Vatican’s new critique on gender theory a ‘toothless lion’: Catholic sociologist
June 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In June 2019, the Congregation for Catholic Education issued a non-magisterial 30 page-document “Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education”. Since the triumphal march of gender theory through Western society in the last twenty years, it is the first time that the Vatican has issued a document that directly repudiates gender theory by stating the obvious: “Male and Female he created them.” The document is intended for all who, “animated by the Christian vision of life”, are engaged in education, especially in Catholic schools.
At first sight, the exposure of the destructive effect of gender ideology is like a breeze of fresh air. Gender theory “denies the difference and reciprocity in the nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.” (para. 2) This is opposed to the “Christian vision of anthropology [that] sees sexuality as a fundamental component of one’s personhood.” (para. 4)
Gender ideology is lucidly explained in its development from new anthropological theories in the 20th century down to a radical separation between biological sex and social gender. “This separation is at the root of the distinctions proposed between various ‘sexual orientations’ which are no longer defined by the sexual difference between male and female, and can then assume other forms, determined solely by the individual, who is seen as radically autonomous.” (para. 11) “Gender theory (especially in its most radical forms) speaks of a gradual process of denaturalisation, that is a move away from nature and towards an absolute option for the decision of the feelings of the human subject.” (para. 19)
Obviously, such an anthropology is a wrecking ball to the family. Kinship-relations are being dissolved, the autonomous individual loses his place in the family tree, since his relations are governed solely by his emotions and desires, which can change any time. This manifests in the dissolution of the structure of the family by propagating a “diversity” of family structures of equal value – single, patchwork and “rainbow”-families. The victims of this revolution are the children, who lose their place of belonging and formation; artificial methods of reproduction, a necessary prerequisite for diverse families, even denies them their right to their biological father and mother.
The document leaves no doubt that the parents have the original right and responsibility for the education of their children, especially in the most sensitive area of sexual education. (para. 37)
So far so good. The fundamental critique of gender ideology is presented as a “path of dialogue.” But dialogue with whom? Dialogue to which end and in what hope?
A dialogue needs some “points of agreement”. These are found in the “laudable desire to combat all expressions of unjust discrimination”. (para. 15) But what is and what is not “unjust discrimination” in a time, where people are legally persecuted if they stand up for the “ecology of man” (Benedict XVI), the respect for his very nature and his place in the order of creation?
Another “point of agreement” is found in the “values of femininity”, “the affective, cultural and spiritual motherhood which has inestimable value for the development of individuals and the future of society” (para. 18). But is there really common ground with gender-feminists who do everything to undermine the social conditions of motherhood and who fight for a “human right” for abortion?
Is there any indication for a mutual willingness to listen to the other side at this point of history?
A personal experience casts doubt on this: In 2018, I was invited to a public discussion with a representative of gender studies in the Technical University of Vienna. Five gender-study-professors had declined the invitation. Finally, the host found someone in lower ranks. When it was my turn to deliver my statement, the fire alarms went off, normally a sign to evacuate the building. A dialogue with the lady was made impossible by constant interruption and yelling in the audience – for me a déjà vu experience of 1968.
Since gender ideology is divorced from the scientific search for truth in biology, medicine, neural science, and psychology, it must turn to the manipulation of public consciousness and to totalitarian enforcement through the legal system, along with campaigns aimed at the ruin of the social and material existence of individuals. We see this happening through the legal restriction of free speech, the curtailment of religious freedom of Christians, and the obligatory sexualisation of children through the state.
The greatest bulwark against the dissolution of moral limitations to sexual activity, essential to gender ideology, was the Catholic Church. I say “was”, because gender ideology, as the theoretical mantel for the sexual revolution, has invaded the Church. When hedonistic sexual education was introduced into the schools in the 1970s, the Church still had the power to call the faithful to resistance. But she failed...and failed...and continues to fail. Despite the wealth of teaching of John Paul II, she did not develop a Christian alternative to Comprehensive Sexual Education; she did not found an institute to train teachers for sexual education in the context of preparing them for marriage and family; she did not insist on Catholic teaching and formation, not even in her own Catholic schools; she left the territory undefended to the adversary. Parents who tried to protect their children hardly ever found support through their pastor or bishop.
Why had the Church given up protecting her flock from the wolves, especially the young generation? Because she had not followed the Holy Father, Paul VI, in his 1968 passionate call in Humanae Vitae to hold on to the meaning of sexuality in the good order of Creation: pro-creation. Once the sexual act and procreation are systematically severed, which became possible through the pill of all pills, the door was opened to any and all kinds of sexual satisfaction of the body.
Half a century has passed since then, and the Church may be in its greatest crisis. One reason is that she ceased to teach and enforce what, from the very beginning of Christianity, has been the selective mark of Christian life in a pagan environment: Sex only within the marriage of one man and one woman.
For those who want to change the perennial teaching of the Church on marriage, family, and sexuality, the scandal of pervasive sexual abuse of predominately young men through priests is a welcome opportunity. The “synodal process”, initiated by Cardinal Marx, intends to adapt Catholic teaching to the demands of small and smallest sexual minorities, supported by the big media, policymakers and powerful NGOs.
The “synodal process” has been underway in Catholic schools for a long time. One example: Jesuit priest Klaus Mertes, head of the elite Catholic boarding school in Germany, Kolleg Sankt Blasien, declared publicly: “The battle for the rights of homosexuals worldwide is a project that makes it worth staying in the Church.”
There is no signal in the document of the Congregation of Catholic Education that they will, in this late hour, stand up and fight for the right of the next generation for information and formation to help them achieve their own longing for love and family. The Catholic Church should have a vital interest in that, for only then will they be willing and able to engage in the Re-Christianization of Europe. The document seems like a toothless lion which roars and, at the same time, stretches out a paw of 'dialogue' to those who want to rob him from his offspring.
In 1968 German philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote the book Trojan Horse in the City of God. He speaks of the “great secular fallacy” of our time that “religion should be adapted to man and not man to religion”.
The visible Church in Western Europe is in a state of decay. But underneath new green is sprouting. All over the world thousands of Christian initiatives spring up with a new quality of discipleship to the living Christ. They believe that the battle between rebellious man and God, will be won by God.