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Saturday, October 15, 2016
Another Confusing Papal Statement, This Time on Gender Ideology
Another Confusing Papal Statement,
This Time on Gender Ideology
Another papal trip, another in-flight press conference, another statement to confuse and dismay the faithful.
Francis makes a mess on his position on transgenders in another spontaneous interview
Last Saturday, in Tbilisi, Georgia, the Holy Father denounced
gender ideology in ringing terms. “Today there is a world war to
destroy marriage,” he said, and gender theory is an important part of
it. He urged the people of Georgia to resist such “ideological
colonizations which destroy—not with weapons but with ideas.” Strong
words, these; the Pope took an uncompromising stand on a controversial
Then the next day he backed away from that stand. In fact, in his
off-the-cuff exchange with reporters on the flight back to Rome, he
showed himself willing to give gender theorists what they want most: the
freedom to change pronouns.
In answer to an American journalist’s question about his condemnation of
gender theory, the Pope delivered a convoluted yet revealing reply.
(The quotation that follows comes from a verbatim transcript of the interview, translated by the Catholic News Agency.)
"Last year I received a letter from a Spaniard who told me his story as a
child, a young man, he was a girl, a girl who suffered so much because
he felt he felt like a boy, but was physically a girl. He told his
mother and the mom…(the girl) was around 22 years old said that she
would like to do the surgical intervention and all of those things. And
the mother said not to do it while she was still alive.
"She was elderly and she died soon after. She had the surgery
and an employee of a ministry in the city of Spain went to the bishop,
who accompanied (this person) a lot. Good bishop. I spent time
accompanying this man. Then (the man) got married, he changed his civil
identity, got married and wrote me a letter saying that for him it would
be a consolation to come with his wife, he who was she, but him!"
Pope Francis welcomes transgender Grassi (right) and her supposed ‘wife’ at the Vatican
Pay careful attention to that last line: the Pope’s reference to “he who
was she, but him!” Those words are not included in the Vatican press
of the interview, but the telling phrase was reported by other news
agencies, with only small variations in the translations. The Pope said
that a “she” became a “he.” According to the official Vatican summary he
introduced the individual, born female, as “a Spanish man.” He accepted
the change of sexual identity as a fact.
The Pope went on to say that he had met with the Spanish couple, “and
they were very happy.” Nowhere did he suggest that the “he who was she”
was a troubled individual, or that he had done anything wrong. Indeed
the Pope’s full statement, in response to the reporter’s question,
suggested only that it was wrong to teach gender ideology in schools,
“to change the mentality” of students.
In this case, the Spanish girl apparently made her own decision to
manipulate her sexual identity, and the Pontiff registered no objection.
He applauded the Spanish prelate who “accompanied him greatly.” Did
that bishop urge the girl not to disfigure herself, not to rebel against
God’s plan for her life? If he did, Pope Francis did not mention it.
A young girl who is unhappy as a girl surely does need sympathy,
support, and loving care. But if she thinks of herself as a boy, she
should not be encouraged in that delusion. A girl is a girl, and a boy
is a boy, and neither medical procedures nor hormone injections can
change that reality.
‘Man and woman He created them’
from the Ghilberti panel in Florence
When God established the human race, the Book of Genesis tells us, “male
and female He created them.” The distinction between male and female
identity is the great divide, which is an integral part of God’s
plan—not just for humanity as a whole but for each and every one of us.
So what happened in the case of that unfortunate Spanish girl? Did God
make a mistake? The suggestion is ludicrous if not blasphemous. Then did
she rebel against God’s plan? If so, she certainly needs pastoral help,
but definitely not encouragement. And the same is true for other
confused young people who might hear about this case, and conclude
(mistakenly, I’m sure, but understandably) that the Pope would support
their decision to change their sexual identities.
Even for those who do not believe in a benign Creator, the sudden rise
to power of gender theory should be cause for alarm, because when we are
asked to treat a biological female as a man, or a biological male as a
woman, we are being asked to deny reality: to say something that we know
is not true.
Gender theory is indeed an assault on marriage and the family. It is
also an assault on objective truth. In that momentous battle, the
defenders of truth and of family life have just been hit by friendly