Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

Christian Matson (OSV News/Facebook)

United States Catholic bishops have asked for guidance from their episcopal conference following the public disclosure of transgenderism by a Lexington diocesan hermit. Source: OSV News.

“This issue is now on our agenda,” said Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, chair of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance.

“Other bishops may be looking at this, and they’ve asked about this. And so we will try to give a clear analysis that will give the doctrinal and canonical guidelines that hopefully will be helpful to any bishop.”

Bishop Paprocki spoke on Friday after the final public session of the USCCB’s 2024 Spring Plenary Assembly in Louisville, Kentucky.

Br Christian Matson, a 39-year-old hermit for the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky, came out as transgender on Pentecost Sunday (May 19, 2024), having been received as such when professing vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to Bishop John Stowe a year prior.

Bishop Stowe told Religion News Service in a May 19 article that he regarded Br Matson as “a sincere person seeking a way to serve the Church”.

The bishop said “hermits are a rarely used form of religious life … but they can be either male or female. Because there’s no pursuit of priesthood or engagement in sacramental ministry, and because the hermit is a relatively quiet and secluded type of vocation, I didn’t see any harm in letting him live this vocation.”

But Bishop Paprocki said that following a “preliminary discussion” by the canonical affairs and governance committee, “the initial consensus … was that it’s not really possible for a (transgender) person to be admitted to the role of a hermit or consecrated life if they are not repentant of what they’ve done.”

“Consecrated life is vowing yourself to God, and the Church’s teaching on transgender ideology is very clear,” Bishop Paprocki said.

He also noted an apparent incongruence between Br Matson’s public disclosure and the hermit vocation, which is to “withdraw and to dedicate yourself to a life of private prayer with God”. 


US bishops’ canonical committee to offer ‘clear analysis’ of transgenderism and consecrated life (By Gina Christian, OSV News)