Faith In Flux: Should Catholic Colleges Embrace Transgender Inclusion?

By Victor Smiroff | Sunday, 21 April 2024 08:30 AM
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Image Credit : Photo by John Smith for Denver Catholic Magazine

A recent report reveals that the majority of Catholic women's colleges in the United States are now accepting transgender women, i.e., men who identify as women, as students.

This move is seen as a departure from traditional church teachings on gender and sex.

The National Catholic Register, in its Friday report, stated that most of the three dozen women's colleges across the country are now admitting men. The report further highlighted that there are eight Catholic women's colleges, all established by Catholic female religious orders. Each of these colleges is governed by an independent board of trustees.

According to the National Catholic Register, five out of these eight women's colleges explicitly mention on their websites that they accept men who identify as women. Campus Pride, a pro-transgender organization, claims that two more of these colleges also admit trans-identifying students.

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"We have a twofold identity crisis—both among young people captured by gender ideology, and among Catholic colleges that defy the Church and reject the Catholic teaching that is foundational to authentic Catholic education," said Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, in a conversation with the National Catholic Register.

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Interestingly, some of these colleges argue that their pro-transgender policies are inspired by Catholic teachings, despite Pope Francis's explicit rejection of gender ideology. Only one bishop from the dioceses where these schools are located has informed NCR that his diocese is taking action on these policies.

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Alverno College in Milwaukee, for instance, states on its website, "In the Catholic tradition of caring and respect for each human person, we support students on their journey of self-discovery and recognize that gender identity may change over time." The college further mentions that it has established guidelines and services to support transgender students as integral members of their diverse campus community.

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Similarly, Mount Mary University in Milwaukee describes itself as a "Catholic university that believes and acts in accordance with the tradition of caring, respect, and educational access." The university, however, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles, St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, have also adopted similar policies, allowing individuals who identify as women, including transgender women, to enroll.

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Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C., and the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska, are also reported to allow men who identify as women to enroll, according to Campus Pride. However, neither university responded immediately to a request for comment.

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In November, The Daily Signal reported that Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, would start admitting men who identify as women from the fall of 2024. However, in December, the college announced a reversal of this decision.

President Katie Conboy, in an email, stated that the initial decision was seen as a "reflection of our College's commitment to live our Catholic values as a loving and just community." However, she acknowledged that it is "increasingly clear" that "the position we took is not shared by all members of our community."

As the debate on gender identity and acceptance continues, these developments in Catholic women's colleges across the United States highlight the evolving perspectives on gender and identity within religious educational institutions.

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