the vatican’s education department has issued a new document on gender issues, saying that the trend towards transgender identity amounts to “a cultural and ideological revolution driven by relativism”. The document also notes that this new ideology, which rejects “male-female duality”, is reshaping laws.
The document urges states to respect parents’ rights, and says Catholic schools should “maintain their own vision of human sexuality”.
What the media said
the document, entitled “Male and Female he Created Them”, was not signed by Pope Francis, but rather by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and the cardinal’s second-in-command. However, it quotes from Francis and other popes, and was greeted as a major statement of Vatican policy. A typical headline was the Washington Post’s: “Vatican says people can’t choose their genders”.
Philip Pullella of Reuters observed: “It was issued with little advance notice to reporters and without the customary news conference.”
The bishops of England and Wales called the document “a welcome contribution to developing Catholic thought on gender”, and praised its focus on “listening and dialogue rather than ideology”.
What LGBT activists said
New Ways Ministry, which campaigns against Church teaching on gender and sexuality, described the document as “a harmful tool that will be used to oppress and harm not only transgender people, but lesbian, gay, bisexual people, too”. The document showed that “the Vatican remains in the dark ages,” it said, “promoting a false teaching that relies on myth, rumour, and falsehoods”.
Sarah Phillips, of Ireland’s Transgender Equality Network, said she was “not surprised. I think this continues to push traditional Catholic teachings in this area. We do believe this is very unhelpful.”
The BBC’s Gender and Identity correspondent Megha Moghan said the document “came without warning and at [a] questionable time – LGBT Pride Month”.
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