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Catholic school system requires students to use biological pronouns and birth names

"Pope Francis has repeatedly stressed the importance of a proper understanding of our sexuality," the policy states.

Published: August 21, 2023 7:49am

Updated: August 21, 2023 1:13pm

A Massachusetts Catholic school system issued a new policy requiring students to use their biological pronouns and names given to them at birth in a move that will affect more than 5,000 students. 

The Diocese of Worcester, which is about 45 miles west of Boston, announced last week that Bishop Robert McManus earlier this summer approved a policy titled "Catholic Education and the Human Person" for all schools under its jurisdiction starting this fall.

The policy states: "Pope Francis has repeatedly stressed the importance of a proper understanding of our sexuality, warning of the challenge posed by ‘the various forms of an ideology of gender that denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences.'"

The pope has ardently spoken out against gender ideology on numerous occasions.

Students under the policy are expected to act according to their biological sex, including in school sports, uniforms and locker rooms. Exceptions for bathroom use may be granted on a "limited, case-by-case-basis" as determined by the principal, according to the policy.

The school said that bullying or harassment against students for their sexual orientation or identity "will not be tolerated."

Additionally, the policy states: "Students may not advocate, celebrate, or express same-sex attraction in such a way as to cause confusion or distraction in the context of Catholic school classes, activities, or events." 

The district's superintendent, David Perda, said that although "some schools had policies in place, others did not," and an increase in "individual situations" sparked the need for a single policy for all schools.

The New York Times reported that the policy will apply to all 21 schools under the diocese, but it is unclear whether it will also apply to the diocese's three colleges: Anna Maria College, Assumption College and College of the Holy Cross.

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