VATICAN – Pope Francis strongly condemned “gender ideology” in a private conversation with Austrian Bishop Andreas Laun earlier this year, the bishop related in a recent essay.
In doing so, the pope follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Nearing the end of his pontificate, the pope emeritus spoke twice about gender ideology as “a negative trend for humankind,” and a “profound falsehood,” which “it is the duty of pastors of the Church” to put the faithful “on guard against.”
Bishop Laun, auxiliary bishop of Salzburg, wrote about the words of Pope Francis in March in an essay for the German Catholic news publication Kath.net. Bishop Laun told LifeSiteNews that he met the pope briefly on January 30 as part of the Austrian bishops’ ad limina visit, a meeting with the pope that bishops must do every five years. Laun added that he was the last of the bishops to speak with the Holy Father.
“In response to my questioning, Pope Francis said, ‘Gender ideology is demonic!’” Laun wrote in his essay, adding that the pope was not exaggerating in his comment. “Indeed, gender ideology is the destruction of persons, which is why Pope Francis was justified in calling it demonic,” he said.
Writing of gender ideology, Bishop Laun explained that “the core thesis of this sick product of reason is the end result of a radical feminism which the homosexual lobby has made its own.”
“It asserts that there are not only Man and Woman, but also other ‘genders’. And furthermore: every person can choose his or her gender,” he added.
“Today,” he said, “it is promoted by governments and VIPs and substantial amounts of money are spent on spreading it, even in teaching materials for kindergartens and schools.”
For more information on the subject, Bishop Laun encouraged the reading of the latest book by famed German Catholic sociologist Gabriele Kuby, Die globale sexuelle Revolution: Zerstörung der Freiheit im Namen der Freiheit (The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom).
Kuby, a long-time acquaintance of Pope Benedict, formally presented the now-pope-emeritus with a copy of the book in November 2012. “Thanks be to God that you write and speak (about these things),” Pope Benedict said to her.
For Kuby it is no shocking thing to call gender ideology demonic.
“Gender ideology is the deepest rebellion against God that is possible,” Kuby told LifeSiteNews. “Man does not accept that he is created as man or woman, no, he says, ‘I decide! This is my freedom!’ – against experience, against nature, against reason, against science!”
“It is the ultimate perversion of individualism,” she explained, “It robs man of the last remnant of his identity, that is, to be a man and a woman, after having lost faith and family and nation.”
“It is indeed diabolical,” she concluded, “that an ideology, which every person can discern as a lie, can capture the common sense of people and become the dominant ideology of our time.”
In his December 21, 2012 address to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict gave an extensive warning on the use of the “term ‘gender’ as a new philosophy of sexuality.”
“According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society,” he said. “The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious.”
The pope continued:
People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question.
Benedict XVI noted the philosophy’s harm on human dignity, family, and children. ”When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being.”
Pope Benedict again addressed gender ideology a month later in a January 19, 2013 address. “It is the duty of pastors of the Church,” said Pope Benedict, “to put the Catholic faithful and every person of good will and right reason on guard against the trend of these ideologies.”
“It is a negative trend for humankind, although it may be disguised by good feelings in the name of alleged progress, alleged rights, or an alleged humanism,” he said. “Thus the Church reaffirms her great ‘yes’ to the dignity and beauty of marriage as an expression of the faithful and generous bond between man and woman, and her no to ‘gender’ philosophies, because the reciprocity between male and female is an expression of the beauty of nature willed by the Creator.”