CARDINAL NEWMAN SOCIETY — Seeking “a fair and safe playing field for all children and young adults,” the U.S. bishops in October backed federal legislation to prevent schools and colleges from allowing male athletes—including those who identify as transgender—to participate in female sports.
The bishops’ position should not be surprising. It reflects the Church’s clear teaching that gender is not divisible from biological sex, and that men and women should not be treated as identical despite sharing equal dignity and humanity. The Church has a long history of single-sex education and athletics programs, recognizing both physical and social differences between the sexes while protecting students’ safety, development and chastity.
But in athletics programs at many Catholic schools and colleges today, the Church’s teaching is less clear. Some participate in athletics conferences that allow students to declare their gender and compete against students of the opposite sex, while others have similar internal policies.
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