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ROME, April 15, 2015 ( – In his catechesis today, Pope Francis strongly refuted the foundational tenets of “gender theory” that forms the basis of radical feminism as well as the homosexualist political movement. The differences between men and women are not a matter of “subordination” as feminist and gender theory would have it, but of “communion and generation,” he said in his weekly General Audience at the Vatican. 

The pope wondered aloud “if so-called gender theory is not an expression of frustration and resignation, that aims to cancel out sexual difference as it is no longer able to face it. Yes, we run the risk of taking a step backwards. Indeed, the removal of difference is the problem, not the solution.”

He asked whether the current global crisis of faith, of belief in God and Christian teaching, “that is so harmful to us,” and that builds “incredulity and cynicism,” could be “connected to the crisis in the alliance between man and woman.”

Pope Francis called for a “rediscovery” of the “alliance between man and woman.

“The earth is filled with harmony and trust when the alliance between man and woman is lived well.” He encouraged intellectuals “not to ignore this scheme” in their efforts to build a just society.”

In his ongoing catechesis on the family, Francis said that within the context of their differences, men and women are equally made “in the image of God.” The idea that men and women are naturally opposed, or the development of this idea by gender ideologues that human beings can be opposed to their own sex, is a manifestation of a larger problem, the pope said.

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The foundation of Catholic teaching on sexuality is the concept of the natural “complementarity between man and woman.”

“Not only man as such, not only woman as such, but rather man and woman, as a couple, are the image of God. The difference between them is not a question of contrast or subordination, but instead of communion and generation, always in the image and semblance of God.”

“Men and women must instead speak more, listen more, know each other better, value each other more,” the pope said, treating each other “with respect and cooperating in friendship.” And it is on this mutually enriching equitable interaction between men and women that families are founded within “a lifelong matrimonial and family union.”

Pope Francis has repeatedly warned against the threat of the gender ideology that has taken hold in much of the institutional life of the western world in the last decades. He is starting to come under criticism from feminists for his repeated reiterations of traditional Christian concepts on marriage, femininity, and maternity.

In 2013, speaking to the Women’s Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity the pope warned against the growth of ideologies that “destroy woman and her vocation.”

These, he said, promote “a type of emancipation which, in order to occupy spaces taken away from the masculine, abandons the feminine with the precious traits that characterize it.”