Fr. George William Rutler’s homily podcast.
The Transfiguration of our Lord did not change him into another form of nature. After the event he was the same man taking the apostles down the mountain as he was when he took them up. As for us, said St. Thomas Aquinas: “Grace does not destroy nature but perfects it.” Christ was already perfect, and the light that transfigured him was a portent of the power that can glorify human creatures.
This confounds the Gnostic mistake of treating nature as an evil construct, destructive of the human spirit that struggles to be free of it. That perennial heresy is now a fashion in the form of gender politics. “Transgender” is a misnomer. Gender pertains to grammar and not biology: for instance, in French a pen is feminine and a pencil is masculine, but the pen is not a woman and the pencil is not a man. A Gnostic agenda treats the body as though it were merely an irrelevant noun that can be changed to what it is not. This is mutilation and not transfiguration. Mutilations are “against the moral law” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2297). The Second Vatican Council rejected Gnostic dualism: “Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity…he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.” (CCC, n. 364) Imaginary redefinition of the self has widely become a political “right” and sane rejection of that is called “hate speech.” Where is George Orwell?
The Johns Hopkins psychiatrist, Dr. Paul McHugh explains that sex change is “biologically impossible” and “people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.” Confusing children about their identity comes “close to child abuse.”
Insinuating into the Armed Forces people with such psychological problems harms them and the national defense. It was done as a political act, and to repeal that is simply a nod to reality. Taxpayer dollars could pay the Pentagon at least $1.3 billion in the next ten years for “reassignment surgery.” Nearly four hundred medical conditions can disqualify people from military service, and identity confusion is a serious one. An illness, even a mental one, is not a sin, for an illness is a material disorder, while a sin is a moral disorder. The Greek word for sin, hamartia, means missing the bull’s eye on a target. It is a sin try to move the bull’s eye, pretending that one has not missed the mark, but nature has a way of staying constant.
Current headlines tell of huge military parades in China, naval displays in Russia, and missile launches in the rogue state of North Korea. They would very much like to see more Gnostic dreaming in our armed forces. But fantasy is not the strategy that wins peace among nations or peace of soul.