Sometime in June, 2019, the Vatican published a document stating the Catholic church’s position on gender change. According to the 30-page Vatican document entitled “Male and Female He Created Them,” gender cannot be changed, in which church touts the notion as a personal choice rather than biological, and is akin to an endeavor that sets out to “annihilate the concept of nature.”
The Vatican document sub-captioned as “Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender in Education” intends to help lay leaders and educators in discussing human sexuality, particularly among young students. After all, the issue is currently one of the most debated today.
However, the New Ways Ministry, an organization seeking to reconcile faithful LGBTQ Catholics with the church, is calling the published document a “harmful,” rather than an educational tool. Francis DeBernardo, editor-in-chief of the New Ways Ministry said that the Vatican’s description delineation of gender identity, will be used to harm and oppress not only those who choose to change their gender (transgenders), but also gays, lesbians, and bisexuals as a whole.
According to DeBernardo, the document “Male and Female He Created Them,” grossly misreprepresents the LGBTQ society by linking their communities to libertine or unprincipled sexuality. A position, which if inculcated as part of ministry and education, especially among the youth, will encourage as well as perpetuate, bigotry, hatred and violence against the different members of the LBGTQ minorities.
What the Vatican States about Gender Change
The Vatican released the document in time with the LGBTQ’s 2019 global celebration of June as “Pride Month,” to which Italy also participated.
Prepared by the Congregation for Catholic Education (CCE), the document focuses on “an educational crisis” arising from debates about the topic of sexuality and “gender theory.” Through statements, the CCE conveys that educational challenges have emerged because of the varying forms of sexual ideology that fall under the general category of “gender theory.”
The Gender theory is a cognitive theory introduced by Sandra Bem in 1981, which strives to explain how individuals are gendered in society, and of how gender-related characteristics are observed and transferred to other members of a culture.
The document text states that the gender theory
“denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman, envisaging a society that is without sexual differences, whilst eliminating the anthropological basis.”
In response, Francis DeBernardo wrote that the text of the document will only confuse those who are earnestly struggling to seek answers to questions about their sexual orientation and gender identity. Such states of confusion can lead to addiction, inflicting self-harm, and at worst, even suicide. Moreover, families who misconstrue the intent for which the document was published, would give them a reason to reject their children, which eventually leads to the alienation of LGBT people from the church.