That the Church authentically respects nature is proven by her respect for the natural processes of the human person. She promotes natural, rather than artificial, family planning. She defends natural, rather than artificial, marriage and sexual practices. And for this consistency in respecting nature she is condemned.
Is it not curious that many “greens,” who advocate strict respect for nature, also advocate decidedly unnatural sexual practices? What true environmentalist would chemically interfere with nature’s fertility cycles? Artificial contraceptives not only throw the human endocrine system into chaos, leading to higher rates of cancer, but they also poison our water systems and kill entire populations of marine life. What real Green would violently interrupt natural reproduction through forced abortion? What person respectful of the natural order would promote homosexual unions, which is found in nature only in aberration? But the most outrageous hypocrisy, perhaps, is the support of “naturalists” for so-called “sex reassignment surgery” (SRS). One cannot change one’s sex just by sewing on fake genitalia and taking artificial hormones. A man cannot become a woman, but only the appearance and artificial illusion of a woman. George Burou, a Casablancan physician who has operated on over seven hundred American men, explained, “I don’t change men into women. I transform male genitals into genitals that have a female aspect. All the rest is in the patient’s mind.” This is not to discount the real pain men and women suffer from sexual trauma. In a sexually-dysfunctional society, an increasing number of people grow up with sexual identity crises. But so-called SRS, while it may grant the appearance of a solution, only worsens their condition. It is a surgical response to a psychological condition, rather like cutting someone’s head open who suffers from depression. (Linked to this blog is a good article on SRS from the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.)
How is it that we imagine we can change our very nature? Man will always wonder about his identity, which is mysterious. But if we deny the fact that we did not make ourselves, then the mystery of our identity takes on terrifying dimensions. If we doubt God’s existence, we are cast into terrible doubt of our own nature. Without Nature and Nature’s God, we don’t know where we came from and where we are going. This is particularly so in the question of sexual identity.
I got on a bus one night in San Francisco. At the following stop a lesbian got on, dressed in tough clothing with a butch haircut. But she was tired, and her feminine nature was impossible to hide. Also at that stop a transvestite man got on. His long hair, false breasts, and flamboyant clothing did not mask his masculine nature either. The lesbian seemed so feminine compared to him, and he so masculine compared to her—I suppose they were both too tired to maintain their respective illusions. I chuckled at their attempted disguises, and rejoiced in spirit that their natural beauty could not be hidden. Certainly they needed help to accept their nature, but a sex-change operation they did not need. They needed real compassion, not a city-funded mutilation of their natural and healthy organs.
At conception nature makes us male or female. Our sex is written on every cell of our bodies, and determines the development of our brains from our mother’s womb. If it seems that confused people, angry at nature (just as I wrote these words the Superior of the convent here in Peru brought me a newspaper with the news of the bombing of a Boston metro station), are destroying the natural order, let us not be too disturbed. Yes, many will suffer from the chaos gripping our society. All of us will suffer when man disrespects the natural order. But God’s harmony, expressed in this beautiful world, will always recover. We cannot destroy nature, nor even the nature of our own bodies. Nature’s beauty and order, guided by Nature’s God, will always right itself eventually. We are not so mighty as we think: nature will always have the last word.