Thursday, November 28, 2013

Puhalo rants again... on Transgenderism and Intersexuality

On his Facebook page, the retired vagante Archbishop, Lazar Puhalo, has decided to attack me and attribute to me things that I have not said, in order to cover up the things that he has in fact said.

In a youtube video, dated March 18, 2011, Puhalo expressed his views that it is perfectly acceptable for those who wish to identify themselves with the opposite sex to do so, or for them to actually have a sex change operation. It is very clear from his comments that he is not speaking about those born with ambiguous genitalia, or the intersex. He is speaking about those who believe that they are men trapped in female bodies, or women trapped in male bodies. He says that it is the brain that determines one's sex, not their bodies.

This view is in complete opposition with the views expressed by the rest of the Church on this issue. For example, the Russian Orthodox Church issued a statement directly addressing this matter:

"Sometimes perverted human sexuality is manifested in the form of the painful feeling of one’s belonging to the opposite sex, resulting in an attempt to change one’s sex (transsexuality). One’s desire to refuse the sex that has been given him or her by the Creator can have pernicious consequences for one’s further development. «The change of sex» through hormonal impact and surgical operation has led in many cases not to the solution of psychological problems, but to their aggravation, causing a deep inner crisis. The Church cannot approve of such a «rebellion against the Creator» and recognise as valid the artificially changed sexual affiliation. If «a change of sex» happened in a person before his or her Baptism, he or she can be admitted to this Sacrament as any other sinner, but the Church will baptise him or her as belonging to his or her sex by birth. The ordination of such a person and his or her marriage in church are inadmissible.

Transsexuality should be distinguished from the wrong identification of the sex in one’s infancy as a result of doctors’ mistake caused by a pathological development of sexual characteristics. The surgical correction in this case is not a change of sex" (The Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, section XII. Problems of bioethics, sub section 9).

I have quoted this passage repeatedly, when discussing this issue, including the second paragraph that makes the distinction between transgenderism, and those who are born with some sexual ambiguity.

The idea that someone might be born with such problems is not a new discovery. Christ Himself spoke of this in Matthew 19:12:

"For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."

Puhalo is now suggesting that I have somehow attacked those born with these conditions, or that I deny that such people exist. Of course both claims are false, and I suspect he knows it... which he certainly would if he bothered to read what I have said on the subject. The Church does not object to surgical corrections of such conditions, when they can be corrected. And in fact it does not object to correcting a mistaken gender assignment with subsequent surgery. But this is just a red herring, because Puhalo does not wish to deal with the fact that what he actually has advocated is completely at odds with what the Church teaches.

I am glad that the OCA was able to bring Puhalo and his follows out of the bogus jurisdictions that he has at various times been affiliated with, and bring them back into the Orthodox Church. The OCA synod of Bishops should, however, take measures to ensure that this "retired Archbishop" not spout heresy, as he has regularly done on this and several other issues.

Update: On Puhalo's Facebook page, he posted the following update:

"Let us make it abundantly clear: The doctrine of the Orthodox Church holds that sexual intercourse between people of the same gender is a sin. Moreover, the Orthodox Church will never accept, or even consider accepting, same sex marriages. This is unequivocally the doctrine of the Orthodox Church. This is not an excuse to persecute, bully or harm anyone, but it is clearly the doctrine of the Church."

Now, that sounds good enough, as far as it goes. But you will notice he states what the Church teaches, but does not express his agreement with it. And when someone posted their complaint "To continue labelling as "sin" anything that we fail to understand and incorporate to our preconceptions is a grave insult to human dignity and intelligence." Puhalo replied:"I have been forbidden by "higher ups" to express any truth about the nature of the issue, so I only express the official doctrine of the Church" (November 24 at 12:26am).

This is good news, in as much as it indicates that the Bishops of the OCA have begun to rein him in. However, it is clear that Puhalo intends to continue promoting his heretical views on human sexuality, with a wink and a nod when necessary.

Update: Puhalo recently did a radio interview, along with Frank Schaeffer in which he again stated that he is forbidden by the Synod of the OCA to speak on "certain issues". He also once again makes the false claim that there are those in the Orthodox Church who deny that there are people born with ambiguous genitalia, and other such nonsense.