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Bishops’ Transgender Day tweet criticised

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In a controversial tweet, the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales observed 'Transgender Day of Remembrance'

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has received strong criticism after posting a tweet observing “Transgender Day of Remembrance” on Tuesday.

A tweet from the bishops’ conference’s official account offered prayers for “all people who are ill at ease with their gender, seek to change it, suffer for it and have been persecuted, and also killed.”

“All people are loved by God and valued in their inherent God-given dignity,” they added.

The message drew heavy criticism online, including from clergy.

Fr Marcus Holden, a priest in the Archdiocese of Southwark, said he was “surprised” to see the message, adding that the tweet promoted “ideological colonisation”.

“While we must pray for everyone who has died and fight against persecutions of any group of vulnerable people, ‘Transgender Remembrance Day’ is part of an ‘ideological colonisation’ which Catholics cannot support,” he wrote.

He added: “It’s important that great charity is shown to all individuals even those we disagree with. At the same time we need to be strong and consistent in resisting harmful ideologies that can hurt and trap people. But we must not use the weapons of the enemy even for that good end.”

Fr Holden told the Catholic Herald he did not believe the bishops wrote the message, and that it must come from another source.

In a now deleted tweet, the Ordinariate’s Twitter account also said: “The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham wishes to dissociate itself from this message and calls into question the Catholicity of those who have approved its publication.”

The Ordinariate later removed the tweet, saying: “The Tweet referred to did not come from an offical [sic] Ordinariate source in the first place. We have taken steps to secure the Twitter site against further misuse.”

They added: “The first anyone in the Ordinariate had heard of ‘Transgender Remembrance Day’ was the tweet from the Bishops’ Conference. There has not been time to consider any official response. We are trying to find out where the idea came from.”

 

The remembrance day was started in 1999 by transgender activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith to memorialise the murder of a transgender woman.

The Catholic Herald has contacted the bishops’ conference and the ordinariate for comment.