Assorted quotes

It was the girls’ state championship track meet in Connecticut. A Cromwell High School freshman who calls himself Andraya Yearwood and “identifies” as female sped to victory in the 100- and 200-meter races. The 2016 winner, Sarah Hall, now a junior, came in second. She had this to say to reporters after being vanquished by a male runner that the State of Connecticut calls a female runner: “I can’t really say what I want to say, but there’s not much I can do about it.” Her succinct words capture the depth of the perversion that transgender ideology will impose upon us all. We will have to accommodate ourselves to lies, knowing that truthful words will be punished.

R.R. Reno, “The Public Square,” First Things magazine, August/September 2017, p. 67.

We need to get our heads on straight about all this. Political correctness and campus protests are not threats to elite institutions and their promise to the young that they guarantee success. The radical ideologies are part of a choreographed dance. “Unlike the campus protestors of the 1960s, today’s student activists are not expressing countercultural views. They are expressing the exact views of the culture in which they find themselves (a reason that administrators prove so ready to accede to their demands). If you want to find the counterculture on today’s elite college campuses, you need to look for the conservative students.”

R.R. Reno, “The Public Square,” First Things magazine, August/September 2017, p. 68 (quoting William Deresiewicz).

Part of that imperial arrogance in our own day, I believe, is the insistence that we, the empire, the West, America, or wherever, are in a position to tell the societies that we are already exploiting in a thousand different ways that they should alter their deep-rooted moralities to accommodate our newly invented ones. There is something worryingly imperial about the practice itself and about the insistence on everybody else endorsing it. It is often said that the poor want justice while the rich want peace. We now have a situation where two-thirds of the world wants debt relief and one-third wants sex.

N.T. Wright, Pauline Perspectives: Essays on Paul, 1978-2013 (Minneapolis:Fortress Press, 2013) (H/T to The Millennial Star).

Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and Gnosticism

Fr. Robert Barron argues that transgenderism is a form of the early Christian heresy of Gnosticism, in that its pits the soul against the body, and in fact treats the body as if it were something standing in the way of the full functioning and happiness of the soul. The distinctive mark of Gnosticism is “precisely the denigration of matter and the tendency to set the spirit and the body in an antagonistic relationship.”

Against the Gnostic heresy, St. Irenaeus argued that “Creation, Incarnation, Resurrection, the theology of the Church, sacraments, redemption, the Eucharist, etc. all involve, … bodiliness, materiality. For Irenaeus, redemption is decidedly not tantamount to the escape of the soul from the body; rather, it is the salvation and perfection of the body.”

The body is every bit a part of who we are as the soul: “For Biblical people,” Fr. Barron writes, “the body can never be construed as a prison for the soul, nor as an object for the soul’s manipulation.”

“[T]he mind or will is not the ‘true self’ standing over and against the body; rather, the body, with its distinctive form, intelligibility, and finality, is an essential constituent of the true self. Until we realize that the lionization of Caitlyn Jenner amounts to an embracing of Gnosticism, we haven’t grasped the nettle of the issue.”

Fr. Robert Barron, “Jenner’s Gnosticism, the ‘Shadow Council,’ and St. Irenaeus“,, June 9, 2015.

How can feminism and transgenderism both be true?

If gender is not determined by physical characteristics, then what is it, exactly?

Someone recently told me that transgenderism is “in line with current scientific understanding“. Maybe so. But I’ve also been told that it’s “in line with current scientific understanding” to believe that masculine and feminine ways of acting and dressing, and “gender roles” such as mothering and bringing home the bacon, are mere cultural constructs.

Also that it’s sexist to believe that men are better than women at some things that don’t depend on physical size and strength, such as math and science. In short, the radical feminist dogma is that the only differences between men and women are physical differences. Otherwise, we’re equal in every respect.

If all the non-physical characteristics that we commonly associate with the respective sexes are mere constructs or the product of chauvinist attitudes, then what’s left? What is there, besides physical traits, with which a person may constitute a valid and objective “gender identity”?

But if we admit that subjective gender identities are real and legitimate, then don’t we have to admit that there are real differences between the sexes apart from physical differences?