What Our Popes & Catechism Have to Say About Gender Theory

Bart Everson, Flickr / ChurchPOP

When it comes to the issues of gender, sex, and identity, where does the Catholic Church stand?

Below is a collection of relevant quotes from the current pontiff Pope Francis, his immediate predecessor Benedict XVI, and the Catechism.

[See also: 13 Powerful Pope Francis Quotes Defending Marriage and the Family]

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You’ll see the Church holds that one’s biological sex as male or female is an essential aspect of who a person is and therefore cannot be dispensed with or altered at will. Rather, a person is a “unity of his body and soul” and “should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.” (Catechism 2332-2333)

Pope Francis

“I ask myself if the so-called gender theory is not, at the same time, an expression of frustration and resignation, which seeks to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it. Yes, we risk taking a step backwards. The removal of difference in fact creates a problem, not a solution.

General Audience, April 15th, 2015

“The crisis of the family is a societal fact. There are also ideological colonializations of the family, different paths and proposals in Europe and also coming from overseas. Then, there is the mistake of the human mind — gender theory — creating so much confusion. So, the family really is under attack.”

Meeting with young people in Naples, Italy, March, 21 2015

“[There are modern-day Herods that] destroy, that plot designs of death, that disfigure the face of man and woman, destroying creation. Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation. With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator. … God has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth. … The design of the Creator is written in nature.”

– Papa Francesco: questa economia uccide, January 2015

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Pope Benedict XVI

“[I]t is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. [The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim] quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term ‘gender’ as a new philosophy of sexuality.

“According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society.

“The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.

“According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1.27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves.

“Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned.

“From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation.

Address to the Curia, December 21, 2012

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Catechism of the Catholic Church

Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.” (2332)

Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.” (2333)

“By creating the human being man and woman, God gives personal dignity equally to the one and the other. Each of them, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.” (2393)

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