The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 17, Issue 2, Summer 2017

Jacob Harrison
Pages 291-302

Karol Wojtyla, Sex Reassignment Surgery, and the Body–Soul Union

Dialogue about the moral permissibility of sex reassignment surgery (SRS) in Catholic health care has recently received considerable attention. In an effort to further this discussion and bring clarity to the debate, the author uses Pope St. John Paul II’s robust theological and philosophical anthropology to evaluate the morality of SRS and enter dialogue with current arguments that suggest SRS is morally licit. The author argues that John Paul II’s anthropology renders SRS morally illicit. Moreover, current arguments supporting SRS rely on an anthropology of body–soul dualism. This conclusion suggests that future arguments for the permissibility of SRS in Catholic health care will always be invalid if they fail to uphold the body–soul unity of the person.