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Norms to bar transsexuals from religious orders. (World).

VATICAN CITY: The Vatican has sent superiors of religious orders a confidential document prohibiting transsexuals from entering consecrated life and requiring expulsion or suspension of religious who undergo sex-change operations. Citing the issue's complexity and the danger of scandal, the document instructs superiors of men's and women's religious orders to submit cases of transsexualism to the Vatican's doctrinal congregation.

The three-page document was prepared by the doctrinal congregation and sent to superiors with a Jan. 15 cover letter from Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The text acknowledges that transsexualism is a "rare pathology" but said issues surrounding sexual identity and sex change were commonly accepted in modern culture and "also raise important problems in the ecclesial ambient."

The document is an adaptation of a larger doctrinal congregation study on transsexualism and its implications for church marriages, priestly ordination, religious life and parish baptismal records first reported in the media Jan. 14. Those reports said that according to the study nonordained members of religious orders who undergo sex-change procedures must be expelled (NCR, Jan. 24).
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Author:Donovan, Gill
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EXVA
Date:Feb 14, 2003
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