The Catholic Archdiocese of Denver in Colorado is being forced to defend its policies against admitting students who reject their biological sex.
The archdiocese came under fire after a Nov. 7 article in The Denver Post outlined the school system's policy advising against enrollment of self-identified transgender students.
The policy is outlined in a 2019 document offering guidance to administrators on navigating Church teaching on hot-button issues.
Other policy guidelines include not promoting or funding groups that encourage "an LGBTQ identity (rather than embracing their primary identity as a child of God.)"
"A Catholic school cannot affirm a student's identity as transgender, gender-nonconforming, non-binary, gender-fluid, gender-queer, or any other term that rejects the reality of the student's given male or female sexual identity; any asserted identity that rejects the reality of biological sex is incompatible with Christian anthropology," the document reads.
The Archdiocese of Denver clarifies in the document that all persons — regardless of sex or sexuality — should be "treated with dignity and kindness."
Issues arise, however, in the disconnect between transgender ideology and Catholic theology in a way that the school system deemed "unworkable."
"Practically speaking, when parents are relying on secular medical or psychological advice that stresses parental affirmation of the child’s desired identity as the only way to support the child, then the situation will prove unworkable," the archdiocese's document continues. "Even if the parents and child express willingness to comply with relevant school rules in the short term, the situation is not workable because the family and the school are working from irreconcilable premises and moving towards incompatible goals."
Sally Odenheimer, a former Catholic who left the faith over differences of belief on LGBT issues, told the Denver Post, "I felt if I was staying in the church, that meant I was supporting their ideology, but in order for things to change, I have to be involved."
"People are leaving in droves. I came back because they are not going to win. There are more of us who do not agree with them, and we will not let them do this," she continued.
One critic of the archdiocese, Tricia Williams, told the Denver Post that the church was "hurting people" and "separating them from God" by following the policies.
In 2019, the same year as the Archdiocese of Denver's document was released, the Vatican released a document titled "Male and Female He Created Them."
The document explained the church's teaching that gender theory "speaks of a gradual process of denaturalization, that is a move away from nature and towards an absolute option for the decision of the feelings of the human subject."
Pope Francis has been an outspoken critic of gender ideology, quoting his predecessor Benedict XVI in calling it "the epoch of sin against God the Creator."
In 2016, Pope Francis spoke to a group of Polish bishops about the issue, saying, "Today, in schools they are teaching this to children — to children — that everyone can choose their gender."
"Speaking with Pope Benedict, who is well, and has a clear mind, he was telling me: 'Holiness, this is the epoch of sin against God the Creator.' He's intelligent! God created man and woman, God created the world this way, this way, this way, and we are doing the opposite," the pontiff told the bishops.