CV NEWS FEED // The Archdiocese of Omaha has codified its approach to Catholic school students who wish to identify with a “gender” other than their biological sex.
The policies, endorsed by Archbishop George Lucas, will take effect January 1. They address practical questions of pronoun use, uniforms, sports, and so-called “gender-affirming care.”
Vickie Kauffold, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese, spoke with CatholicVote about the nature of the policies.
“This story is not about the policy. This is really a response to a request from our Catholic school leaders going back two years to when we created the pastoral guidelines on gender dysphoria. At that time, we provided training and formation with school leaders, including a deep dive on Catholic anthropology and Church teaching on sexuality.”
Kauffold emphasized that this has been an ongoing process of assisting school administrators in walking with gender dysphoric students and their families.
In the past schools have dealt with these questions on a case-by-case basis. There are currently 70 schools in the archdiocese, 17 high schools and 53 elementary schools.
Deacon Timothy McNeil, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, told CatholicVote that the decision to promulgate the policy now came from a desire for clarity, compassion, and transparency: “As society tries to normalize this, we knew we needed a uniform policy and pastoral approach.”
“The policy is one of mutuality. We have not put up a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign on our doors. All students – including those struggling with gender dysphoria – are welcome, but they need to know our position up front.”
For example, students in Omaha Catholic schools are addressed with the pronouns that reflect their biological sex, are expected to dress according to their biological sex, and may only participate in sports or other sex-segregated extracurricular activities based on their biological sex.
If a family disagrees with these measures, McNeil says: “It would be impossible for us to have a fruitful relationship. This is about being transparent.”
While the archdiocese expected some pushback from parents regarding the promulgation of the policy, McNeil reported that the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We cannot participate in or make a contribution to a child who wants to refute his or her reality. We have a biological sex – we are male or female,” said McNeil.
Superintendent Kauffold reiterated this, saying, “The policy is where we say ‘we’re going to love you, we’re going to walk with you and your parents. We want you in our schools.’ The policy simply draws the line in the sand and says, ‘I can’t go here with you, because I love you.’”
Catholic teaching treats all human beings – regardless of sex or sexual confusion – with equal dignity and as persons created for union with God. Compassionate support of any human person excludes encouraging self-destructive measures such as so-called “gender transitioning” or “gender affirming care.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life.” (2333)
“By creating the human being man and woman, God gives personal dignity equally to the one and the other. Each of them, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.” (2393)
When he meets with concerned parents, McNeil tells them, “God didn’t make a mistake with your son or daughter. God has been in pursuit of your child – delighting in him or her since conception. I want to help them see that.”