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The Albany Protocol

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 13, 2004

Thomas à Kempis fans will remember Denise Brennan, the erstwhile Fr. Dennis Brennan of the Diocese of Albany, who in January 2000 wrote a circular letter to parishioners announcing that he had been diagnosed with "gender dysphoria," that he "had always been conscious of [his] inner female gender," that he had legally changed the sex identification on his driver's licence, and that he was awaiting gender reassignment surgery. I don't need to mention the many gifts he brought to his 33 years of priestly ministry. Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard insisted at the time that Brennan was making a mistake:

"Bishop Hubbard has strongly opposed Father Brennan in his desire to be transformed into a woman, and he has made that opposition very clear," said the Rev. Kenneth Doyle, Hubbard's spokesman.

Fr. Ken "the bishop is miffed" Doyle has made something of a career in broken-bat singles, and it's hard to know whether Hubbard was "strongly opposed" to Brennan's sex change the way a father is strongly opposed to his son's taking health instead of calculus, or strongly opposed the way a mother is strongly opposed to a stranger's robbing her stroller and making off with her baby. Any way you look at it the language is off-center. Very likely Brennan was too deranged to be capable of a responsible decision in any direction; in that case, you make it plain he's a very sick man; you don't position yourself as "strongly opposed" to his option for suicide.

As it happens, Brennan's letter portrays Hubbard as anything but rigid in his disapproval, and claims that it was the bishop who brokered the contact with the doc who came through with the "gender-dysphoria" ticket:

"It is of very great significance that I have benefited from the understanding and guidance of Bishop Hubbard, who sat down with me and a key doctor after having consulted, by telephone, with other therapists."

But wait. This isn't a used car dealership. We also have to consider the religious angle.

"The bishop has also ensured that I have received the very best spiritual direction."

Why am I not surprised?

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Feb. 15, 2004 8:33 AM ET USA

    After years of study to tell us what we already knew, Rome ruled that such "gender reassignment" is merely cosmetic, a superficial change of appearance and not really a change in sex. It also said that people who have had this done were to be kept out of holy orders and religious orders. Now, what happens to "Denise?" He, and I do mean he, could still validly celebrate a Mass. Think of the scandal and confusion that will cause. There are lots of jokes that could be made, but this is very serious

  • Posted by: - Feb. 13, 2004 6:06 PM ET USA

    Many politically correct therapists, psychiatrists, and surgeons will justify "gender reassignment surgery", and the problematic bishop should have discounted this option immediately. Instead, he should have wondered: Is this really gender dysphoria...or is it a desire for a form of genital self-mutilation secondary to psychiatric illness (or perhaps secondary to demonic influences)?!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 13, 2004 3:25 PM ET USA

    Gilbert! Sullivan! D'Oyly Carte! Come quickly! We need you!

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Feb. 13, 2004 1:52 PM ET USA

    It should be pointed out that the Bush administration is developing a potential solution; Given the current efforts underway at Nasa for Mars exploration, it may be possible, soon, for the gender-dysfunctional to have a choice between ministry on Mars and ministry on Venus.

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