MCC Responds to Vatican Condemnation of Transgendered People
It is not surprising that the God who created our world with incredible diversity and complexity also created humanity with a diversity of sexual orientations and gender variance. -- The Rev. Troy Perry, MCC Moderator
[LOS ANGELES] - The head of the world's largest Christian denomination with a primary affirming ministry to gays and lesbians has reaffirmed the church's commitment to transgender persons.
"All of God's creation is good and holy, and that includes our transgender brothers and sisters," said Rev. Troy D. Perry, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), a denomination with almost 300 congregations in 22 countries.
The MCC statement comes in response to a Vatican declaration, reported in the Roman Catholic news agency Adista, that "transsexual persons suffer from mental pathologies," have "pathological personality situations," and are to be barred from serving as Roman Catholic priests, nuns, monks, friars and brothers in religious orders.
The report, prepared by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, further instructs that transgender persons currently serving as Roman Catholic priests or in religious orders are to be expelled from their vocations.
"It is not surprising that the God who created our world with incredible diversity and complexity also created humanity with a diversity of sexual orientations and gender variance," said Perry, a veteran human rights activist and a past delegate to the White House Conference on Hate Crimes. "Metropolitan Community Churches reaffirms its long-held belief that all life is sacred and holy, and that God calls people from every human experience to vocational Christian ministry."
"Rather than condemn our transgender brothers and sisters, we should celebrate people who have often made great sacrifices to grapple with issues of gender variation and who are committed to living their lives with openness and authenticity," added Perry.
Others within Metropolitan Community Churches echoed Perry's comments.
"This may raise medical questions for some, it does not raise moral questions," said Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis, MCC's Director of Clergy Development and a transgender clergyperson.
Tanis, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and author of "Transgendered: Theology, Ministry and Communities of Faith" (Pilgrim Press, 2003), added, "We're learning that our world is far more diverse than we previously imagined, and that includes our chromosomal, physical and emotional diversities. This diversity is part of God's plan and is to be celebrated."
"Just as we have come to learn that there is a range of human sexual orientations, we are also learning that there is a range of human gender variance," added Tanis. "Several MCC clergypersons are transgender and have served in both local congregations and in denominational roles with excellence and distinction."
Along with its positive ministry to gays and lesbians, Metropolitan Community Churches has a long history of ministry with the transgender community. "A transgender person participated in the very first MCC service, and MCC members who are transgender have served as elders within our denomination, pastors of our local churches, and on the MCC headquarters staff," said Perry.
"It is the great sin of the Church to exclude those whom God created and loves. We call upon all faith communities to welcome all people of faith, just as God invites and welcomes all, including transpeople who are called as members, friends, clergy and lay leaders," added Perry.
Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches offering positive, affirming ministry to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender persons, and their families and friends. Additional information on MCC is available on the Internet at www.MCCchurch.org. A free MCC e-mail newsletter is avilable upon request by writing to [email protected].
For Additional Information, Contact: Jim Birkitt MCC Communications Director 8704 Santa Monica Boulevard, Second Floor West Hollywood, CA 90069 Tel. , Ext. 226 E-Mail: [email protected] Website: www.MCCchurch.org