Episcopal church ordains transgendered woman as deacon


Carolyn Woodall, an attorney with the Tuolumne County Public Defender’s Office, was conferred the title in a ceremony at the Episcopal Church of St. Anne in Stockton, [California] joined by dozens of church leaders, family members and friends

She will serve at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown, comprised mainly of local Episcopalians who stayed with the faith following a 2007 rift in the San Joaquin Diocese, which saw more-conservative members leave and join the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America .

Woodall called the ceremony “wonderful” and said she was “very relieved.”

“I’ve finally gotten past it,” she said.

The Rev. George Cano of St. Anne’s, who led Saturday’s sermon, said, “We know what it is being Christians in a prejudiced world,” adding that it took the division of the church to make the Episcopalian faith “truly inclusive.”

A long applause followed Saturday’s ceremony, and those in attendance rushed to hug and congratulate her and another newly ordained deacon, Eldon Wayne Anderson.

Woodall’s daughter, Shawna Woodall, traveled from Louisville, Ky., to see the ordination.

“I’ve been crying a lot,” she said. “She’s been working for this for a very long time. I’m really proud of her.”

“This is a glorious day,” added Jan Potter, of Sonora, who left St. James’ Episcopalian Church in Sonora when its leadership split and joined the Anglican Church.

“Carolyn is a backbone of our church,” said Potter, now a member of St. Mary’s.

Woodall moved to Tuolumne County in 2001 and joined the county Public Defender’s office as Clifford Lawson Woodall, a man.

Woodall, diagnosed with a gender-identity disorder, began appearing in court and openly dressing as a woman in 2004, and had surgery to complete the transition from man to woman in 2005.


  1. ron chandonia says:

    There is a great deal of “disorder” evident in this report–way, way beyond the one that Clifford/Carolyn’s physicians diagnosed. Not only was a family destroyed, but a whole church was ripped asunder so that this individual and others so inclined could live in accordance with their own self-defined sense of “integrity.” The writer for the Union Democrat here seems almost orgasmic that such radical individualism has been validated through diaconal ordination. Christians who care about either the church or the true welfare of gender-confused individuals should weep instead.

  2. Well said, Ron.

  3. Well, this gives a new spin to the term “transitional deacon.”

  4. Eugene Pagano says:

    Why is this any concern of Roman Catholics? You teach that none of our ordinations are valid.

  5. Well, it took the Church 358 years to apologize to Galileo. No one should hold their breath until the Church accepts any of the science or medicine having anything to do with sex, let alone sexual and gender identity.

  6. 1) Episcopalians and Anglicans online and in real life are never too shy to comment about the Catholic Church and it’s goings on.

    2) It’s a religion news story which it appears to me makes it relevant to the blog.

    3) Although about another church, it’s about a deacon in that church which also appears to me makes it of interest to a Catholic deacon’s blog.

    4) Though a religion news story it’s published in a general interest newspaper, read by people of all sorts of backgrounds. The editors felt the story was of interest beyond Episcopalians.

    5) I can’t speak for Deacon Kandra but his blog covers more than just Catholic news and teaching. (See the story post the Corgi and the camcorder).


  7. Why is anything on this blog of concern to you? You left the Church of Rome yet you still seem interested in it. This post is just another example of how some churches have sunk to new lows.
    You are right we don’t believe your ordinations are valid. This article doesn’t even say ordination it says had the title “conferred”–what does that mean?

  8. Thomas L. McDonald says:

    Peter: Self-mutilation isn’t any more acceptable today than it was in the time of Origen, and it won’t be any more acceptable 1800 years from now. I feel immense pity for the poor man, because the “science and medicine” you extol has failed him utterly. Rather than helping him with a serious psychological problem (the delusion that he is a woman) it attempts to bend nature to fulfill a faddish idea of “sexual and gender identity”. Now he is neither male nor female. Treating people suffering from gender dysphoria with drugs and radical surgery is monstrous. It makes about as much sense as giving an army to a man just because he claims he’s Napoleon.

  9. Ha!

  10. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    Shouldn’t we all be concerned about what is happening to the Body of Christ? I found it interesting and more than a little out of the ordinary, since it concerned our Episcopal brothers and sisters (who are facing a lot of challenges these days) and a man who became a woman and is now, to my surprise, a deacon.

    We live in interesting times.

    Dcn. G.

  11. The Mystical Body of Christ is the Roman Catholic Church.

  12. Great comment! I’ve set it aside … and may use some of it at some point. You should get a website.

    Also, I almost fell out of my chair (and LMHO) when I saw “Peter” role out that “usual suspect” of bad history regarding Galileo and the so-called delayed apology.

  13. Is it any wonder that Episcopalians and Anglicans in increasing numbers are splintering off or “coming home to Rome”? Can you blame them?

    A day or two ago, Deacon Greg linked to a story about how Catholics in droves have “gone Republican” since the 1970s. Yet I believe that had more to do with the way the Democrats abandoned Catholic voters than it did with anything the Republicans have done.

    Similarly, the way that the Episcopalian hierarchy has abandoned common sense has more to do with Episcopalians drifting over to Catholicism than anything the Catholic Church has done.

  14. Thomas L. McDonald says:

    Well, not to use the Deacon’s blog for self-promotion, but: http://www.godandthemachine.com

    The gentleman required compassion, mercy, and psychological treatment. He got only indulgence at the hands of the people entrusted with his mental health.

    By the way: recent evidence suggests the Dutch church castrated some boys 50 years ago to “treat” their homosexuality. Today the medical establishment is castrating men to “treat” their gender dysphoria. And the difference is …?

  15. pagansister says:

    Wonderful story of acceptance by a major religious body. If all faiths were able to accept folks for who they are, perhaps there wouldn’t be so many reasons for some to leave organized religions.

  16. Yeah, really wonderful. Maybe in your world.
    The reasons people leave organized religions is because it doesn’t fit into their own idea of what religion should be or the religion won’t change its teaching to condone their behavior. God accepts us as we are but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want us to be more. The Episcopal Church is dying because of that mentality.

  17. pagansister says:

    Thomas L. McDonald: I am assuming you are qualified to make a diagnosis for the woman above who was mentally NOT a man? Otherwise I would guess that you wouldn’t have said she was suffering from serious psychological problems. She was born into the wrong body—-and I would guess unless someone has experienced the situation they would be unable to understand it. I haven’t and I’m assuming you haven’t had to live miserably because of your wrong mental assignment at birth. I would guess that with any major surgery, much thought was put into it. I wish her the best!

  18. I’m not a learned Catholic scholar, but something about that definitive statement on the Body of Christ sounds suspect. Doesn’t Catholic mean Universal? Isn’t all mankind the Mystical Body of Christ with Catholics of the belief that only they follow the God-given, God-approved way of being part of it?

  19. pagansister says:

    Yes, RomCath, in my world this is good for the woman in the article. You claim the Episcopal church is dying—really? People change religions in order to be accepted. Would she have been accepted by the Catholic church now that she is in the proper physical body? Or would what she did (surgery) have been considered a “sin”? If all religions were the same, it would be boring indeed.

  20. Would you prefer only those who hold the same opinion as you be contributors? If that is the case, I repeat what I wrote on a earlier thread — you or someone who shares your thoughts can be the first contributor and all others can simply reply “Amen”. That will bring the discussion to an end and we all can move on to the next item posted by the Deacon.

  21. People change religions because they can’t conform to the religion they are in. They can’t understand that it is they who have to change not the Church. And yes, if you have been following the defections from the Episcopal Church, it is dying. Our town has about 25 members in the Episcopal while we have over 2000 famlies. Those leaving the Roman church do so often because of divorce and remarriage.
    Yes, she would have been accepted as a member of the Church and yes what “she” did is a sin.

  22. I hate to see that all too often, the last place that one will find compassion is among church people, and this is certainly true considering several of the above comments. I can only imagine that the gender and sexuality issues of so many in society are burdens that most of us could not carry.
    As to comments far above about the Church’s slow approach and often hostility toward science and medicine, I recall that many Catholic 19th century institutions in the US owned slaves, and that many pamphlets and writings, as well as sermons, argued that blacks did not have souls (in other words, are not human ), and used admonitions in the Bible for slaves to obey their masters as justification for slavery. The Church must re-commit itself to a search for Truth, and not merely to make pronouncements, never to be modified.Such changes in our understanding of Truth should be welcome due to the increase and development of human understanding and the body of human knowledge, rather than feared, ridiculed, or mocked because particular “truths” were defined once and for all in 1284 or 1600 or some other point in human or Church history. So often these “truths” were defined in the context of all sort of ecclesial politics or bought by european princes. We need to be more accepting of what we do not understand.
    The people like the deacon of the article are likely searching for truth. The do not have the luxury often cited by many churchmen that the church seeks answers for the ages and is in no rush. These people have a human time span, and need to find a personal answer that somehow may make their own lives work, or at least be better. That some one like the deacon found answers that seem to be working, and despite all the trials and tribulations of her life, she is a spiritual and giving person drawn to service as a deacon is admirable.

  23. What does “born in to the wrong body” actually mean? Seriously: please tell me, because it sounds like gibberish.

    A person is born into the body they are born into. Perhaps that body is defective, as in the case of hermaphrodites, but if it is a healthy body then there is no “wrong body,” only a wrong mind.

    Obviously, then, you are dealing with a psychological problem, gender dysphoria, and must decide how to treat it: adapt the mind to the body, or the body to the mind.

    Adapting the mind to the body is difficult but grounded in the common sense notion that you heal the broken mind to conform to the healthy body, not break the body to conform to the broken mind. It makes no more sense than amputating a man’s limb because he’s convinced that–in reality–he’s truly a one-armed man.

    A person may be under the delusion that they were “born into the wrong body” and think they are really a bunny rabbit. Do we start the ear-lengthening surgeries, or do we only reserve this kind of approach for sexual identity issues and not species identity issues? If so, why?

    Of course I’m qualified to diagnose him as delusional for the very simple reason that he has a delusion: he is one thing (a man), and believes himself to another (a woman). That’s what a delusion is.

  24. naturgesetz says:

    He didn’t become a woman. He’s a man who has had mutilating surgery.

  25. vox borealis says:

    Wonderful story of acceptance by a major religious body.

    According to Wikipedia, the Episcopal Church has a total baptized membership—worldwide, mind you—of about 2,000,000, or about .03% of the world population (using 6 billion as the population of the world). The bulk of its membership is in the US, where it is the 14th largest denomination. CAlling the Episcopal Church a “major religious body” is laughable, almost as laughable as what the E.C. has become.

    Is it dying? Well, it had over 3 million members in the 1960s…

  26. vox borealis says:


  27. Just to clarify what one poster of this blog said concerning the alleged “mutilation” of homosexual men in Holland from 1938 to 1968 there is a big error. The castration campaign was ordered and started by the Dutch government Not from the Catholic
    Church leaders. The clerical abuse scandal involving minors did NOT involve any instances of “mutilation” or castration instead that was the result of a poor understanding of what priests were by nature as well as bad theology. But the two are in no way connected with each other.

  28. Pagansister,

    Speaking as a biologist, what if a man is locked up for bestiality and tries to offer the defense that he was born into the wrong species, as he truly understands himself to be a lowland gorilla, sheep, giraffe, whatever…? It’s no less delusional than the man who believes that he was born into the wrong body. I don’t doubt that he honestly believes himself to be a woman, but biological identity at the species and gender level is written in one’s DNA. It is DNA that is the master blueprint for each organism, their core identity. We need to start there, with what is, not with what is perceived.

    If we cater to perception, then Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry cease to exist as such, as they no longer have as their therapeutic endpoints the bringing of one’s behavior and cognitions into line with objective reality. I get that this man has suffered. Psychiatric patients suffer worse than those whose ailments are rooted in somatic pathology. So, yes, he has suffered terribly at the most profound level of all human suffering: existential and teleological confusion.

    I also do not discount the possibility that his genomic (DNA-based) functionality may be severely dysfunctional, giving rise to biochemical and neurological processes that lead to the gender confusion. But that is no reason not to engage in therapeutics to bring his self-perception into line with his biological reality. Mutilating a male body and wearing pretty dresses and perfume does not make one a woman, and if you really believe that to be so, then that doesn’t say much for what women are.

    Reading this thread, I’m reminded of the Groucho Marx joke about the man who sees a psychiatrist and says,

    “So you see, doctor, the problem is that my brother thinks he’s a chicken.”

    “Well have you told him he’s not a chicken?”


    “Why not?”

    “Because we need the eggs.”

    That pretty much explains doctors who mutilate poor, deluded souls.

  29. In fact, if you give this new deacon a DNA test, it will show he is a male. Nothing can change that.

  30. The town next to mine has their Episcopal Church up for sale! True!

  31. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Years ago in some science and genetics class I heard that every cell in our body has genetic male or female markers. So this man mutilated himself based on sham medicine. Mutilation won’t change the overwhelming biological truth of what he is::male (but now a mutilated male).
    His case–and others like it–just because some heretical church gives it a blessing–do not change anything. Cases like this are just a product of the creeping decadence in what used to be Western Christendom. It is a decadence nurtured in hedonism and a “spoiled bratism” that our culture feeds and nourishes instead of working to correct. It is sad to see people who are confused being exploited by unscrupulous medicine men who are getting rich on bogus “curings.”

  32. Drake, I don’t know what your belief system is but it is lacking in the reality of truth.
    “She” is hardly spiritual and I feel sorry for her.
    Perhaps you ought to reread “Veritatis Splendor”–The Splendor of Truth by John Paul II. Truth doesn’t change. It is either eternally true or it is not. The relativism of the present age has been condemned—the flase belief truth is whatever you think it is. Jesus said “I am the way, the life and the truth” and since the Church is the Body of Christ, it doesn’t change its teaching on eternal truths. Take a course a Eccleisiology.

  33. Dcn. G, I find it “interesting and more than a little out of the ordinary” that an ordained member of the Catholic clergy should frame this as a news tidbit open for discussion and not as a tragedy and an assault on the Body of Christ. One of the chief marks of presence of the Evil One is confusion. This deeply troubled individual, who has undergone painful surgery and hormone treatments, is in great need of emotional, physical and spiritual healing. If you look at the statistics surrounding those suffering from this condition of “gender identity disorder” and the high rate of suicide the group is prone to, I hope you rethink you comments– “interesting times” — and ask instead that your readers pray for the person and for the Episcopal Church.

  34. The Episcopal “Church” is an American offshoot of the Anglican Communion. Let’s not forget where that all started—-Henry VIII wanted a divorce and to get remarried. He didn’t get his way so he took his marbles and started his own Church.
    St. Thomas More stood up for truth and got martyred for it. Wonder why it is dying?

  35. Drake: “I recall that many Catholic 19th century institutions …argued that blacks did not have souls.”

    Drake, were you alive then? Do you know this to be a fact? Cite your sources.

    Even if it was true, there is no relevance here.

    You state the need for compassion. If so, read the comment by biologist Gerard Nadal at 4:21 PM. I truly feel sorry for this individual — Clifford/Carolyn Woodall — who was born a man but thinks he is a woman. I was born of modest height, but I think I belong in the NBA. Do I then go out and get an operation on my legs and torso to boost my height by a foot or so? People would think me mad; they wouldn’t ordain me a deacon in the Episcopal Church of the USA as a “gesture of solidarity with the trans-heightened.” The most compassionate thing they would do, instead, would be to get me serious professional assistance.

  36. Drake,

    In the Catholic Church, one doesn’t become a deacon in order to discover who one is. One becomes a deacon because the man knows who he is and brings himself forward to serve. There needs to be a defined sense of self a priori. So, when you say that this man was searching for truth, at the level of one’s gender identity the issue is not theological but biological and psychological. The moral norms and prohibitions concerning mutilation are meant to prevent the individual from being preyed upon by unscrupulous or incompetent doctors. These moral norms are protective and not restrictive.

    The Catholic Church, blessedly, needs no further development in this area.

    As for your assertions about the Catholic Church’s hostility toward science, I can only say as both a former seminarian and as a scientist that you are spouting pure drivel cooked up in the Protestant curriculum and inculcated in the American education system. The truth of the matter is that the Catholic Church developed the university system we have today; was and remains a dynamic patron of science, engineering and technology; and today maintains several scientific bodies and pontifical academies of science. We have NEVER been hostile to science.

    As for the rest of your screed about Catholic institutions that owned slaves and taught that blacks lacked souls, produce the evidence or retract the calumny.

  37. pagansister says:

    TL McDonald: Like I said above—you or I have not experienced such a situation– so who are you to say that she was delusional? If your mind is that of a female and your body is that of a male—it just wouldn’t work, whether you accept that or not, oh well. Far from gibberish. Medically this is a real situation. She isn’t the first person to have this situation. Before anyone has any surgery there are many tests and other trials they are put through to make sure that what they are experiencing is real. Check out the length of time mentioned in the article before surgery was performed. I find your example of how someone thinking they were born into the wrong body and that they felt they were really a bunny rabbit insulting to people who actually have the problem as well as the one armed man comment. It is very easy for you to say that they should just adjust their mind to what is happening. But then I almost forgot your last statement—-you are qualified. Should have known by the evidence you presented. :o)

  38. pagansister says:

    Part of the reason, RomCath that Catholics leave the church is because the Church won’t accept those that divorce and remarry. IMO change can be beneficial.

  39. pagansister says:

    Yes, VB, I consider the Episcopal Church a major religious body, as I am entitled to my opinion. I also consider the Methodists , or Baptists etc. major religious bodies, but the article wasn’t about those churches. Numbers are just that—numbers—But if I gave you a chuckle—I’m glad.

  40. pagansister says:

    RomCath: “She” is hardly spiritual and I feel sorry for her”. Really, you know this how? Are you able to read other people’s minds to judge their spirituality? I personally don’t think so, any more that any other human being can judge what goes on in anyone’s mind.

  41. “RomCath that Catholics leave the church is because the Church won’t accept those that divorce and remarry. IMO change can be beneficial.”

    Your comments never cease to amaze me. Your statement is a lie. Those who are divorced and remarried are accepted just as any sinners are. They cant receive Communion. Since the teaching on divorce and remarriage is rooted in the words of Christ himself it cannot change. Please stop making statements that are so ludicrous. It is embarrassing. Numbers are just numbers–bizarre.

  42. pagansister says:

    However she did make the decision and it was her’s alone to make, right naturgesetz? If this makes her life more comfortable and happy, who really cares what the DNA says?

  43. Because anyone rooted in the reality of Christ would pick up their cross as Jesus taught us and did himself. “She” may be spiritual but it isnt Christian spirituality. Understand now?

  44. I agree that truth is a constant. However, this does not mean that our understanding of truth does not change, to conform to our most informed understanding. The classic example is the previous “truth” that the earth is flat, and the other “truth” that the earth is the center of the universe. Additional empirical evidence demonstrated the falsities of the previous two truths, and truth in fact was redefined on these two points. These redefined truths have nothing to do with the relativism that you dislike. This redefinition of truth happens in countless areas of creation. I also agree that it is too bad that the Vatican does not re-examine enough of its truths.

  45. pagansister says:

    RomCath, since those who divorce and remarry aren’t able to receive Communion, a major part of being Catholic (right?) then IMO that is not total acceptance by the Church. IMO change on the Church’s part regarding that situation can be beneficial. Happy to know my comments never cease to amaze you. I’d hate to disappoint. Have a great night!

  46. pagansister says:

    But of course, RomCath. It isn’t “Christian” spirituality.

  47. What kind of argument is it “…were you alive then?” Were you? It not, by your argument, how can you deny it? I attended a service years ago in Atlanta at the cathedral at which these very subjects were addressed. Read the histories of the Catholic Church in the American South, especially Kentucky, Georgia, and Louisiana, and there are scores of records of such slave ownership. Also in Maryland. As for the arguments offered about whether or not blacks had souls, these are too numerous to count. The Vatican examined such questions throughout the ages of European exploration of the New World, and came to different answers at different times about indigenous peoples in the different countries.
    The tipping point in the arguments finally was that the indigenous could be baptized, and offer additional numbers of Catholics in the competition for numbers of souls during the Reformation.There was fear that if the Roman faith did not claim the indigenous as converts to Catholicism, then the Protestants might win them instead.

  48. We have lots of bogus churchmen also using bogus truth, living off the fat of their faithful.

  49. naturgesetz says:

    “[W]ho really cares what the DNA says?” Those who want their thoughts to conform to the real world. Because what the DNA says is fact; what he feels is just that: a feeling.

    Yes he made the decision, but that does not mean that it was objectively a moral one, much less that the surgery and hormonal treatments changed the reality of who he is.

  50. pagansister says:

    Gerard: As I mentioned above to someone (McDonald?) it is not up to us to judge this woman’s decision. I know you are a scientist. As I also mentioned above, the reference to wonder if a person thinks they are some animal was IMO rather insulting to the new deacon. (or others with this problem). But I agree they have a problem if they think they are some kind of animal and it needs to be treated with whatever that entails—obviously not surgery. However, being a person not having encountered feeling as though I was born into the wrong body, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be disjointed in my thinking from what my physical body looked like. You brought up medical reasons that she might have had before the surgery that could make her think as a female instead of like the body she had. But you also said that you felt surgery was unnecessary. The therapy might just prolong her disjointed life. And no, I don’t believe clothing makes a woman a woman. If that is the case, I’m in trouble as I’m one who doesn’t wear perfume or if at all possible—no dresses–jeans/slacks make up my wardrobe—as a child I hated dresses, but they were required for “girls” in the old days! I wore jeans and slacks as a child whenever possible and have continued. Personally, I have no problem with a consenting adult with this situation having surgery if it makes their life happy. This surgery, like all surgery, should not be entered into without a lot of thought and in this case, trials as the opposite gender, to make sure that surgery will improve their life.

  51. I think we are speaking about moral truths not the sun and the earth. Your comment is irrelevant.

  52. ” I have no problem with a consenting adult with this situation having surgery if it makes their life happy. ”

    What a shock! Wonder if there is anything you do have problem with that involves morality.

  53. Your comment itself shows why Mark was correct to ask Drake for sources. Drake was claiming that in the 19th century the Catholic Church was debating whether or not blacks had souls. Your comment (still unsourced) now pushes this back to prior to the Reformation.
    “Too numerous” doesn’t cut it in any discussion intended to be helpful to anyone’s edification.

  54. Pagansister,

    You’ve stated clearly that there are some delusions with which you are comfortable (gender confusion), and some delusions with which you are not comfortable (Phylum, Class, Order,Family, Genus, species-confusion).

    In psychiatry and psycholgy, they are all classified as delusional and therefore mental illness. What I failed to mention in my above posting is the whole realm of conditioning and precipitating life events that can induce such confusion. It’s not okay to throw in the towel and mutilate a man in order to help him convince himself that he’s a woman. I don’t say the following to shock or to be puerile, but to legitimately consider what this surgery sets up both pathologically and morally after completion.

    If a man is mutilated in order to let him appear outwardly to be a woman, what does “she” do regarding sex partners. If the mutilated man now sleeps with men, then what we have had all along is an exquisitely confused and tortured homosexual.

    If “she” sleeps with women, then what we have had all along is a heterosexual man who has had surgery in order to allow himself to become convinced that he’s a lesbian.

    If “she” sleeps with both men and women, then we just have a mutilated bisexual.

    It’s so sad.

  55. And, regarding the individual being a “consenting adult,” I think a very strong case can be made that a delusional patient is by definition incapable of rendering anything that even resembles consent as regards surgery to reinforce the delusional pathology.

  56. Bill Russell says:

    This deacon/deaconess is just one more name to be chiseled on the tombstone of the Episcopal “Church.” In the canonical protocols of the Catholic Church, the Episcopalians constitute not a real church but an “ecclesial community.” Nonetheless, they included many noble souls over several centuries who would have been bewildered and appalled at what became of their tradition. Some heresies take longer to die than others, and it took several centuries for this one to die. Too bad that a group that prided itself on good form and civility should have been destroyed by such vulgar and confused people.

  57. Bill,

    It’s ending as it began. It was started by a vulgar and neurologically confused syphilitic, whose delusions and depravities were the result of the neurological degeneration in end-stage syphilis. His railing at Rome for an honorable annulment notwithstanding, Henry’s syphilis didn’t come from honorable marriage. The destruction of the Catholic Church in England and te subsequent slaughter of scores of thousands all sprang from his diseased loins.

  58. May this poor person find some sort of solace in God because she/he is disturbed. This is not normal.

  59. How can a divided church be “truly inclusive”?

  60. Mark Greta says:

    Thomas, I have to laugh when I hear “born in the wrong body.” What is saying of course is that God has made a mistake. Since that is not possible, it just might mean that you are given what you are supposed to have and need to make the most of it. That of course means you are supposed to care for it as a gift of God and so we have to guard against wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony all of which could have an impact on the body God gave us. I suggest if this person accepted what God provided and did a self examination of her soul instead of mutilation of her body, it might find peace. My wife Greta always joked about her body as clearly showing God’s sense of humor and my reply to that was he was clearly showing his wrath when he was busy with me. But we should not focus on this one person. A quick look at how much the USA spends on plastic surgery when others are in need of basics shows how far we have drifted from being one country under God.

  61. Mark Greta says:

    And God created man and woman. end of story.

  62. Mark Greta says:

    Drake, think you are confused here.

    “many Catholic 19th century institutions in the US owned slaves, and that many pamphlets and writings, as well as sermons, argued that blacks did not have souls (in other words, are not human”

    Think you meant to say Democrats rather than Catholic. The slave owners by and large also hated Catholics as witnessed when they got the democratic terror wing of the party going with the KKK. I suspect they would have had a strong welcome for this mutilated male.

    The Catholic Church on the other had created entire eduation systems, hospital systems, and other organizations which have cared for people, includuing blacks and every other nationality for centuries.

    You sure have a strong hatred of the Catholic Church and a very poor understanding of truth about that Church.

  63. What in the world does Galileo have to do with this issue?

  64. Episcopal Church in 1965: 3, 615,000 members
    2001: 2,317,000 members
    2010: 2,125,000 members

  65. There’s a big difference between intolerance and disapproval. As a Catholic Christian, I have no issues with tolerance of this person. However, as a Catholic Christian, I disapprove of his/her behavior (I’m not trying to be funny, I really don’t know the right word to use in referring to this person.) It has become customary to quickly label voiced disapproval as intolerance, and thus categorize it, ridicule it, and ignore it while engaging in ad hominem attacks against the person who issued the critique. However, it is the right of each of us to decide where we stand on an issue like this. Some who have posted above see this as a wonderful thing, I personally see it as sad and sinful. It is my obligation to tolerate and love the sinner, while at the same time condemning the sin. I would not go out of my way to hurt or denigrate this person, but if he/she were a friend of mine I would definitely feel the need to discuss their behavior with them, as I would with any friend who was engaging in what I am guided by the doctrines of the Church to consider sin. And God gives them the free will to ignore me if they wish. I am certainly not without sin myself, and all sin is an offense to God. However, God has shown many times that he is willing to forgive sin if the heart of the sinner isn’t rebellious and true repentance occurs (i.e. David). God gives us the right to choose a sinful lifestyle, although He specifies consequences for such a choice. It is up to each of us to choose whether to follow God (in the way He specifies, not in the way we deem best).

    There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Prov. 14:12. God sets the ground rules. It is His earth, his heaven, and his plan of salvation. We can go His way or go our own way, but to hold that we can reap the benefits of salvation while obstinately engaging in behavior condemned by scripture is, to put it mildly, wishful thinking.

  66. It strikes me that if we Catholics truly believed we were in possession of the fullness of revelation, and at the same time recognized that all of us are, to a degree, “disabled” by sin from living into the fullness of the divine image, we would fill this combox with prayer for someone we believed to be in error. Please tell me how ad hominem (the term is interesting in this context) attacks on Deacon Woodall’s mental health, moral judgment, and spiritual life, and those of any commenters who fail sufficiently to castigate and vilify the Deacon, witness to our security in the truth, our joy in God’s creation, and our loving invitation to conversion? This is not to mention off-point rantings about the ignorance of those who dare to suggest that individual Church leaders and members of the faithful failed to live up to the Church’s teachings on the evils of slavery (which they demonstrably did, as even the Catholic Encyclopedia admits that US hierarchy generally supported slave ownership, but not trade, by Catholics) and the characterization of another Christian communion with whom we pray for union as the fruit of syphilitic loins.

    Deacon Greg’s blog is, for me, a powerful instrument of the New Evangelization, but one in grave danger of being sabotaged by the viciousness of the rhetoric in the comboxes.

  67. “(I’m not trying to be funny, I really don’t know the right word to use in referring to this person.)”


    That’s a good point to raise. I think the only sane and rational course is to use objective reality as our guide. He was born a man, and every cell in his body contains an XY sex chromosome pairing (male) as opposed to an XX chromosome pairing (female). To do otherwise would mean that our lexicon is not guided by objective reality, but by the patient’s delusional ideation. We can’t very well be a light to the nations if we are to be shaped by every manner of delusion and perversion for fear of offending.

  68. jkm,

    You presume a great deal. You presume that people who stand against the perversion of medicine by practitioners who profit from mutilating poor deluded souls are not also praying for those corrupt practitioners and poor deluded souls. The discussion of the merits or demerits of mutilating psychiatric patients (and by DSM V classification, this deacon is a psychiatric patient) does not need to be accompanied by a liturgy in the comboxes, and I’m glad its not. I’ve seen too many people pervert prayer by using it as a weapon against those with whom they disagree.

    If you are suggesting that correctly identifying mental illness is somehow an ad hominem attack on the patient, then you miss the historical significance of 20th Century Psychology and Psychiatry which led us out of the dark ages of how mentally ill patients are treated by carefully and systematically studying and classifying mental illness and working to devise humane and efficacious treatments. Physicians who mutilate patients betray all of that magnificent history, but most of all their delusional patients.

    As for Henry’s loins, Jesus taught us that by their fruits shall we know them. He knew then, as now, that there would be plenty of phonies who would seriously lead people astray. The Anglican chickens have come home to roost, and increasingly those who are given to the truth are returning to Rome because their bishops have made a vulgar mockery and sideshow of their faith. Ordaining a mutilated man who is convinced he is a woman and then holding him out as a woman to the congregation is a new low. Yes, it all sprang from Henry’s syphilitic loins. Syphilis degrades the rational centers in the brain and induces powerful paranoid ideations and wild swings in affect. The difference between the young Henry and the murderous “reformer” bears witness to the clinical progression of this disease.

  69. At times it is best to pray. And keep our thought to ourselves.

  70. ron chandonia says:

    At times, but not all times–at least when it comes to keeping quiet about news items like this. Thanks to political correctness, we regularly clam up when we read or hear about examples of changing sexual mores that are celebrated in the popular media as milestones in human progress. Even Christians who adhere to traditional morality do not like to be considered intolerant of individuals who may have struggled mightily with temptations that are perhaps different from our own.
    But if we later speak out against proposed public policies that will make the behaviors we have tolerated in silence normative for our whole society–like proposals for redefining marriage itself–we face even more hostility than we would have if we had spoken up all along. People whose divergent lifestyles and life-choices we have quietly tolerated often do not prove so indulgent when they have the upper hand.

  71. I really dont follow the on goings in the Episcopal Church, but when stories like these come to light, it just strikes me that their Church uses these people to make statements about their Church rather than selecting and forming people who have vocations. I mean they have to know that by doing something like this it will gain exposure and will continue to alienate most people. You can be inclusive and welcome this person in your Church, but why promote them to a leadership position?

  72. pagansister says:

    And feelings are important, naturgesetz.

    Mark Greta: apparently that isn’t the end of the story.

  73. pagansister says:

    Yes, RomCath, in spite of what you think, I do have problems with some things that —as you put it–”involve morality”. However I’m not going to go into that with you.

  74. pagansister says:

    Gerard, I read where you are coming from, which is no suprise. I, not being educated in your line of work, come at things from a different point of view. I do respect yours, but truely am happy that this woman has hopefully improved her life after making the decision she did. I’m not coimg at it,( probably obviously) from a religious point or medical point of view, but one of thinking that people deserve to be happy —and who is she hurting? Not anyone else (unless her family who can’t accept her decision—don’t know) but If her family loves her perhaps they will (or have) accept her decision. Thank you for your responses.

  75. People should make an issue of things like this? Perhaps the main stream media should pick up the story and have it on their national news for a few days or week. Maybe this person should be run out of town or run out of the country. Priests and ministers should preach about it. Maybe Rush could comment.

    I am not saying this person does not have issues. How are comments from other people going to help them or society?

  76. “Isn’t all mankind…”


    That is your Ecclesiology 101 lesson for the day.

  77. Mark Greta says:

    pagansister, yes it is the end of the story. God created man and woman. Seems like this is well covered in scripture, the Cathecism, and in Vatican II documents on our need for the unity of soul and body as created by God and that to mutilate the body is something to be avoided with minor exceptions. While this person is not a Catholic obviously, since this is a Catholic blog site, seems like it makes sense to follow Catholic teaching when we look at issues of the world.

    Catholic Catechism, item 2297
    “Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reason, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.”

    Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:19:

    “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

    Vatican II document titled: “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.” It stated that:

    “Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather 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.”

  78. Mysteriously for your thesis regarding the Democratic Party, Catholics arriving in the urban centers of the U.S. were welcomed into the party, despite your thesis that it was comprised of anti-black and anti-Catholic bigots.

  79. pagansister says:

    Mark Greta: Following your beliefs, it is the end of the story, but in this case, the woman had the wrong body for the gender set mentally that she was born with—even though there are many who don’t agree with that and feel she is delusional. Man and woman were created in your belief system by God. She is a woman, so nothing has changed. She is now in her proper body for her mental assignment of female. She is an adult who needs to be, IMO, respected for her decision. It really has no effect on anyone but her in the end.

  80. the Episcopal Church has a total baptized membership—worldwide, mind you—of about 2,000,000, or about .03% of the world population (using 6 billion as the population of the world).

    You’re misreading the data. The Episcopal Church is the portion of the Anglican Communion that is primarily based in the U.S, although it is responsible for some Anglicans elsewhere. The Anglican Communion has a worldwide membership of about 80 million so it is about 1.3% of the world’s population (whereas the Episcopal Church in the USA is about .6% of the population).

  81. Feelings, nothing more than feelings…….Gee. I think I heard that song before.

  82. i will go to bed tonight and thank God I was not an Episcopalian.


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