The Church looks at ‘gender theory’
At Crux, John Allen asked what Pope Francis means when he discusses “gender theory”, and how the Vatican might tackle the question.
Put simply, Allen wrote, “gender theory” refers to “theories which posit that male/female identities are not given in nature but rather socially and culturally constructed, and therefore can be revised based on one’s personal desires”. These theories, Francis has suggested, could damage the essential nature of the family.
Given the Pope’s warnings, it’s little surprise that Rome’s Santa Croce university last week hosted a conference which included a paper on gender theory. The paper, by canon lawyer Vincenzo Turchi, described gender theory as seeing sexual differences as “inessential and changeable”. Turchi also expressed concerns about how schools in Europe are teaching gender theory to children. In the end, Allen said, the discussion will have to engage with those who are sympathetic to some of the principles behind gender theory.
Christ had many more than five wounds
The “Five Wounds of Christ” is a common phrase. But “Christ was flogged, beaten, crowned with thorns, and carried his cross in addition to the Crucifixion itself”, an editor at ChurchPop.com pointed out. Therefore, the total number of wounds suffered must be far greater.
And, although it is only a private revelation, there is a mystical vision which indicates the total number. St Gertrude the Great, a 13th-century Benedictine nun in Germany, had a vision of Christ, who “revealed to her the number of wounds he received in total during his Passion: 5,466.”
From then on St Gertrude “recited a certain prayer of praise to God 5,466 times per day”, to mark each wound accepted for our salvation. In another devotion, one can “recite a prayer 15 times a day for a year, or 5 days a day for three years, both which would result in saying the prayer 5,475 times” – just over the total.
How assisted suicide expands over time
At firstthings.com,Wesley J Smith went “behind the curtain of assisted suicide advocacy”. US campaigners claim that they want only a limited “reform” to help those who are suffering. But in reality they often advocate policies which would endanger other lives. A bill in Delaware, for instance, could allow lethal prescriptions for those who have – as the bill puts it – “significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behaviour”.
Places which introduced assisted suicide have often “expanded their laws’ killable categories over the years” – notably in Belgium. Oregon is also considering removing some safeguards – for instance, that one must have less than six months to live. In these ways, “advocates sometimes give us glimpses of the more radical and extensive ultimate intentions behind their blithe assurances”.
✣ The Bishop of Brentwood is taking part in a sponsored silence next week – but has said that he will still talk to his cat.
Bishop Alan Williams will stay mostly silent for 12 hours on Tuesday as part of the siLENT initiative by the charity Million Minutes.
The proviso was reported in Brentwood cathedral’s newsletter. Bishop Williams, it said, would remain “completely silent (except for occasional communications with his cat, Delia)”. The bishop has encouraged other people to take part. “I hope everyone finds, over time, the enormous difference that silence makes in our lives.”
The initiative is also intended to raise money for Million Minutes, a charity helping young people.
✣ Two Australian identical twins have celebrated 60 years of priesthood. Fathers Patrick and John O’Neill were ordained together at the Redemptorist monastery in Ballarat on March 16, 1958.
Teachers originally thought only one of them could be called to the priesthood, and tried to work out which, but they persisted.
“It’s the mystery of vocation,” Fr Patrick told The Catholic Weekly. “Why did I want to be a priest? I don’t know. But I know it’s been a very happy life. I wouldn’t do anything else.”
✣The week in quotations
The Church must be the last to turn off the light Bishop Aguirre of Bangassou on why he must stay in Central African Republic Alfa y Omega
The supporting pillars of Christ’s Church Cardinal Robert Sarah on contemplative monks and nuns Twitter
The biggest film in history Actor Jim Caviezel on the forthcoming sequel to The Passion of the Christ EWTN
I encourage all Catholics, whether devout or disillusioned Archbishop Costelloe invites feedback ahead of Australia’s plenary council CNS
✣Statistic of the week
61 Number of new cardinals created by Pope Francis Source: the Vatican