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Francis has firm words on gender theory, complementary nature of the sexes

© Antoine Mekary / ALETEIA
Pope Francis - general audience - Paul VI Hall - Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016
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“Man and woman aren't only called to speak to each other about love, but to speak to each other, with love, about what they need to do so that human beings can live together in the light of God's love for every creature."

Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken out against “gender theory,” and he did so again on Thursday, lamenting that instead of trying to correct misunderstandings of how men and women are different, people today are trying to de-facto eliminate those differences. But such an endeavor is an affront to human dignity.

His strong critique of the attempt to eliminate sexual differences and “techniques and practices” that impede the development of “people and human relationships” came during an address Thursday to the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The differences between the sexes have an “irreducible value for human dignity,” the pope affirmed, denying a “utopia of the ‘neuter.'”

Sexual difference is not a “simple matter of personal choice,” Francis said, regardless of what new medical technologies might allow.

No subordination of women

Related to this, the pope again insisted that the dignity of women must be respected. As he decried “machismo” during his trip last month to Colombia, on Thursday he described scorn for women as an attack against life itself.

“The forms of subordination which, sadly, have marked the history of women, must be definitively abandoned. We must write a new beginning for the ethos of the peoples, and this can only be done by a renewed culture of the identity and difference” between men and women.

But “radically neutralizing the sexual difference” in an attempt to promote human dignity “is wrong,” he said.

Referring to the biblical account of creation, he indicated that we must “appreciate all the breadth and the depth of God’s gesture of love that entrusts creation and history to the alliance between man and woman.”

“It’s not simply a matter of equal opportunities or of mutual respect. Principally, it’s about an understanding between men and women regarding the meaning of life and the path of peoples,” the Holy Father said. “Man and woman aren’t only called to speak to each other about love, but to speak to each other, with love, about what they need to do so that human beings can live together in the light of God’s love for every creature.”

Man and woman are allies—”neither man alone, nor woman alone” is capable of bearing this great responsibility.

“They were created together, in their blessed difference; they sinned together, by their presumption that they could replace God; together, with God’s grace, they return to God’s presence, to carry out their duty to take care of the world and the history that He entrusted to them.”

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