After years of operations, he documented himself as a man and even married Jane Hadipoespito.

Benny said the health problem could not justify the change in sex status. “Her DNA and genetics prove she is female, therefore she can be medically cured,” the priest said.


Warnings serve as a reminder to you of the forum's rules, which you are expected to understand and follow.

All the best,
Catholic Answers Forums
--------------------------

That's all. Those words were deemed "contempt of Catholicism". Probaly because the moderator, Eric Hilbert, is as biologically clueless as the Indonesian Bishops

Then after posting the thread on the murder:

Your account has been locked for the following reason:
Contempt for Catholicism, refuses moderator direction.


I do not consider that the moderator has done anything wrong. He's acted entirely in accordance with Papal speeches. You could even say he had no choice.

Any more than I have a choice about saying Eppur Si Muove.

Lloyd Flack said...

Which murder?

Zoe Brain said...

Another friend of a friend. Happens every fortnight or so, and we try to help the survivors. See my latest blog post.

Lloyd, this is what the high murder and assault rate means for us. We all know someone personally, in 3D, who has died or ended up in an ICU.

Our casualty rates exceed by far the civilian losses from bombing during the Blitz, and even the loss rate in the military in Afghanistan and Iraq.

That's what the numbers mean.

Australia is something of a safe haven, but did you read the stats from Brisbane?

Physical assault without a weapon:
* 46 per cent transgender male to female
* 45 per cent transgender female to male


Physical attack with a weapon, knife, bottle or stone:
* 38 per cent transgender male to female
* 9 per cent transgender female to male

It's worse elsewhere. Sometimes a lot worse.

Lloyd Flack said...

Interesting quest why have the churches become worse over tyhe past few decades? Or rather why have sections of them become worse? It's not just a Catholic problem. Look at Uganda!

I think some of it is the increasing prominence on non Western sections of the church, especially African ones. Why are they more likely to go off the rails? I suspect it's a combination of the effect of local superstitions and of there being little local secular tradition of moral criticism. The religions there are allowed to get away with claiming to be the sole source of morality while Western cultures encourage more confidence in the individual conscience. And in the West the influence of superstition was reduced, ironically largely by the church. It weakened rivals.

Look at what happened with the Catholic Church in Australia. The reactionary elements were mostly Irish. Italian and other Continental Catholics were much more likely to call the Church out when it spouted BS. For whatever reason, possibly its, admitedly not very strong, association with Irish nationalism, the Irish were much less likely to call the church to account.