In Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s Facebook group we normally post only articles for discussion that we have published. Occasionally we post links to other sources that are relevant to our articles. Yesterday evening we shared the link to the Transgender Youth Clinic at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital with the following introductory remarks:
For your information. This is how transgender identity is addressed by the medical profession. Any Orthodox theological and pastoral response must be based on the best science available to us.
Archbishop Lazar has graciously consented to our publishing his response to the group. We suggest that you read his comments along with Bishop to Bishop: Straight from Confession to Suicide and Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago’s insistence that science matters on questions of sexuality and gender.
The key here is “the best science available” and “medical science.” Religio-political ideology will not do. Late Iron Age concepts will simply not do.
It may be that in some aspects the “best science” and careful medical science will not have complete answers; however, the fact that they do not have complete and final answers to a matter does not give somebody who is not a scientist in this specific field of study, in particular not a medical scientist, an excuse to pontificate or vigorously advocate an anecdotal ideology.
Ideologies which are based in fear and hate are still less admissible and acceptable.
Ignorance is no substitute for faith, and faith which is so arrogant that it thinks it has answers to which the best science is counter—science which has the humility to state clearly that it will not have all the answers or complete answers yet.
The ignorant and arrogant egotists [in the Church] who claim that they do have all and absolute answers about something for which science does not have all the answers yet should simply be ignored out of hand, as they do not have the integrity or humanity to be taken seriously.
If I did write [an article] about this, it would be a castigation of the ignorant and egotistical people who think that science is the one that is deficient while they are all-knowing. Neither ignorance nor arrogance is a substitute for faith.
Nor, in fact, are fear and hate a substitute for faith and love.
See the Fifty Years after Stonewall and extensive Sexuality and Gender sections in our Archives.
LGBTQI persons and their loved ones who require pastoral support may reach out confidentially to editor Giacomo Sanfilippo at firstname.lastname@example.org. He alone has access to our email account. You may also contact him by private message on Twitter @GiacoSanfilippo. We may be able to connect you with a priest in our Special Kind of Clergy Directory.
Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo) is a retired hierarch in the Archdiocese of Canada of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), founder of All Saints of North America Monastery in Dewdney BC with its Synaxis Press and Orthodox Canada: The Canadian Journal of Orthodox Christian Thought and Theology, and author of On the Neurobiology of Sin. See his A Brief Note: The Past Is not Our Destination, Fear Is not the Way and his his June 18, 2018 letter to the editors in response to the border crisis at the US-Mexico border.