Why do we believe we can redefine nature?
VATICAN CITY — One week after Bruce Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair wearing an ivory corset declaring he is a woman, Pope Francis again denounced gender ideology as an aberration.
Speaking to the bishops of Puerto Rico on Monday, June 8th, during their ad limina visit to Rome, the Pope said the ideology is among the most pernicious threats to marriage and family life.
“Let me draw your attention to the value and beauty of marriage,” he said. “The complementarity of man and woman, the crown of God's creation, is being questioned by so-called gender ideology, in the name of a freer and fairer society.”
But “the difference between man and woman is not for opposition or subordination, but for communion and procreation, always in the ‘image and likeness’ of God,” he said, recalling his April 15th general audience catechesis on the sexual difference and complementarity between man and woman. Without mutual self-giving, he added, “neither of the two can even understand themselves in depth.”
In the same catechesis delivered less than two months ago, Pope Francis explained that while contemporary culture has opened new opportunities for understanding the sexual difference, it has also introduced “many doubts and much skepticism.”
“For instance,” he said, “I wonder if the so-called gender theory is not also an expression of a frustration and resignation, which aims to eliminate the sexual difference because it no longer knows how to face it.”
“The removal of the difference, in fact, is the problem, not the solution.”
Gender theorists hold that “sex” may be what a person is biologically, but gender is what the person believes himself or herself to be. Such theorists posit that people should be able to identify as male, female, neither or both, despite increasing evidence to suggest that gender theory is confusing and harming children.
Earlier this year, Puerto Ricans took to the streets protesting the incorporation of gender theory in the public school curriculum.
Pope Francis concluded his remarks by reaffirming the Church’s teaching that “the Sacrament of Marriage is a sign of God’s love for mankind and the gift of Christ for his Bride, the Church.”
He therefore urged the bishops of Puerto Rico to “safeguard the treasure” of marriage, which he called “one of the most important of Latin American and Caribbean peoples.”
The Pope also called on the bishops to defend and protect the family from the many social problems that afflict it, including: “the economic situation, migration, domestic violence, unemployment, drug trafficking, and corruption.”
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.