Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

When the nineteen-year-old Joan of Arc was told she would be burned at the stake, she reacted with horror—not for the reasons you or I might give, but on more mysterious grounds. According to the Dominican friar Jean Toutmouillé, who visited her at the prison in Rouen on the morning of May 30, 1431, Joan cried out: “Alas, am I to be so cruelly and horribly treated that my pure and unblemished body, which has never been corrupted, must today be consumed and burned to ashes!” It wasn’t the death she minded so much as the destruction—better, she said bitterly, to be “seven times beheaded” than for her body to be reduced to a heap of dust.

One of several striking things about this speech is its contrast with the stories of trans-identifying men and women. The philosopher Sophie Grace Chappell, for instance, recalls experiencing “a profound sense that my body’s shape is not the one I want or feel at home in or comfortable with: I want a female body, which is not the body I was born with.” The economist Deirdre McCloskey half-jokes that “Every cell in my body says XY, XY, XY. I wish the bastards would stop saying it.” The cartoon book Welcome to St. Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure, promoted to British teenagers as part of a government-funded scheme, features a cartoon of the naked female body with the breasts labeled “fatty lumps that need be gone.” Of course, a desperate discontent with one’s body is not the preserve of trans people alone. It afflicts many people, especially women and most especially teenage girls. But it seems to have afflicted Joan of Arc not at all.

To claim Joan for a thoroughly conservative and biblical understanding of sex and gender—which, to put my cards on the table, is where this is going—is to call into question a cultural trend that makes her a sort of founding mother, or father, of trans identity. Leslie Feinberg’s landmark 1996 study Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman characterizes her as a “brilliant transgender peasant teenager” who “suffered the excruciating pain of being burned alive rather than renounce her [sic] identity.” The children’s book Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World includes a somewhat strained mini-biography along similar lines. Madonna’s 2019 video for “Dark Ballet” stars the transgender actor Mykki Blanco as a Joan who, when confronted by rigid elderly churchmen, refuses to compromise her inner LGBTQ self. In 2022, Shakespeare’s Globe staged I, Joan, which portrays her as a non-binary martyr.

Joan is well worth fighting over: Her short life has proved an inexhaustible well from which patriots, royalists, feminists, socialists, fascists, and Catholics have drawn forth unexpected depths of meaning. Shakespeare depicted her as a witch, a character assassination which was its own form of compliment. Napoleon had a medal struck with his image on one side and hers on the other. Her story has been retold by Voltaire, Schiller, Brecht, Shaw, and Mark Twain, who thought her “easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.” She constitutes a whole subgenre of both art and cinema history. There’s an annual festival in Orléans, the city she liberated (and an annual parade in New Orleans). Her canonization by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 is almost an incidental moment in the endless list of tributes. The last couple of years alone have seen a widely reviewed novel—Joan, by Katherine Chen—a reissue of Hilaire Belloc’s biography, a three-hundred-page “reference guide” for scholars, the premiere of a new score for Carl Dreyer’s silent movie The Passion of Joan of Arc, a legal dispute over a monarchist march in her honor in France, the emergence of an Instagram star known as “Ukraine’s Joan of Arc,” and a Joan-inspired collection at Milan Fashion Week.

At first glance, Joan’s story looks like a gift to the trans community. Here is a peasant girl who, in the face of disbelief and ridicule, claims that she alone can show France the way out of its disastrous situation: occupied by the English and internally divided, with a penniless king, Charles VII, barely able to lead his despairing followers. Joan, claiming divine inspiration and personal contact with angels and saints, persuades a local squire called Jean de Novelonpont to take her to the king. Asked what she would like to wear on her mission, she requests men’s clothes. She arrives, convinces Charles to give her military authority, and proceeds to inspire the French to extraordinary deeds, all while dressed in male clothing and armor.

“Except in matters of war,” recalled one knight, “she was simple and innocent. But in the leading and drawing up of armies and in the conduct of war, in disposing an army for battle and haranguing the soldiers, she behaved like the most experienced captain in all the world, like one with a whole lifetime of experience.” Under Joan’s leadership, the French raise the siege of Orléans, see Charles crowned at the all-important symbolic site of Reims Cathedral, and gain a momentum that, after Joan’s death, will drive the English out of the country. But Joan herself is captured by the enemy and put on trial, accused of inventing her visions and following the devil.

Despite her conducting her defense so dexterously as to leave the ranks of theologians and lawyers on the back foot, the English propaganda machine demands that she be treated as a heretic and threatened with execution. Under pressure, Joan recants her visions and is reprieved—agreeing, as a mark of submission, not to wear male clothes again. In prison, she puts men’s clothes back on and says that the visions were true after all. She is burned to death and becomes an icon for every rebel and nonconformist—and now, perhaps, for every young person who knows as surely as they know they exist that they are a different gender from the one they were assigned at birth, whose body seems at war with their mind, and who with every particle of their being cries out for peace and reconciliation . . .

. . . Or maybe not, since the actual historical basis for a trans-identifying Joan is practically nonexistent. Thanks to the 1455–56 rehabilitation trial, at which the Church authorities vindicated her, we have countless witness statements about Joan from every stage of her life. (Throughout, I am quoting from Régine Pernoud’s gripping anthology of these testimonies, The Retrial of Joan of Arc.) As witness after witness pointed out, Joan had excellent reasons to wear male dress: It went with battle armor, and a doublet and hose (jacket and trousers), joined with twenty cords, provided the best protection against being raped. At her trial the English pressed the transvestism issue because it helped them to paint Joan as an unnatural sorceress, but in conversation she had said her cross-dressing was meant to deter sexual advances, and at the trial she dismissed the whole business as a distraction: “The clothes are a small matter, the least of all things.”

As Pernoud observes, when Joan first asked the squire Jean de Novelonpont to help her find some male clothing, nobody was startled: De Novelonpont “seems to have found it quite natural that Joan should put on a man’s dress for her ride; and it was the same with the people of Vaucouleurs, who went so far as to make a collection in order to give her a man’s clothing.” As for her resumption of male clothes in prison—presented in the play I, Joan, as in Feinberg’s book, as an explicit assertion of trans identity—there is a simple explanation, confirmed by several testimonies. An English lord did indeed try to rape her in her cell, and she feared that the guards would try the same thing. According to a separate but complementary account, the guards deliberately took away her female clothes so that, when she had to leave her cell for the bathroom, only male clothes were available. In any case, the clothing was a practical necessity on which the English seized as a pretext for judicial murder.

The context likewise tends to demystify Joan’s sartorial choices. The medieval historian Caroline Bynum has observed that in Joan’s era, though men’s cross-dressing did carry a subversive frisson, “cross-dressing was for women a primarily practical device . . . [allowing them] to escape their families, to avoid the dangers of rape and pillage, or to take on male roles such as soldier, pilgrim, or hermit.” St. Thomas Aquinas had explicitly defended cross-dressing in cases of necessity.

Joan did sometimes sound a more enigmatic note, deflecting questions about her clothes or invoking God’s will; but this fact does not open much room for a trans interpretation, since she talked that way about everything. “I neither put on these clothes nor did I do anything except by the command of God and his angels,” she told her interrogators at the trial. Meanwhile, as we will see, if anyone ever identified as a woman, Joan of Arc did.

Yet the trans reading of Joan is not concerned primarily with the facts. It above all invokes the spirit of Joan as a resister of all that is authoritarian, conventional, and oppressive. Madonna’s “Dark Ballet” video opens with a quotation—

“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”
Joan of Arc (1412-1431)

—which is of course invented (by Maxwell Anderson for his 1946 play Joan of Lorraine) but which reinforces the image of Joan as a heroic martyr for trans identity in the face of traditional Catholic bigotry. I, Joan offers a subtler and more interesting version of the story, twisting the historical record at every stage to make her into a proto-modern. This Joan gives a Disney-princess monologue about her cramped village upbringing: “An insignificant life was my destiny . . . nothing but duties and expectations: you know, work hard, marry a man, bear children, and die quietly . . . And then suddenly, a miracle occurred.” She is a skeptic of kingship, reasoning that Charles is ultimately “just a man,” and she has boomerish politics: The French are fighting for “the freedom to live as they live and love as they love and worship as they wish.” Indeed, this Joan is something of a religious individualist: Asked whether she finds God in church, she replies, “Rarely. It’s more often out, with the clouds and the trees and the people . . .”

This portrait, too, is a total fantasy. Far from longing to escape her upbringing, Joan remarked to de Novelonpont that were it not for God’s will, “I would much prefer to stay with my poor mother and spin,” and she poignantly told the archbishop of Reims how she yearned to “lay down my arms, and go to serve my father and mother and keep their sheep, with my brothers and my sister, who will be glad to see me again.” People from Joan’s village usually described her, Pernoud writes, as “‘just like the other girls.’ The phrase recurs with an almost irritating regularity.” She was devoted to the king as rightful ruler, and even more devoted to conventional orthodox Catholicism, always dropping into church or going to confession. Her old parish priest said he’d never known a better Catholic. Joan’s life was characterized, through and through, by a cheerful acceptance of her station in her life, her religion, her country, and her people.

I, Joan’s author, Charlie Josephine, has an answer to such objections. The play is “not historically accurate,” Josephine told an interviewer, “if we’re comparing it with the history books that were written by white, cis, straight, middle-class, middle-aged men.” The historical record, in other words, is automatically unreliable; or as Joan expresses it in the play: “F*** your ‘historically accurate.’” Yet Josephine’s Joan also says that “My story has been told a thousand different times . . . by everyone but me,” and Josephine claims that “the more I read about Joan, the more I think they’re what we would now call non-binary or trans.” Basically, the play wants to have its cake and eat it: both to present the real Joan behind the misinterpretations and to reject the idea of historical reality altogether. I am dwelling on this contradiction because it runs through not just I, Joan, but every serious attempt I have ever seen to justify transgender identity. On one hand, such accounts tell us: “This is the truth.” On the other, they ask: “What is truth, anyway?”

One of the transgender movement’s most remarkable achievements has been to conceal this internal division. For there is no single trans narrative. There are two narratives, wholly incompatible and mutually destructive, which have somehow been fused into a single, all-conquering cause.

The first narrative holds that there are two realities, maleness and femaleness, and that some people are tragically exiled from their true states. Jan Morris, in the opening lines of the only trans memoir written by an acknowledged master of English prose, puts it like this: “I was three or perhaps four years old when I realized I had been born into the wrong body, and should really be a girl. I remember the moment well, and it is the earliest memory of my life.” This kind of story is compelling at an emotional level: It speaks to the universal feeling of dislocation, of alienation, of longing for completeness, and at the same time resonates with the hope of the oppressed for justice, with the sorrows of every human being denied true flourishing by prejudice and fear. Call it the “wrong body” narrative.

The second narrative is one of radical doubt, one that asks whether maleness and femaleness are, in fact, real. It queries whether the kaleidoscopic diversity of human self-experience really can be squeezed into so restrictive a binary; it contends that language is always conditioned by the power structures of the day, that it rarely grasps life as it is actually lived; and it concludes that ultimately—to quote the very same memoir by Jan Morris—“there is neither man nor woman.” This is the skeptical trans narrative which, of course, demolishes the “wrong body” one. If the ultimate reality has no place for gender, then Morris’s original epiphany was false: To “realize” that one has been “born into the wrong body” must be, not realization, but illusion.

All right, you may say, but Morris was a romantic given to overstatement. Surely a serious academic will make these distinctions more precisely, iron out the apparent inconsistencies? Well, in a 13,666-word essay for the London Review of Books published in 2016, the very distinguished literary scholar Jacqueline Rose surveys the vast field of trans testimonies, across memoirs, court cases, academic research, and psychoanalytic case studies. She celebrates trans people’s “struggle for equality and human dignity,” and she urges her fellow feminists to recognize that “trans and feminism should be natural bedfellows.” But in the course of her argument, Rose is too honest not to reveal the impassable gulf between the two narratives. “Trans is not one thing,” she observes: “There are strong disagreements” between those who think they can transition “to true embodiment” and those who do not.

Rose sometimes sounds like she is rehearsing the “wrong body” narrative, but she is drawn toward the skeptical one. Perhaps, she muses, “the category of the transsexual might one day, as the ultimate act of emancipation, abolish itself.” Paraphrasing Julia Kristeva, she wonders whether “a time will come when the distinction between woman and man will finally disappear, a metaphysical relic of a bygone age.” It has a kind of logic to it. But it also shatters the idea that (as the much-repeated slogan has it) “trans women are women.” How can they be, if nobody is a woman? Likewise, the non-binary Yale professor Robin Dembroff asks impatiently “why we categorize people as women and men at all.” “Erasing trans identity” or “denying that trans people exist” is usually thought to be an unspeakably cruel offense committed by social conservatives. But supporters of the new gender ideals end up in the same place.

They do so because the “wrong body” narrative is finally unsustainable, even in its strongest form. Sophie Grace Chappell, in an influential and sophisticated article, points out that we all accept the extension of the category “parents” to adoptive parents. “Nobody sensible thinks that it’s alright, when you find out that someone is an adoptive parent, to get in her face and shout ‘Biology! Science! You’re running away from the facts! You’re delusional! You’re not a real parent!’” A neat analogy, but as Holly Lawford-Smith of the University of Melbourne points out, an inadequate one. “Both biological and adoptive parents actually parent, whereas it’s not at all clear what transwomen and women have in common that is supposed to play this same role.”

Certainly they have in common the feeling of being a woman. But “I feel like a woman” is just a string of meaningless words if it refers to no identifiable reality. In The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory, Abigail Favale puts it in a nutshell: “What does it mean to feel like a woman, if being a woman is defined as feeling like a woman?”

No wonder, then, that the emotionally powerful “wrong body” case easily gives way, under pressure, to the less emotive but more coherent skeptical case that the male-female divide is itself an illusion. I, Joan begins with the “wrong body” narrative: Joan tells us, “You look at me and see the body that I’m in and you see I’m a girl to you—but I’m not. I promise you, I’m not.” Later, in wearing male clothes, she finds her freedom. The play is full of feminist invective against “men”—“these men, I hate them”—which confirms the reality of the gender divide. But then a non-binary Joan opines that “none of us fit these man-made boxes” of man and woman, and (later) that she speaks for those who are “not men, not women, not found in men’s words.” The skeptical narrative has returned with a vengeance.

The play keeps the two narratives in an unstable compound. In other contexts, open conflict breaks out. In 2019, two academics proposed in Scientific American that gendered pronouns should be wholly abandoned in favor of a universal “they/them” pronoun. Why gender anyone at all? The article provoked an indignant response from four authors who argued that for many trans people, “actively avoiding the act of gendering manifests as another form of violence.”

The skeptical narrative has intellectual coherence, but it also removes the emotional charge of being “born in the wrong body,” for in the skeptical world there are no male or female bodies to be born into. And in an ironic twist, it leads in practice to the triumphant return of gender norms. Andrea Long Chu, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Females and probably the most celebrated trans writer of the millennial generation, provides some startling reasons for transitioning, in a passage worth quoting at length:

I doubt that any of us transition simply because we want to “be” women, in some abstract, academic way. I certainly didn’t. I transitioned for gossip and compliments, lipstick and mascara, for crying at the movies, for being someone’s girlfriend, for letting her pay the check or carry my bags, for the benevolent chauvinism of bank tellers and cable guys, for the telephonic intimacy of long-distance female friendship . . . for sex toys, for feeling hot, for getting hit on by butches, for that secret knowledge of which dykes to watch out for, for Daisy Dukes, bikini tops, and all the dresses, and, my god, for the breasts. But now you begin to see the problem with desire: we rarely want the things we should. Any TERF [feminist critic of trans identity] will tell you that most of these items are just the traditional trappings of patriarchal femininity. She won’t be wrong, either.

Something like this happens in I, Joan. When Joan finally, decisively throws off her womanhood, she does so because she feels excluded from the male power-brokering at court. “These men, I hate them! . . . I hate this body I’m in, for clearly it’s the cause of their disdain.” Transitioning means succumbing to social convention. It is presented as an escape, but really it digs the pit even deeper.

After the shelling of a civilian area in the Vietnam War, an American major famously told a journalist that it had become “necessary to destroy the town to save it.” Something similar has happened with the trans rights movement. To defend trans identity from the fatal question—“What is a woman?”—they have had to destroy the idea of womanhood, until all that is left are cultural signifiers.

One can sympathize with trans advocates when they argue that prevailing gender norms are often stifling and even oppressive; but their proposed solution turns out to be another version of the same problem. What we need, it appears, is a theory that is founded in material reality but that offers the possibility of adventure and creativity beyond the narrow bounds of contemporary stereotypes.

Enter St. Joan of Arc, gender theorist.

Joan called herself “Jeanne La Pucelle”—it was how she signed her letters—which is sometimes translated as “Joan the Maid,” but better rendered as “Joan the Maiden” or, most literally, “Joan the Virgin.” When someone asked her why she used the name, she replied: “I can assure you that I am, and if you do not believe me, get some women to examine me.” She was answering a question about her meaning with a statement about her body.

At the simplest level, Joan’s assertion of virginity was an example of what saints do: bring tranquility, light, and order to a dark and chaotic world. Many soldiers remarked on how strange it was—miraculous, even—that, although they slept near her and saw her getting changed, and despite her beauty, they never felt temptation. Others, who crossed the line, were repelled with force. The knight Haimond de Macy recalled: “I tried several times playfully to touch her breasts . . . but Joan would not let me. She pushed me off with all her might.” A tailor, Jeannotin Simon, slyly groped her while fitting a new tunic, and got a slap in the face. Like Christ driving the money changers from the temple, Joan chased prostitutes out of the camp with her sword drawn. And when a soldier swore to God, as Joan passed, that if he could spend a night with her she would not be able to call herself “La Pucelle” by morning, Joan told him: “Oh, in God’s name, do you take His name in vain when you are so near your death?” An hour later he fell in the river and drowned.

At another level, Joan used the title “La Pucelle” to bolster her claim to authority. According to a prophecy, supposedly dating back to Merlin, a virgin carrying a banner would one day rescue France; a better-sourced prophecy came from the peasant mystic Marie Robine of Avignon (d. 1399), who had a vision of an armed virgin saving the country from disaster. Joan liked to refer to this tradition—a point the recent transgender interpretations have to avoid mentioning, because in reminding people of such prophecies Joan was identifying very much as a woman. Indeed, she was identifying with the most potent female archetype in the history of our civilization. As Pernoud writes, the prophecies invoked “that Christian belief, so real to the medieval mind, in the redemptive power of woman, or a virgin.” Mary said yes to God’s call and so became Our Lady of Sorrows, whose heart was pierced with seven swords of grief and loss; but through her “yes” the world was redeemed. Joan said yes to God’s call and so was wrenched from her happy village existence, humiliated, defamed, and martyred; but through her France was liberated and the Church gained one of the greatest of all saints.

“If you do not believe me, get some women to examine me.” Joan actually was physically examined, both by the French authorities and the English, as one test of La Pucelle’s trustworthiness. Of course most of us blanch at this invasion of privacy, and at the attaching of such importance to physical virginity. It strikes us as both prurient and ignorant, since the supposed sign of virginity, an intact hymen, can be lost through all kinds of nonsexual causes. However, we have not fully understood Joan of Arc—and we have probably not fully understood the trans debate—unless we grasp why physical virginity mattered so much to her.

No Catholic dogma is so neglected as the belief that Mary was “physically a virgin” “before, during, and after” the birth of Christ. Pious Catholics, understandably, would rather not dwell on so delicate a subject, and less pious Catholics are likely to be scandalized by what looks like an outdated and grossly patriarchal idea. Yet the dogma is taught repeatedly, unambiguously, with thunderous authority, and without contradiction, from the sixth through the twentieth century, by popes and general councils. Catholics are simply not free to contest it. So what can be said in the doctrine’s defense?

Well, Christian tradition often makes much of mere physical facts. There is no necessary reason why Jesus had to be crucified rather than beheaded, but there are a multitude of symbolic reasons—that his arms are extended in an offer of salvation to the whole world, that he is paradoxically lifted up as he is broken, and so on. There is no necessary reason why the graces of the Eucharist should be received through eating rather than, say, being touched on the forehead; but it makes sense because eating is necessary to life, and because eating unites the consumer and the consumed. Where Christian revelation insists on a physical symbol, it is because something very important is symbolized.

The point is not that physical virginity is morally superior to merely being a virgin; it is that God expresses himself like an artist, manifesting truth and beauty for their own sake, and painting them onto the canvas of physical, historical reality. So if he gives expression to virginity in Mary’s body, that suggests that virginity has some extraordinary significance.

Perhaps the significance is this: that virginity is an ultimate form of consecration to God. The pattern of Christian life is that what we give up to God becomes glorious: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” And the virgin gives up to God not just pleasure and intimacy and babies, but something written into his or her body: the potentiality to give life.

This brings us, by an unusual route, to the heart of the gender debate. In The Genesis of Gender, Abigail Favale writes that for many years she was puzzled by the question, “What is a woman?” She found the answer in the Aristotelian–Thomistic concept of potentiality. To possess a nature—as a sunflower or a dog or a human being—is also to possess certain potentialities. Ice has the potentiality to become water vapor, even if it stays frozen. I have the potentiality to speak Hungarian, even if I never bother to learn it. As Favale puts it:

A woman is the kind of human being whose body is organized around the potential to gestate new life. This potentiality that belongs to femaleness is always present, even if there is some kind of condition, such as age or disease, that prevents that potential from being actualized. The very category of “infertility” does not undermine this definition, but affirms it. A male human who cannot get pregnant is not deemed “infertile,” because he never had that potential in the first place. A woman who cannot get pregnant does have that potential, and so she is considered infertile. Infertility names the often painful and devastating inability to actualize one’s procreative potential.

Male or female identity, then—the potentiality to produce sperm or eggs, the tendency of the body toward one role or another in reproduction—can still be discerned, even in people whose bodies feel out of kilter with their minds; even, indeed, in so-called “intersex” people who have unusual chromosomal or genital combinations. (In Christian history, incidentally, the usual approach to borderline cases has been to determine as best one can which side of the line someone was on, and stick to it—on the basis that “male and female he created them.”)

By claiming the title “La Pucelle,” Joan was saying that she had offered her potentiality, her bodily identity as a woman, to God for his own purposes. This helps to explain why she loved her body so much that she would rather have been beheaded seven times than reduced to ashes. In her remarkable study Fragmentation and Redemption, Caroline Bynum has demonstrated that for the Middle Ages, the female body, far more than the male, was where God made himself gloriously present. “One of the most striking characteristics of this period in Western religious history,” Bynum writes, “is the extent to which female bodily experience was understood to be union with God.”

Women were more likely to use bodily metaphors in their religious writing and “to receive graphically physical visions of God”; female and male writers alike referred to Christ’s flesh as female, “bleeding and nurturing” for our salvation. Trances, levitations, the inability to eat anything except the Eucharist, “ecstatic nosebleeds,” and other spiritual manifestations in the body “are seldom if at all reported of male saints, but are quite common in the vitae of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century women.” Most astonishingly, there are only two male saints between the thirteenth and twentieth centuries—St. Francis of Assisi and Padre Pio—who are believed to have had Christ’s stigmata in their hands, feet, and sides. But there are “dozens of such claims for late medieval women,” such that “stigmata became a female miracle.” Proportionately, women saints were much more likely to have incorrupt bodies after death—or at least incorrupt body parts, like St. Catherine of Siena’s head and hand. The female body consecrated to Jesus, in Joan’s era, was where God acted. To destroy it was like putting a wrecking ball through a cathedral.

In the last analysis, neither of the trans grand narratives can be reconciled with Christianity. The idea that the “real me” is somehow different from the me that is actually physically here can scarcely be made to fit with an incarnational religion, and the abolition of the male–female distinction makes little sense in a story that exalts that distinction, from Genesis to Revelation. But this does not mean that Christians have nothing to gain from listening to trans-identifying men and women. In the first place, it is an act of charity to listen to anyone’s story of suffering. They can also remind us that maleness and femaleness are more mysterious than we might imagine, because they know that the body and its meaning cannot be taken for granted. After all, the Christian view is not ultimately that boys should play with guns and girls should play with unicorns. It is not that the summit of human fulfillment can be found within the walls of a nice tidy house with your spouse and your two and a half kids. It is what Joan of Arc knew so well and what, perhaps, those struggling with gender dysphoria may glimpse in a moment of clarity: Our bodies are not our own, and that is why we can glory in them.

Dan Hitchens is a senior editor at First Things.

Image by Tijmen Stam on Wikimedia Commons licensed via Creative Commons. Image cropped. 

This is the first of your three free articles for the month.
Read without Limits.
Stacked Mgazines