Because of this Special Report, we interrupt our regularly scheduled tour of Summa Contra Gentiles. It returns next week.
The Archdiocese of New York held its first ever men’s conference on Saturday. Your Roving Reporter was there.
It was packed. Five hundred souls stuffed into the upper reaches of Fordham University. There was less room than on a Delta Airlines flight. More than a hundred were relegated to a waiting list. Besides the comforts of the liturgies of the hours, a eucharistic procession, and a mass, there were three speakers.
Joe Klecko, ex-defensive linesman of the New York Jets, loomed over the crowd and dared anyone to disagree with him. Damon Owens, director of the Theology of the Body Institute, told us that he had “Eight children; all of them boys…except for the first seven.”
And also Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who punched up the day’s theme, Men, Be Who You Are, starting with remembering St John Paul II’s lamentation on our culture’s emphasis on “having and doing” rather than on “being.” The loss of essence. This leads to the failed philosophies of utilitarianism and pragmatism, systems where people are “judged worthy by their utility”, which might sound all right, until you consider that when people can no longer fulfill their assigned function they become “a burden, an inconvenience, and without a second thought, are disposed of.” For instance, abortion.
Dolan said a man came to him and said, “I’m gay.” “No, you’re not,” Dolan replied. “You’re a man.” We are not, and cannot be, defined by our urges, especially our sexual urges. If we are so defined, what do we make of woofies, those individuals who desire relations with (non-human) animals? Are they a breed apart? No longer men but animals themselves? And what of those with even more curious sexual desires, such as men who pretend to be women? Do these people become something other than men? Yes, says society. The loss of essence.
Now a man claims to be a woman “trapped” inside a man, or, anyway, that he is not a man in fact but instead a woman. How does this man know he is a woman? To answer that, we must first understand the terms in the proposition. To know is to assert a truth, which is easy enough. So what is woman?
Any attempt at answering that inevitably leads to inescapable scientific truths such as “A woman is a human being without a Y chromosome”, and “A woman has naturally developing breasts and certain reproductive organs: ovaries, fallopian tubes, Bartholin’s glands, and the like,” and other such propositions.
Suppose a woman develops breast cancer and subsequently has mastectomies. Nobody would say that this unfortunate lady is not a woman because of lack of breasts, because we know that in the absence of the cancer and surgery it is in the nature of a woman to have breasts. Similarly, a man having surgery to implant bags of silicone under his chest has not turned into a woman because silicone bags are not breasts.
Neither are the swellings caused by estrogen injections in males breasts. Gynecomastia does not produce “working”, which is to say, real breasts; for instance, a baby could not be fed with them. No surgery can swap two X chromosomes with an X and a Y in any, let alone every, cell in a human’s body. Some rare males have two Y chromosomes, and others are born with other abnormalities, a term which recognizes that human nature exists and its qualities are known.
Finally, for instance, a person who has an artificial heart is still a person even though it is in the nature of persons to have real hearts. The artificial heart has not “turned”—magically transformed—the person into something which is not a person, e.g. a robot.
So everybody knows what a woman is. And so everybody knows that a man pretending to be one is not one. Just as everybody knows, or should know, that there is no such thing as a “sex change” operation or treatment. You cannot change what you are. Not by desire and certainly not by artificial means.
The loss of essence, of the knowledge of nature, insists there are no differences between men and women, a preposterous proposition that contains its own refutation. We would not be able to state it without knowing—truly knowing—that it is false. We cannot be what we desire. We must be who we are. We must be men.