Meet Catholic Doctors Protecting Kids by Combating Trans Ideology

‘People say that by affirming gender identification they are being loving. That is a lie. They are pushing them not to accept reality …’

Clockwise, L to R: Drs. Arthur de Lorimier, Patrick Hunter, Timothy Millea and (Deacon) Patrick Lappert.
Clockwise, L to R: Drs. Arthur de Lorimier, Patrick Hunter, Timothy Millea and (Deacon) Patrick Lappert. (photo: Courtesy photos / Courtesy photos)

Patti Maguire ArmstrongFeaturesJanuary 26, 2024

Politics has infiltrated every aspect of our culture, often bumping up against the Catholic faith — even in health care. Four Catholic physicians who are members of the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), shared their perspectives with the Register on the challenge of being a Catholic doctor today. 

Dr. Timothy Millea is a retired orthopedic surgeon from Iowa and chair of CMA’s Health Care Policy Committee and the Conscience Rights Protection Task Force. “If I wanted to have a lazy retirement, my timing is off,” he said, noting that he’s had to learn a lot about politics and legal rights to fight legislation and federal mandates. 

“If I testify and lead with ‘I’m a Catholic physician,’ people turn off,” he said. “But logic, science and facts are no contest. It’s about speaking the truth. The facts don’t care about your feelings.” 

Millea explained that CMA often works with other groups, including Alliance Defending Freedom, to fight for conscience protection. “Since January of 2021, the current administration has relentlessly proposed new rules and legislation pertaining to abortion, chemical abortions, end of life and transgender issues,” he said. “We are trying to stop or slow these things. I’ve had to get accustomed to hate mail, but the blowback means we are over the target. If we make 100 people mad but get one to rethink their position, we’ve done our job.”

The fastest-growing group in CMA is made up of medical students and residents, according to Millea. “They know they may not get a residency or lose their jobs,” he said. “They are the ones really in the crosshairs. They are the energy and inspiration that keeps us grizzled old veterans going.”

Millea noted that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” gives guidance. He also pointed to the American College of Pediatricians and Biological Integrity as ethically supporting doctors, parents and school staff addressing gender dysphoria.

Standing for Truth

Gender ideology claims that “transition” is the only acceptable treatment for youth who suffer from gender dysphoria — feeling their internally felt gender is different than their body’s sex. Puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones and surgical procedures are used to change their bodies. Family, social and psychological support are rejected, and little regard is given to possible harm. Doctors expressing concern that this treatment does harm are ostracized, threatened and fear for their professional futures.

Dr. Patrick Hunter, a general pediatrician with a degree in bioethics, has been concerned since 2015, when he started seeing trans-identified patients in his practice. “European health authorities know the evidence to support transitioning is poor,” he said. “U.S. health care leaders still deny this truth, but the public is starting to understand that harms are occurring. When you see what’s been done to kids after hormonal and surgical transition — the harm and regret — the truth becomes clear. Transition is not good; it is not the truth. Our youth, teens and young adults need to be protected from the objective harms being done to them.” 

“I know many young women who have been irreversibly damaged by testosterone and mastectomies,” Hunter said. “Some have since had babies and cannot breastfeed. I know a few young men who had their [privates] cut off and later realized they are gay men. They were struggling with their homosexuality, found themselves in a gender clinic and irreversibly harmed. I am upset with my profession and what it is doing to people it claims to be helping.”

Other countries, including Finland, Sweden, England, Norway and France, have medical authorities that have made strong statements regarding youth transition. They recognize the lack of evidence, and some label transition as experimental. Part of the problem in the U.S., Hunter explained, is that much of the professional and medical journals are “captured.” They will not publish anything that goes against the narrative that transition is safe and effective. He mentioned that places that do publish honest research are attacked as being right-wing even when they are not.  

After seeing his first trans-identified patient in 2015, Hunter set on a course of research. This led to collaboration with concerned physicians from all over the world. By contrast, he has noted that U.S. health systems are growing the business of transgender medicine. “This may be for prestige, for ideology, for politics, or for money. It is not for the good of the patient.”

Hunter attended the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) annual meeting with another concerned doctor and five young adults who regretted their transition and were irreversibly harmed. Some who began transition as early as 13 years old informally shared their stories with pediatricians in attendance, despite the AAP position statement. The vast majority — Hunter estimates probably 90% of doctors he met at the meeting — were open-minded and expressed concern about youth “transition.” He left that meeting knowing that the AAP, despite its claims, does not represent all its members. Patients who have been harmed are starting to sue their physicians, and the AAP has been named as a defendant in at least one malpractice suit.

Dr. Arthur de Lorimier, director of pediatric gastroenterology, at the University of California at Davisand a retired U.S. Army colonel,told the Register, “I’m a pediatric gastroenterologist. There may be banter back and forth about using a new drug, but no one will ever accuse anyone of being a Crohn’s disease hater because you don’t want to use it. But if it has to do with gender, question the data, and all of a sudden you are a homophobe and a transgender hater.” 

Although patients do not see him for transgender treatment, he has had patients identifying as transgender believing that puberty blockers are reversible. He is honest and explains to them that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are not reversible, as activist physicians claim. Surgery is also not reversible. 

“An important role for parents,” de Lorimier advises, “is teaching children to deal with things as they are now. I was not a particularly good athlete. That’s the way it goes. You learn other ways to glorify your mind and body and live in the present. We are not teaching kids how to embrace who they really are. People say that by affirming gender identification they are being loving. That is a lie. They are pushing them not to accept reality.” 

Although his position at the university is secure, de Lorimier considered retiring last year until learning of five medical students who share his values were seeking guidance on how to navigate all of this. 

“Our institutions are trying to brainwash our medical students,” he said. “I look for ways to be a mentor and take a stand.” For inspiration, he attended a Tepeyac Leadership Initiative conference in October, which encourages Catholic laity to demonstrate the love of Christ and be examples in the workplace. “My Catholic faith helps me understand that every patient is a child of God,” he said. “The highest form of love I can demonstrate is the concept of agape, seeking the good of another. Agape is not telling people what they want to hear; it’s speaking the truth.” 

Dr. Patrick Lappert, a deacon in the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama, a retired plastic and reconstructive surgeon and 24-year Navy veteran, still does consultations and medical skin care. He explained that, before retirement, “I was not obliged to offer surgery to anyone, and that’s not unique to transgenderism. I have refused [to treat] patients with body dysmorphic disorder, a common condition of people seeking surgical changes thinking they are going to transform their lives. There have always been plastic surgeons willing to do that, but the doctor is ethically responsible to consider if the patient is seeking a psychological cure with surgery.” 

One modern change in medicine, Lappert explained, is that many doctors are employees of hospital corporations instead of in private practices. Between the hospital corporation and insurance companies, he said there typically are required steps for expected results and a bottom-line profit motive.

The era of the self-employed private physician or one with a partner is gone, according to him, due in part to most doctors being buried in medical-school debt. “The Navy paid for my education, so I didn’t have to fear that I wasn’t making enough money to pay my debt. Doctors also now need a large office staff to satisfy insurance providers.”

As part of a corporation, Lappert said that a doctor who refuses to write birth-control prescriptions or make referrals for abortion will get complaints. In such a case, they need to find a group practice of ethically like-minded physicians. “Even in the military, I had to defend a junior medical physician who was threatened with being court-martialed for not writing a prescription for birth control. The chaplain and I convinced [the commanding officer] it was a bad idea to compel physicians to work against their own moral principles.” 

It is hopeful, Lappert noted, that there are some medical groups and Christian companies that give physicians more latitude and a growing movement to reestablish a Catholic culture in medical care and schools. “We should not lose sight of the reason we have doctors and hospitals in the first place,” he said. “Cosmas and Damian, the physician twins in the Roman Canon Eucharist Prayer, lived sacrificial love. They offered their professional services for nothing and died martyrs. Hospitals are a Catholic invention, and medical care is our expression of our love of neighbor.” 

“If you want to be a Catholic physician today,” Lappert advised, “you have to be willing to offer the gift of suffering for the good of the patient That’s what Cosmas and Damian did. Instead of going to medical school to have a comfortable life, plan on a meaningful life and a life of grace, and do not put comfort at the top of the list.”

Additional sources for information:

Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT):

The Cass Review in England:


Therapy First:


Patti Maguire Armstrong

Patti Maguire Armstrong Patti (Maguire) Armstrong is an award-winning journalist and was managing editor and co-author of the bestselling Amazing Grace Series. Her latest books are the humorous and inspirational second-edition Dear God, I Don’t Get ItDear God, You Can’t Be Serious!What Would Monica Do? and Holy Hacks.

Patti worked in social work and public administration before staying home as a freelance writer while she and Mark raised their 10 children in North Dakota. Follow her on Twitter at @PattiArmstrong and read her blog at