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June 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Vatican’s newly released document on what should be done about “gender theory” when it comes to Catholic education of children is proving to be a source of anger for LGBT activists. But it should also be a cause of alarm for faithful Catholic parents.

The document, titled “Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender theory in education,” was released by the Congregation for Catholic Education June 10. It was released five months after Pope Francis stated that “we must provide sex education in schools.” It was signed by the congregation’s head, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, and by the secretary for the same congregation, Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani. 

LGBT activists are criticizing the document for its clear affirmation that God made human beings only as either “male” or “female” and that maleness and femaleness are a “given” by nature and and constitute a “biological fact.” 

They are mad that the document critiques “gender theory” as a “confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants, or momentary desires provoked by emotional impulses and the will of the individual, as opposed to anything based on the truths of existence.”

Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of the pro-homosexual New Ways Ministry, slammed the document as a “harmful tool that will be used to oppress and harm not only transgender people, but lesbian, gay, bisexual people, too.” 

DeBernardo said the document “associates sexual and gender minorities with libertine sexuality, a gross misrepresentation of the lives of LGBT people which perpetuates and encourages hatred, bigotry, and violence against them.” The document reveals that the “Vatican remains in the dark ages, promoting a false teaching that relies on myth, rumor, and falsehoods,” he added. 

Hemant Mehta at “Friendly Atheist” called the document a “slap in the face to many LGBTQ people.” In the document, she wrote, the “Vatican took a position on gender identity that effectively dismisses the very existence of intersex and transgender people.” 

By far the most interesting reaction came from Jesuit priest and pro-homosexual advocate James Martin in the pages of the Jesuit-run America Magazine. Martin, author of the pro-LGBT book Building Bridges, drew attention to the document’s “explicit call for dialogue” as an “approach to the question of gender theory.” 

“It speaks of a ‘path,’ which indicates that the church has not yet reached the destination,” wrote Martin, adding: “It focuses on the ‘question’ of gender theory in education, which leaves some degree of openness.”

Martin noted how the document’s conclusion “speaks of the path of dialogue, which includes ‘listening, reasoning and proposing.’ As such, it leaves open room for further developments and also avoids some of the harsh language of other Vatican pronouncements on sexuality and, especially, on homosexuality.”

Martin said that “all should welcome” this approach.

In the end, however, the Jesuit priest had sharp criticism for the document in that it “restates the traditional Catholic view of sexuality,” a view that he said was “contradicted by what most biologists and psychologists now understand about both sexuality and gender” and that “ignores the real-life experience of L.G.B.T. people.”

While the document faithfully restates Catholic teaching about the human person regarding sexuality, being created as “male and female,” and “unity of body and soul,” many Catholics, myself included, are alarmed by the documents call for “dialogue” as a legitimate “path.”

Dr. Robert Moynihan said with respect to this that “spending so much time and so many pages to stress the need to ‘dialogue’ with the proponents of this modern 'gender theory' is in some ways worrisome.”

I’d go further than that and point out that the document’s emphasis on dialogue, which in the Francis pontificate is a word that is largely used to mean that other perspectives and even opposing view points have something to bring to the table that the Catholic Church lacks, suggests that the Catholic Church is deficient in her understanding and teaching on the human person as male and female. 

As Fr. Martin pointed out, as noted above, to speak of the “path of dialogue” indicates that the “church has not yet reached the destination” with regard to her understanding on the topic. 

But this is simply not the case. The Church’s teaching on the duality of the sexes and its rejection of “gender theory” was restated simply and beautifully recently by a group of cardinals and bishops

What took the Congregation for Catholic Education some 50,000 words on 31 pages to state was summarized in a small paragraph consisting of 576 words by cardinals and bishops who recently issued a “declaration of truths” of the Catholic faith. 

About gender theory, the declaration states:

The male and female sexes, man and woman, are biological realities created by the wise will of God (see Gen. 1: 27; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 369). It is, therefore, a rebellion against natural and Divine law and a grave sin that a man may attempt to become a woman by mutilating himself, or even by simply declaring himself to be such, or that a woman may in like manner attempt to become a man, or to hold that the civil authority has the duty or the right to act as if such things were or may be possible and legitimate (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2297).

The Congregation for Catholic Education’s document fails to mention the word “sin” even once in relation to its copious statements on gender theory. 

Another alarming aspect of the document was the ambiguous statement that there is a “need to educate children and young people to respect every person in their particularity and difference, so that no one should suffer bullying, violence, insults or unjust discrimination based on their specific characteristics (such as special needs, race, religion, sexual tendencies, etc.).”

Teaching children respect for those with different “sexual tendencies” is language closer to LGBT propaganda than Catholic teaching. This is the language of sexual perverts and groomers. Should children be taught to “respect” adults with “sexual tendencies” towards other children (pedophilia)? Should they be taught to respect those who have “sexual tendencies” toward corpses (necrophilia) and animals (bestiality) too? Children should be taught to run away from such perverts and have nothing to do with them. 

The document then immediately goes on to praise an education for children that provides them with the “ability to welcome all legitimate expressions of human personhood with respect.” Fr. Martin called this ambiguous passage “another positive aspect of this document.”

The most alarming part of the document for me as a Catholic parent was the document's insistence on a “positive and prudent sexual education” for children within schools. This, after all, seems to be the main point of the entire document coming from the Vatican congregation that deals with education of children. 

The document calls for an “educational alliance between family, school and society” that can “harmonise the primary responsibility of parents with the work of teachers” to make this education a reality. The document rightly recognizes the “primary right” of parents with respect to the “sexual and affective education” for their children and the “subsidiary role” that schools play in that process.

“If they succeed in working together, family, school and the broader society can produce educational programmes on affectivity and sexuality that respect each person’s own stage of maturity regarding these areas and at the same time promote respect for the body of the other person,” the document states. 

This vision is utterly naive and unrealistic in today’s sexually overcharged and toxic culture. This vision is utterly utopian in a world that gleefully accepts homosexual “marriage,” countless sexually deviant practices, and abortion. What, in the end, this document provides is more firepower to those calling for sex education in schools while taking away firepower from parents to defend their children from such programs – all couched in the language of “dialogue” and “respect.”  

Sex education, in reality, has from its beginning been used as a wedge between parents and their children. It has been largely used as a tool of sin to indoctrinate children into evil sexual practices. This proves to be the case whether such “education” is taking place in public schools or publicly funded Catholic schools (as is the case here in Canada). Where such education may have begun with good intentions, it has largely been co-opted by activists and used to advance a diabolical agenda and destroy souls. 

The Vatican appears not to be immune to this trend. Three years ago, the Vatican released its own problematic sex-ed program for teens called “The Meeting Point,” which handed the sexual formation of young people over to educators while leaving parents out of the equation. The program contained sexually explicit and suggestive images, failed to name and condemn deviant sexual behaviors (such as fornication, masturbation, adultery, homosexual practices, etc.) as sinful, and failed to warn youths about the possibility of eternal separation from God (damnation) for committing grave sexual sins. Catholic psychiatrist Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons said the program “constitutes sexual abuse of Catholic adolescents worldwide.” One pro-family leader commented at that time that the program revealed the Vatican’s “surrender” to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. 

Instead of releasing ambiguous documents that once again trot out the modern Church’s disastrous experiment of “dialogue” with the modern world as a way of winning souls for heaven, the Vatican should follow the example of the cardinals and bishops who recently stated clearly the truths of the Catholic faith and left it to listeners to decide what side they were on. What is not needed is another document that gives LGBT activists like Fr. Martin hope that the Church will one day “evolve” in her moral teaching. And what is certainly not needed is a document that pushes the failed experiment of sex education on another generation of Catholic children.

In the end, no one can dialogue with the devil and come away better for it. The Vatican should know this. 

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Pete Baklinski is Director of Communications for Campaign Life Coalition, a Canadian pro-life organization working at all levels of government to secure full legal protection for all human beings, from the time of conception to natural death. He has a B.A. in liberal arts from Thomas Aquinas College and a masters in theology (STM) from the International Theological Institute.