Friday, June 05, 2015

Ora pro eo - PRAY FOR HIM


BRUCE JENNER (alias Caitlyn) is in desperate need of our prayers. Pathetically, there are some who uncharitably and sarcastically lampoon his recent 'transgendering' and on the opposite end of the spectrum there are some who not just tolerate and condone, but they also praise and admire him for what he has done.  Making fun of the situation does not help. It is a very serious matter and our society and culture must recognize that. It is also a serious mental illness in need of treatment. Bruce is biologically a man. He is male no matter how he has transformed his appearance. Genetically, Bruce has XY chromosomes. Only males have XY chromosomes. Females have XX chromosomes. Bruce was born a man, raised a man, and lived as a man for all his life. His delusion that he is a woman or that he is female is a psychosis, it is not reality.

Recently, there appeared on Face Book and other social media the phenomenon of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It is a condition where healthy men and women believe (erroneously) that they need an amputation. Medically speaking, their limbs are completely healthy. There is no reason to amputate, however, people suffering from BDD insist their limbs are alien (not theirs) and must be removed. Only a quack doctor would remove a healthy limb and he or she would be guilty of malpractice and lose their license. Treatment for BDD is not surgery, but psychological counseling.

Likewise, Bruce Jenner needs therapy. He is in need of counseling. He does not need surgery, operations or hormone shots. Instead of laughing at him or worse yet, in pretending this is normal and acceptable behavior, society and the media need to HELP him get better. HE needs to accept himself as he is and who he is. 

Who is he hurting? Himself and others who may have the same disorder. Society's acceptance will lead to others following in his footsteps. What would happen if a celebrity announced that they are part animal and part human? What if that person sought medical procedures to transform their body to look like a dog, a cat or an ape? Appearance alone does not make something what it is. Aristotle proved that logically when he distinguished and differentiated accidents (appearance) from substance. Gender is a major part of who we are. It is not the only component but it is a major one. While male and female are equal in the eyes of God spiritually and metaphysically, each gender has its own unique characteristics. They complement one another. That is why marriage is restricted to one man and one woman. Men have friends who also men and they can love other men, too (paternal, filial, fraternal) but men can only marry women and vice versa. Likewise, being a man or being a woman is a constitutive part of your identity. The soul has no gender for it is spiritual, however, man is not just a soul imprisoned in a body. He is a necessary union of body and soul. Matter and form. Hylomorphic. This is why we believe in the resurrection of the body on the Last Day at the End of the World. Our souls will be forever reunited with our bodies. Men will get their male bodies back and women will get their female bodies back. The difference is that they will be glorified. Jesus rose from the dead and His physical body remained male.  He did not become asexual nor a hermaphrodite. The Virgin Mary had her female body assumed into heaven united with her immortal soul.

It is disconcerting that celebrities, the news media, social media and many others are acting as if this were just a personal choice Bruce Jenner made and we have to support him. Yes, support him by encouraging him to get help, mental help. Operations and drugs cannot change what nature has already decided. Those who are confused about their gender or who dislike the gender they have are not in the same category as someone who changes their hair color or who wears different colored eye contacts. Gender is important as is our human nature. In fact, gender is part of our human nature. A human being is either a man or a woman. Not both and not neither.

Rather than cheers or jeers, Bruce needs PRAYERS. We need to tell our youth that this was a bad choice and it is not a valid nor good choice, anymore than it would be a good decision to have a healthy limb amputated. We should have empathy and sympathy for Bruce but toleration and endorsement is not the solution. He needs spiritual as well as mental help.  PRAYER is what HE needs. His family needs prayer. There will always be those who say "live and let live." If someone cuts and mutilates himself, that is not healthy behavior. Gender mutilation is no different. It is not funny nor is it none of our business.  We are our brother's (and sister's) keeper. We must offer help and treatment to those tormented souls who falsely believe they are the wrong gender. Condoning and sensationalizing this problem is not for the common good. Do we as a society not encourage the alcoholic or drug addict to seek helpful treatment? Why would abusing your gender not be the same? 

This is not biased, prejudiced or hateful. This is being Christian that we pray for each other's recovery from our illnesses. It is not Christian to humiliate Bruce through unkind lampooning but it is Christian to hope and pray that he will get better, not that society will just look the other way. Bruce, like all human beings, is made in the image and likeness of God. He deserves the same respect afforded all human beings. His imprudent and his bad decisions and choices, however, do not de facto warrant our approval or toleration if they threaten the common good of others or if they harm him. Less snickering and more praying are in order.

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