‘Clarity and charity’ – the keys to defending marriage in Australia

Sydney, Australia, Oct 17, 2017 / 12:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As Australians return their ballots for a poll that could aid the recognition of same-sex unions as marriages, the Archbishop of Sydney called for Christian charity in clearly explaining the … Read more

Department of Justice announces settlement in HHS mandate suits

Washington D.C., Oct 16, 2017 / 09:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A week after issuing new religious freedom guidelines to all administrative agencies in the federal government, the U.S. Department of Justice has settled with more than 70 plaintiffs who had challenged the controversial HHS contraceptive mandate. The Oct. 13 agreement was reached between the government and the law firm Jones Day, which represented more than 70 clients fighting the mandate. Made public Oct. 16, the agreement states that the plaintiffs would not be forced to provide health insurance coverage for “morally unacceptable” products and procedures, including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. “This settlement brings to a conclusion our litigation challenging the Health and Human Services’ mandate obliging our institutions to provide support for morally objectionable activities, as well as a level of assurance as we move into the future,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. in an Oct. 16 letter to priests of the archdiocese. The mandate originated with the Obama administration. Issued through the Department of Health and Human Services, it required employers – even those with deeply-held religious objections – to provide and pay for contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilization coverage in their health insurance plans. The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., was one of more than 300 plaintiffs who had challenged the mandate, arguing “that the practice of our faith was inextricably tied to the ministries that put that faith into action,” and that as such, they should not be forced to violate their faith to continue their ministries, Wuerl recalled. The archdiocese and six other plaintiffs had argued their position before the Supreme Court in the case Zubik v. Burwell. In 2016, the high court ruled against the government’s requirement that certain employers provide and pay for the morally objectionable services. “While the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on Religious Liberty and new guidelines and regulations are extremely helpful, the settlement of the Zubik litigation adds a leavening of certainty moving forward,” the cardinal added. The Department of Justice’s new settlement “removes doubt” and closes these cases challenging the mandate, the cardinal continued. “The settlement adds additional assurances that we will not be subject to enforcement or imposition of similar regulations imposing such morally unacceptable mandates moving forward,” he stated. On Oct. 6, the Department of Justice revised its guidelines for all government agencies in light of existing religious freedom laws, releasing a set of principles which stated clearly that the government cannot substantially burden religious practices, unless there is a compelling state interest in doing so and those burdens use the least-restrictive means possible. Thomas Aquinas College, a Catholic college in California and another plaintiff against the HHS mandate also celebrated the protection the settlement brings. “While we welcomed the broadening of the exemption from the HHS mandate last week by the Trump administration, we have under our agreement today something even better: a permanent exemption from an onerous federal directive – and any similar future directive – that would require us to compromise our fundamental beliefs,” said Thomas Aquinas College president Dr. Michael F. McLean in an Oct. 16 statement. “This is an extraordinary outcome for Thomas Aquinas College and for the cause of religious freedom.” In addition to settling the case, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury have also decided to provide partial coverage of the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and costs of the lawsuits. “This financial concession by the government only reinforces its admission of the burdensome nature of the HHS contraceptive mandate and its violation of the College’s free exercise of religion,” stated Thomas Aquinas College General Counsel, Quincy Masteller. Read more

South Africa needs a better anti-corruption system, bishops say

Cape Town, South Africa, Oct 16, 2017 / 09:36 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- South Africa’s Conference of Catholic Bishops has pushed for the development of an anti-corruption court, citing the damage to the country’s morale after a long standing cor… Read more

Callista Gingrich Confirmed as US Ambassador to the Vatican

Washington D.C., Oct 16, 2017 / 04:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Monday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Callista Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as the next U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. The vote was 70-23. In a July 18 hearing, Gingrich had voiced her commitment to fight human trafficking and promote human rights and religious freedom. She had said that immigration and protecting the environment are both issues that the Trump administration is taking seriously, although taking a different approach from the previous administration. Callista Gingrich is the president of both Gingrich Productions in Arlington, Va. and the charitable non-profit Gingrich Foundation, and is a former Congressional aide. She is also a long-time member of the choir at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Newt and Callista married in 2000, after having a six-year affair while Newt was married to his previous wife. Newt converted to Catholicism in 2009 and explained, in an interview that year with Deal Hudson at InsideCatholic.com, how Callista’s witness as a Catholic brought him towards the faith. He noted that he had attended Masses at the National Shrine where Callista sang in the choir, and she “created an environment where I could gradually think and evolve on the issue of faith.” At the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in 2011, he also cited Pope Benedict XVI’s 2008 visit to the U.S. as a “moment of confirmation” for him. At vespers with the Pope, where Callista sang in the Shrine choir, Newt recalled thinking that “here is where I belong.” The couple worked on a documentary together that was released in 2010, “Nine Days That Changed the World,” that focused on Pope St. John Paul II’s 1979 pilgrimage to Poland when the former Soviet bloc country was under a communist government. The documentary explained how the Pope invigorated the faith of the Polish people in Jesus Christ during his pilgrimage there, and how the visit precipitated the fall of Communism. In an Easter message posted on the website of Gingrich Productions, the couple noted that “we should remember the many threats facing Christians today,” including “a growing secularism, which seeks to place human desires ahead of God and His will,” and “radical Islamism” that “seeks to destroy Christianity across the globe.” “But in the face of this evil, we remember the words of Saint John Paul II, who throughout his papacy urged us to, ‘Be not afraid’,” the statement continued. As ambassador, Gingrich will follow Ken Hackett, the former head of Catholic Relief Services who served during President Obama’s second term as president. In a January interview with CNA, Hackett opined that there would be areas of difference and of collaboration between the U.S. and the Holy See under the Trump administration. One of the possible areas of tension might be on immigration and refugees, he said, as Trump criticized Pope Francis on the campaign trail in 2016 after the Pope celebrated Mass at the U.S.-Mexico border and urged everyone to pray for conversion of hearts over the suffering of forced migration. Trump, who repeatedly promised to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and make the Mexican government pay for it, said last February that the Pope was a “pawn” of the Mexican government and “is a very political person, I think he doesn’t understand the problems our country has.” He also issued an executive order shutting down refugee admissions for four months at a time when Pope Francis has taken in refugees and U.S. bishops have called for the country to continue accepting refugees fleeing violence. Meanwhile, there are other possible areas of collaboration between the U.S. and the Holy See, Hackett said in January, including on human trafficking, peace in the Middle East, a solution to the worsening crisis in Venezuela, and efforts to alleviate global poverty. Pope Francis and President Trump met at the Vatican in May. According to a Vatican communique, they expressed satisfaction “for the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, as well as the joint commitment in favor of life, and freedom of worship and conscience.” During the “cordial discussions,” the two expressed hope for peaceful collaboration between the government and the Catholic Church in the United States, that it may be “engaged in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants,” the Vatican statement said. The two leaders also exchanged views “on various themes relating to international affairs, the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.”     Read more

Despair would worsen the situation, bishop says in wake of Somalia attack

Djibouti, Djibouti, Oct 16, 2017 / 03:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After Somalia suffered its deadliest terrorist attack on Saturday, the Bishop of Djibouti reflected on the need for hope and unity among Somalis lest it become “a double attack.” A truck packed with explosives exploded in front of a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu Oct. 14, killing at least 276 people. Many more were wounded. “I would say that even though what has happened its a catastrophe, we mustn’t despair. It would be a double attack if we despaired,” Bishop Giorgio Bertin of Djibouti told Vatican Radio. Bishop Bertin also serves as apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Mogadishu, which has been vacant since the assassination of its last bishop in 1989. The bombing has yet to have been claimed by any group. Some Somalis have reacted to the attack by condemning al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group associated with al-Qaeda. Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed called it a “heinous act” targeting “civilians who were going about their business.” Bishop Bertin commented that “when one goes [to Somalia] the situation seems normal; I could spend five days in Baidoa, two days in Mogadishu. Obviously I was accompanied by an armed escort, but the Somalis seemed to be living normally. It seems like normal life.” “You might have the impression that they are rather habituated to seeing, undergoing these momentary attacks, but they never seem to change life there.” The bishop added that he thinks “we should continue to seek greater unity within Somalia and the international community to face this problem.” Turkey is taking 40 of those injured in the attack for medical treatment, and the African Union has said it will continue its support of Somalia as it works “to achieve sustainable peace and security.” The US Mission to Somalia stated that it “lauds the heroic response of the Somali security forces and first responders and Somali citizens who rushed to the aid of their brothers and sisters. Such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism to promote stability and prosperity for the Somali people and their regional neighbors.” Somalia has been in a state of turmoil since the early 1990s, and was long regarded as a failed state. It has relatively stabilized in recent years, and has been called a fragile state. The federal government has consolidated control over much of the southern part of the country, though Islamists still control several swathes of territory. Somalia’s northern areas are effectively governed as the autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland. Read more

Italian Catholic priest kidnapped in Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria, Oct 16, 2017 / 01:44 pm (ACI Prensa).- An Italian Catholic priest, who is a member of the Neocatechumenal Way, was kidnapped on Thursday by armed men in Benin City, Nigeria, according to media reports. Fr. Maurizio Pallu had been a missionary in Nigeria for three years. According to the Italian bishops’ publication, Avvenire, the kidnappers may be local criminals whose aim would be to obtain a ransom in exchange for the priest. While the Islamist terror group Boko Haram is active in Nigeria’s northern region, the priest was kidnapped from the south. Authorities are investigating the incident. Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office, posted on Twitter that “Pope Francis has been informed about the Italian priest kidnapped in Nigeria, Fr. Maurizio Pallu, and is praying for him.” Fr. Pallu is 63 and a native of Florence. As a member of the Neocatechumenal Way, he was a lay missionary for 11 years in various countries. In 1998, he entered the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Rome. After serving as a chaplain in two parishes in Rome, he was sent to Holland, where he was a pastor in the diocese of Haarlem. From there, he was sent to the Nigerian archdiocese of Abuja. Several other priests have recently been kidnapped from the Nigerian state of Edo, where Benin City is located, and one has been killed.  This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA. Read more

In Diwali message to Hindus, Vatican officials call for mutual respect

Vatican City, Oct 16, 2017 / 11:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- With tensions between Christians and Hindu nationalists in India increasingly on the rise, the Vatican sent a message marking the Hindu feast of Diwali, urging members of both religions to go beyond mere tolerance of one another, and to foster a genuine mutual respect. Diwali is a Hindu festival of lights, and is being celebrated this year on Oct. 19. “May this festival of lights illumine your minds and lives, bring joy to your hearts and homes, and strengthen your families and communities,” read a greeting to Hindus sent Oct. 16 by the Pontifical Council for Interreligous Dialogue. The message was signed by the council’s president, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and its secretary, Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot. In their message, titled “Christians and Hindus: Beyond Tolerance,” Tauron and  Ayuso acknowledged that there are many good things happening in the world for which to be grateful, but said there are also difficulties that “deeply concern us.” They said, “the growth of intolerance, spawning violence in many parts of the world,” is one of these challenges. In India this intolerance has been acutely felt with an increase in violence against minorities in the country, including Christians and Muslims. While there is no state religion in India, nearly 80 percent of its population is Hindu. “On this occasion,” the Vatican officials wrote, “we wish to reflect on how Christians and Hindus can together foster mutual respect among people – and go beyond tolerance, in order to usher in a more peaceful and harmonious era for every society.” “Tolerance certainly means being open and patient with others, recognizing their presence in our midst. If we are to work for lasting peace and true harmony, however, tolerance is not enough. What is also needed is genuine respect and appreciation for the diversity of cultures and customs within our communities, which in turn contribute to the health and unity of society as a whole,” the letter read. They wrote that “to see pluralism and diversity as a threat to unity leads tragically to intolerance and violence.” “Respect for others is an important antidote to intolerance since it entails authentic appreciation for the human person, and his or her inherent dignity.” This respect encourages mutual esteem for different social, cultural and religious practices, while at the same time recognizing the inalienable rights of others, “such as the right to life and the right to profess and practice the religion of one’s choice,” they said. In order for diverse communities to move forward, then, the path must be one “marked by respect,” they said: “While tolerance merely protects the other, respect goes further: it favors peaceful coexistence and harmony for all.” “Respect creates space for every person, and nurtures within us a sense of ‘feeling at home’ with others,” and rather than dividing and isolating, “respect allows us to see our differences as a sign of the diversity and richness of the one human family.” The Vatican officials then urged members of different religious traditions to “go beyond the confines of tolerance by showing respect to all individuals and communities, for everyone desires and deserves to be valued according to his or her innate dignity. This calls for the building of a true culture of respect, one capable of promoting conflict resolution, peace-making and harmonious living.” “Grounded in our own spiritual traditions and in our shared concern for the unity and welfare of all people, may we Christians and Hindus, together with other believers and people of good will, encourage, in our families and communities, and through our religious teachings and communication media, respect for every person, especially for those in our midst whose cultures and beliefs are different from our own.” Thus, they concluded, “we will move beyond tolerance to build a society that is harmonious and peaceful, where all are respected and encouraged to contribute to the unity of the human family by making their own unique contribution.” Read more

Hunger must be fought by actively going to the roots, Pope Francis says

Vatican City, Oct 16, 2017 / 05:26 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Monday Pope Francis issued a lengthy appeal to address the problem of world hunger not only through talk, but concrete action by going to the root of the problem and introducing a new global mentality aimed at love rather than profit. With the risk of indifference rising as deaths due to hunger, abandonment or war are reported on a daily basis, “we urgently need to find new ways to transform the possibilities we have into a guarantee that will allow each person to face the future with established confidence, and not only with some illusion,” the Pope said Oct. 16. In light of the vast portions of the global population who continue to suffer from malnutrition, war, climate change, forced migration and various forms of exploitation, “we can and must change course,” he said. Noting how some would say simply “reducing the number of mouths to feed” would be enough to solve the problem of food shortage and global inequality, Francis said this is “a false solution” given current patterns of waste and consumption in some areas of the world. Rather, he proposed “sharing” as a more effective strategy, which “implies conversion, and this is demanding.” Francis spoke during his annual address to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which estimates that across the board, a third of food produced in the world each year is wasted, amounting to some 1.3 billion tons. He suggested a change in language used on the international scene which is focused on “the category of love, conjugated as gratuitousness, equal treatment, solidarity, a culture of gift, brotherhood and mercy.” “These words express, effectively, the practical content of the term ‘humanism,’ often used in international activity,” he said. Francis also highlighted the relationship between hunger and forced migration, saying the problem can only be solved “ if we go to the root of the problem,” rather that coming up with superficial solutions. Referencing various studies, the Pope noted that the main underlying causes of hunger, which in itself prompts many to migrate, are “conflicts and climate change.” The effects of climate change are felt on a daily basis, he said, explaining that thanks to science, the international community already knows how to face the problem. He praised initiatives such as the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, and urged nations to uphold the agreement. However, he noted that “unfortunately, some are moving away from (it).” Though Pope Francis mentioned no one specifically, his reference includes the United States, which pulled out of the agreement June 1 as President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would pursue other means of addressing the environmental issue which are more favorable to Americans. In terms of conflict, the Pope pointed to various “martyred populations” suffering from decades of war, many of which “could have been avoided or at least stopped, and yet they spread such disastrous and cruel effects as food insecurity and the forced displacement of peoples.” To overcome these conflicts, both “good will and dialogue” are needed, as well as firm and total commitment to a “gradual and systemic disarmament” in war zones. “What is the point of denouncing that, because of military conflicts, millions of people are victims of hunger and malnutrition, if we do not act effectively in the interest of peace and disarmament?” he said. “It is clear that wars and climate change are an occasion for hunger, so let us avoid, then, presenting it as an incurable illness.” Human mobility, he said, can and must be managed by a coordinated and systemic action on the parts of governments that are in accord with existing international standards, and which are “impregnated with love and intelligence.” In terms of solutions, he said it’s possible to stop the use of weapons of mass destruction because the world has recognized “the destructive capacity of these weapons.” However, he asked whether “we equally aware of the effects of the poverty and exclusion?” People who are “willing to risk everything” to escape violence, hunger, poverty or climate change won’t be stopped by physical, economic, legislative or ideological barriers, he said, explaining that “a coherent application of the principle of humanity” is the only thing capable of addressing the problem. Francis urged “a broad and sincere” dialogue at all levels of society in order for “the best solutions” to be found and for new relationships to be formed which are characterized by “mutual responsibility, solidarity and communion.” Although current initiatives in place are praiseworthy, “they are not enough,” he said, and stressed the need to promote and develop new actions and financial programs “which combat hunger and structural misery more effectively and with high hopes of success.” In developing these new tactics, it’s necessary to avoid the temptation “to act in favor of small groups of the population” or to used aid funding “inappropriately, favoring corruption, or lack of legality,” he said. Closing his remarks, the Pope voiced the desire for the Catholic Church to directly participate in the various efforts being pursued and implemented given her mission, “which leads it to love everyone and also forces it to remind those who have national or international responsibility of the great duty to meet the needs of the poorest.” Francis, who received a standing ovation for his speech, gifted the FAO with a marble statue commemorating Aylan Kurdi, the 3-year-old Syrian refugee boy whose body washed up on the shores of Turkey in 2015 after a failed attempt to cross the Mediterranean. Read more

‘No science’ behind transgender therapy for kids, doctors warn

Washington D.C., Oct 15, 2017 / 03:57 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Children who struggle to match their gender identity with their biological sex should not be pushed into transgender therapies, but given treatments that help treat the underlying cause of the dysphoria, said doctors in the field. From a medical standpoint, deciding not to offer hormonal therapy to children who experience gender dysphoria is “not a judgment” on the child, but a matter of the best medical healthcare, said Dr. Paul Hruz, associate professor of Pediatrics, Endocrinology, Cell Biology and Physiology at the Washington University of Medicine. “It’s the best outcome, because they’re not exposed to all these harms that we know they will experience if they move forward” with the hormone treatments, he said. Dr. Hruz also voiced serious concerns about treating young people with intense and potentially dangerous off-label hormone therapy, without subjecting the regimen to rigorous scientific testing. This falls short of the scientific standards used to evaluate other treatments, he said. “We search for the truth by testing it with experimental evidence.” Hruz spoke at an Oct. 11 panel on Gender Dysphoria in Children at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Also speaking at the event were Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, and Dr. Allan Josephson, professor and division chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Gender dysphoria is a psychological condition in which a person’s experience of the psychological and cultural associations of their gender differ greatly from their biological sex. It is unclear how many children in the United States experience gender dysphoria, but the condition is relatively uncommon. Cretella explained the health risks of putting children on puberty blockers and hormones associated with the opposite sex. The use of these drugs, she said, “is treating puberty like a disease, arresting a normal process which is critical to normal development for kids.” She pointed out that there had never been long-term studies on hormone repression drugs, and their impact – particularly on children – is unknown. What is known, however, is the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and growth disruption associated with hormone therapies used for cross-sex treatment. She also pushed back against the claims that affirming a patient’s perceived gender leads to improved outcomes to children, saying that “those studies are extremely short term” with small study groups and poorly designed controls. Cretella pointed to former patients who change their minds “at age 28 or so and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, what was done to me?’” Emphasizing the importance of rooting medical practices in science rather than ideology, Hruz noted that no randomized controlled trial or consistent findings have shown that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are the best treatments for children with gender dysphoria. “The reality is there is no science to back this drastic change.” He also noted that as many as 90 percent of youth outgrow gender dysphoria by the end of adolescence and realign their identity with their biological sex. Josephson focused on the psychological element of childhood gender dysphoria, noting that at its root, the disorder is a social and psychological phenomenon. He contested that relying on hormonal therapies leaves aside a full investigation of the root psychological causes underlying the dysphoria, which therefore halts the most effective treatment before it starts. Josephson pointed to the treatment of one patient who came in for counseling on gender dysphoria and ended up uncovering deep wounds of childhood abuse underlying their discomfort. “When doctors see pain or distress we try to find the cause of it and map out a treatment. We don’t try to ignore it,” he urged. And treatment does not mean avoiding all forms of stress or trial, Josephson said. “In the process of development we’re always subjected to some kind of stress or developmental crisis.” The key is to adequately diagnose and treat the underlying causes of gender dysphoria, he said. “If we ignore pain, the bottom line is that we might miss a diagnosis and chance for developmental progress.” Most of all, Josephson said, children going through gender dysphoria need to be affirmed and loved. “Of course you affirm a child and love a child,” he said. “But you don’t affirm a bad idea.” Read more

‘No science’ behind transgender therapy for kids, doctors warn

Washington D.C., Oct 15, 2017 / 03:57 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Children who struggle to match their gender identity with their biological sex should not be pushed into transgender therapies, but given treatments that help treat the underlying cause of the dysphoria, said doctors in the field. From a medical standpoint, deciding not to offer hormonal therapy to children who experience gender dysphoria is “not a judgment” on the child, but a matter of the best medical healthcare, said Dr. Paul Hruz, associate professor of Pediatrics, Endocrinology, Cell Biology and Physiology at the Washington University of Medicine. “It’s the best outcome, because they’re not exposed to all these harms that we know they will experience if they move forward” with the hormone treatments, he said. Dr. Hruz also voiced serious concerns about treating young people with intense and potentially dangerous off-label hormone therapy, without subjecting the regimen to rigorous scientific testing. This falls short of the scientific standards used to evaluate other treatments, he said. “We search for the truth by testing it with experimental evidence.” Hruz spoke at an Oct. 11 panel on Gender Dysphoria in Children at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Also speaking at the event were Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, and Dr. Allan Josephson, professor and division chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Gender dysphoria is a psychological condition in which a person’s experience of the psychological and cultural associations of their gender differ greatly from their biological sex. It is unclear how many children in the United States experience gender dysphoria, but the condition is relatively uncommon. Cretella explained the health risks of putting children on puberty blockers and hormones associated with the opposite sex. The use of these drugs, she said, “is treating puberty like a disease, arresting a normal process which is critical to normal development for kids.” She pointed out that there had never been long-term studies on hormone repression drugs, and their impact – particularly on children – is unknown. What is known, however, is the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and growth disruption associated with hormone therapies used for cross-sex treatment. She also pushed back against the claims that affirming a patient’s perceived gender leads to improved outcomes to children, saying that “those studies are extremely short term” with small study groups and poorly designed controls. Cretella pointed to former patients who change their minds “at age 28 or so and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, what was done to me?’” Emphasizing the importance of rooting medical practices in science rather than ideology, Hruz noted that no randomized controlled trial or consistent findings have shown that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are the best treatments for children with gender dysphoria. “The reality is there is no science to back this drastic change.” He also noted that as many as 90 percent of youth outgrow gender dysphoria by the end of adolescence and realign their identity with their biological sex. Josephson focused on the psychological element of childhood gender dysphoria, noting that at its root, the disorder is a social and psychological phenomenon. He contested that relying on hormonal therapies leaves aside a full investigation of the root psychological causes underlying the dysphoria, which therefore halts the most effective treatment before it starts. Josephson pointed to the treatment of one patient who came in for counseling on gender dysphoria and ended up uncovering deep wounds of childhood abuse underlying their discomfort. “When doctors see pain or distress we try to find the cause of it and map out a treatment. We don’t try to ignore it,” he urged. And treatment does not mean avoiding all forms of stress or trial, Josephson said. “In the process of development we’re always subjected to some kind of stress or developmental crisis.” The key is to adequately diagnose and treat the underlying causes of gender dysphoria, he said. “If we ignore pain, the bottom line is that we might miss a diagnosis and chance for developmental progress.” Most of all, Josephson said, children going through gender dysphoria need to be affirmed and loved. “Of course you affirm a child and love a child,” he said. “But you don’t affirm a bad idea.” Read more




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