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The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

I have a strong feeling that I was born in the wrong body-gender wise. What should I do about that?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

Consult professionals who deal with people who experience your condition.  It is only relatively recently in human history that we have discovered so much about our world (think of the advances in physics and biology these past 100 years) and ourselves (sexuality wasn’t even spoken about in very recent eras).  The reality of transgender people may be as old as humanity but the ability to do something to transform a person’s gender on both the physical and psychological levels is only a few decades old.  One who feels trapped in the “wrong” body should consult widely.  Most importantly, take your feelings to God in prayer and listen long and lovingly to what God desires of you in this life.

The Church’s moral teaching urges us to live lives of virtue.  Our lives are happy when we habitually follow St. Thomas Aquinas’s adage “do good and avoid evil.”  We are all called to live the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, and the cardinal virtues of prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice (CCC #1803-1845)   Can transgendered persons live such virtuous lives?  Yes.  The proof is that so many do.

Fr. Rick Malloy, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, fisherman and author.  He is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, and serves as a Chaplain at the college.  His book, A Faith That Frees: Catholic Matters for the 21st Century, (Orbis Books 2007) examines the relationships between the practices of faith and the cultural currents and changes so rapidly occurring in our ever more technologized and globalized world.

The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Roger May

    While I don’t want to seem like I’m trying to discredit what Steven is saying, I’d like to offer a word of caution regarding the following quote from his post:

    “AS YOU ARE, you are a person approved by God…”

    Personally, I think there is a very serious danger in confusing the love of God and the approval of God. I agree that the Love of God is constantly extended to us–it is unimaginably vast and measureless to quote an old song. But in His great love, He still hates sin. When we sin, we are not approved by God. Loved? Absolutely! Always! But why would God approve of our participating in harmful activities? Sacred Scripture teaches us that God’s law was put in place for our own good. God knows that the natural consequences of sin are harmful – even fatal.

    Now in this particular situation, I would say that I agree that a fresh look from another perspective would be very helpful. To say, however, that God approves of us all as we are just bc we are made in His image could be very harmful if taken the wrong way.

  • Steve Pickens

    Have you thought that perhaps you were also born on the wrong planet.

    You are making the assumption that something is awry because you think or feel a certain way. The first thing I urge you to consider is whether the “normal” you are comparing yourself to has any basis in reality. This is where the “expert” comes in. Write down the assumptions that you are comparing yourself to. Take them with you to talk to someone YOU trust to be 1) successful 2) rational. Successful because they have found a way to fit into reality. 2) because many believers see things only through the prism of the poetry of their beliefs. They are not objective.

    My concern is that you consider yourself “not normal” because your definition of “normal” is messed up.

    AS YOU ARE, you are a person approved by God. You are created in God’s image right now as you are and deserve to love of others. If for some reason, you think that your life is not valuable, the problem might not be in the person you are, but in the way you are thinking.

    All beliefs are subject to question. Even ours.

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