New Vatican Document on Gender Theory



The Congregation for Catholic Education has issued an appositely timed and much needed teaching document which outlines the philosophical origins of the gender theory movement, and notes the broad movement to enshrine its distinct anthropology in policy and law.

The first thought for many parents in the UK who have been literally sold down the river on this issue by Catholic bishops, is how deeply this undermines the Catholic Education Services' useless guideline document?

In the new document, the Congregation explains that, beginning in the middle of the twentieth century, a series of studies were published which proposed that external conditioning had the primary determinative influence on personality. When such studies were applied to human sexuality, the document says, they did so with a view to demonstrating that sexuality identity was more a social construct than a given natural or biological fact.
“These schools of thought were united in denying the existence of any original given element in the individual, which would precede and at the same time constitute our personal identity, forming the necessary basis of everything we do.”
“Over the course of time, gender theory has expanded its field of application. At the beginning of the 1990s, its focus was upon the possibility of the individual determining his or her own sexual tendencies without having to take account of the reciprocity and complementarity of male-female relationships, nor of the procreative end of sexuality,” the document says.

The result was a “radical separation between gender and sex, with the former having priority over the later.”

The problem with this theory, according to the Congregation, is not the distinction between the two terms, which can be properly understood, but in the separation of the two from each other.

“The propositions of gender theory converge in the concept of ‘queer’, which refers to dimensions of sexuality that are extremely fluid, flexible, and as it were, nomadic.”

The result of this ideological trend, according to the Congregation’s assessment, is an undermining of the family.

“[In gender theory] the only thing that matters in personal relationships is the affection between the individuals involved, irrespective of sexual difference or procreation which would be seen as irrelevant in the formation of families.”

“Thus, the institutional model of the family (where a structure and finality exist independent of the subjective preferences of the spouses) is bypassed, in favor of a vision of family that is purely contractual and voluntary.”

The document said that despite the challenges, dialogue remains possible. It also called for protection of human and family rights, decried unjust discrimination, and noted points of unity among people of divergent perspectives on gender ideology.

“For instance, educational programs on this area often share a laudable desire to combat all expressions of unjust discrimination, a requirement that can be shared by all sides,” the document said.

“Indeed, it cannot be denied that through the centuries forms of unjust discrimination have been a sad fact of history and have also had an influence within the Church. This has brought a certain rigid status quo, delaying the necessary and progressive inculturation of the truth of Jesus’ proclamation of the equal dignity of men and women, and has provoked accusations of a sort of masculinist mentality, veiled to a greater or lesser degree by religious motives.”

The aim of the Church at the institutional and individual level must be the education of children in line with authentic principles which defend and instil authentic human dignity, the Congregation explains.

“In practice, the advocacy for the different identities often presents them as being of completely equal value compared to each other.”

“The generic concept of ‘non-discrimination’ often hides an ideology that denies the difference as well as natural reciprocity that exists between men and women.”

Referencing classical philosophy, historic Church teaching, Vatican Council II and the writings of several popes, the document explains the Church’s understanding of a Christian anthropology, insisting that it be at the heart of human formation.

For Christians working in schools, both religious and secular, the radical individualism of gender theory should be avoided in favor of teaching children “to overcome their individualism and discover, in the light of faith, their specific vocation to live responsibly in a community.”

Above all, the document says, the family remains “the primary community” to which the students belong and the fundamental vehicle for preserving, understanding, and transmitting human dignity.

“The school must respect the family’s culture. It must listen carefully to the needs that it finds and the expectations that are directed towards it.”

In the modern context, however, the essential alliance between school and family “has entered into crisis,” the Congregation notes.

“There is an urgent need to promote a new alliance that is genuine and not simply at the level of bureaucracy, a shared project that can offer a ‘positive and prudent sexual education’ that can harmonise the primary responsibility of parents with the work of teachers.”

“Although ideologically-driven approaches to the delicate questions around gender proclaim their respect for diversity, they actually run the risk of viewing such difference as static realities and end up leaving them isolated and disconnected from each other,” the document concludes.

Promoting a culture of dialogue between the Church and those advancing gender theory principles must take place, the document says, in a manner that respects “the legitimate aspirations of Catholic schools to maintain their own vision of human sexuality,” based on “an integral anthropology capable of harmonizing the human person’s physical, psychic and spiritual identity.”

The congregation ends by insisting on the rights of the Church, the family, and of Catholic educators to defend authentic teaching and understanding in the face of an increasingly exclusivist approach to education in line with secular progressive principles.

“A democratic state cannot reduce the range of education on offer to a single school of thought, all the more so in relation to this extremely delicate subject, which is concerned on the one hand with the fundamentals of human nature, and on the other with natural rights of parents to freely choose any educational model that accords with the dignity of the human person.”

Predictably, the movements which have grown up within the Church and embrace the LGBT ideology are devastated. In an article in his own America magazine, Father James Martin S.J. states
" The document relies on categories of “male” and “female” that were shaped centuries ago, and not always with the most accurate scientific methods." 
As someone pointed out on Twitter, this statement is philosophically risible as well as theologically heretical. It does show how disparate his position is when compared to the teaching of the Church.

Of course, his position has been allowed to fester under Pope Francis, who promoted Martin. This is a strategy we have seen time and time again now from the Pope, who says one thing and does something completely different. Ultimately Pope Francis doesn't matter; Church teaching is clear and consistent and those who seek to overturn it have also made their positions increasingly clear during this pontificate.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has taken a lead in promoting LGBT issues in England & Wales going as far as recommending a banned pro-homosexualist group as appropriate for priests to recommend. This group were then promoted by the Bishop of Northampton, Peter Doyle. With bishops promoting this direction, it didn't take long before sympathetic and confused clergy took up the call, most notably in my own diocese Fr Dominic Howarth, who was forced to take down an article which promoted gay sex as being "in complete concordance with being Catholic" from the Diocesan Caritas website. Fr Howarth is the priest in charge of formation and youth ministry for the diocese of Brentwood!

Has the Vatican now exposed these men and u-turned, leaving them high and dry to some extent?

In the US, the repeatedly censured gay activist group New Ways Ministry reacted in a predictable manner:
The founders of New Ways Ministry, Sister Jeanine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent, were investigated and censured by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1999.

The CDF found for their teaching on homosexuality to be “erroneous and dangerous" and “doctrinally unacceptable.” The two were “permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons,” an order they both disobeyed.

New Ways Ministry has also been condemned twice by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and banned from Catholic venues in several dioceses.

In 2015, New Ways and other homosexual advocacy groups were prohibited from holding a shadow LGBT outreach at a Catholic parish during the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. Despite this, the one quote used by the BBC on its flagship 10pm News Programme about the release of the document by their religion correspondent, Martin Bashir, was from New Ways Ministry. As always, the BBC demonstrates its religious illiteracy on this issue and demonstrates its unwillingness (or inability) to report about LGBT issues in a fair and balanced way.

At the same time, we saw two stories enter the news cycle about lesbians being targeted with violence. This was one Facebook post that went viral:

It is worth noting here that, as amply demonstrated by New Ways Ministry's tweet embedded above, any criticism of LGBTism are immediately labelled with violence. Any attempt to criticise the LGBT juggernaut will mean violence will be visited on LGBT people (I know these terms are not anthropologically correct, but for the sake of ease of discussion I am using them).

Personally, the idea of being violent to anyone for any random reason (beyond trying to stop them from hurting someone innocent) is abhorrent and clearly these attacks are utterly wrong, I condemn them unequivocally. HOWEVER...In an age of smartphones, it is interesting that no one caught any footage of the assault and no pictures of the assailants have been posted wouldn't you say?

If these two girls were attacked because they were lesbians it does indeed say something very worrying about the way we are progressing as a society. It speaks of increased hatred and bigotry where we boast of being open and progressive. It could potentially also say something about the role of pornography in our society and the way that is affecting male stereotypes about male/female interaction (eg centring them in violence). But I also fear that it speaks to a cultural paradigm which is foisted on a generation (i.e. gender ideology) and which does not make any cognitive sense. This is the truth which the Vatican document speaks. If a political/cultural progressive elite  (which could actually be quite accurately represented by the BBC as an organisation) have decided that society is going to trend in a cognitively dissonant direction, and they are going to make every effort to assert that this cognitively dissonant paradigm is normative, in contradiction to all the biological cues and facts and norms, and if they are going to start calling out ANYONE who disagrees as "homophobic" and "bigoted" and shut them down, kick them off social media, publicly shame them for their "intolerance" etc, etc, etc, does it not seem likely that there will, at some point, be some kind of push back against that? And would it not seem likely that they less enlightened members of society, those less able to articulate their anxious feelings in other ways, may well resort to violent expressions of their discontent? It is wrong on every level, but what I am seeing more and more is a fracturing of society which embeds itself in stories which seek to demonise the other perspective rather than, as the Vatican document suggests, enter into a dialogue.

This is further demonstrated by the fight in Birmingham between a culture that wants to teach five year olds that homosexuality is normative and parents who want the freedom to teach their children that it is not. I blogged about the issue here introducing the reality of secular intolerance. The issue is nicely summarised by Brendan O'Neil in this tweet:
If you read article 18 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights, it states:
Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
To "manifest his religion or belief in teaching". 

I think it is vital to understand that the government's argument is a reasonable one: that we live in a society which has families with two dads and two mums and children as young as five should be taught that so as children of those parents are not excluded or bullied in any way. Fair enough, right?

One of the problems we (as Catholics) face is that we have not applied our approach to sexual morality equally to those with same sex attractions as to those with attractions to the opposite sex. God's plan for sex is good, it is life affirming, it is positive. It is within marriage for the purpose of procreation. For the Church to address the heart of the LGBT revolution it must work to develop our reverence for and reflection upon the procreative orientation of every act of sex. LGBT teaching is a matter of what Catholics believe to be moral and not singling out a group to treat differently. If is a matter of moral discrimination we need to at least be consistent.

Now the question is, if we get our act together (which is down to the teachers of the faith, foremost, the bishops) is what the government are trying to do with this LGBT issue a breach of the human rights act?


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