Trans People, the Church, and the Castrati

Transgender issues are a major topic, both in popular culture and in the realm of public policy. Once treated as the modern equivalent of sideshow freaks, transgender people are coming into the mainstream and demanding the right to take their place in the public square. For conservative religious bodies like the Catholic church, who have yet to reconcile themselves with the existence of cis-gender lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and asexuals, this “transgender moment” must be particularly baffling. To my knowledge, there have been no “official” statements from Rome about how “orthodox” Catholics should make sense of transgender people (The Catechism of the Catholic Church doesn’t mention transgenderism, at least not the edition I have), but this passage from a December 2012 speech by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI seems to be as authoritative as anything else on the matter:

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