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Vatican issues document on challenges of ‘gender ideology’ to Catholic education

Vatican issues document on challenges of ‘gender ideology’ to Catholic education

ROME – In light of changing definitions of love and sexuality fueled by “gender theory,” the Vatican on Monday released a new document looking into issues such as “third sex,” transgenderism, and polyamory.

The document was released by the Congregation for Catholic Education and discussed the response Catholic schools should have to the changing societal landscape.

Titled Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender in education, the document is in many ways a compilation of several remarks given by Pope Francis, who has often expressed his concern over the impact gender ideology has on children.

The 30-page document begins with three quotes from the last three popes: Pope Francis, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II.

In Francis’s words, gender theory “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.”

This ideology, the quote continues, “leads to educational programs and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time.”

The Argentine pope has often spoken against this ideology, saying that it harms children and that it’s an attack against the family.

The document, signed by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi on Feb. 2, says that “it is becoming increasingly clear that we are now facing what might accurately be called an educational crisis, especially in the field of affectivity and sexuality.” Quoting Benedict, it claims that in many places, educational curricula are being planned and implemented which “allegedly convey a neutral conception of the person and of life, yet in fact reflect an anthropology opposed to faith and to right reason.”

Yet, the document says this issue should not be looked at in isolation from what John Paul II defined as “education in the call to love,” which should offer “a positive and prudent education in sexuality” within the context of the inalienable right of all to receive “an education that is in keeping with their ultimate goal, their ability, their sex, and the culture and tradition of their country, and also in harmony with their fraternal association with other peoples in the fostering of true unity and peace on earth.”

The final quote belongs not to the Polish pontiff, but to the Second Vatican Council Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis.

In an introductory letter, Versaldi said that the idea for it came in 2017, during the congregation’s general assembly, after bishops from around the world expressed their concerns over the growth of gender education in schools.

According to the document, a distinction has to be drawn between gender ideology and the research on gender that human sciences have undertaken

The ideologies of gender, as Francis has said, also seek “to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised,” precluding dialogue. On the other hand, there’s work on gender which tries instead to “achieve a deeper understanding of the ways in which sexual difference between men and women is lived out in a variety of cultures.”

To the latter, the Catholic Church should be open “to listen, reason and propose.”

The document says in the present cultural context, “it is clear that sex and gender are no longer synonyms or interchangeable concepts, since they are used to describe two different realities.”

“Sex is seen as defining which of the two biological categories? … The problem here does not lie in the distinction between the two terms, which can be interpreted correctly, but in the separation of sex from gender,” it continues.

The separation of sex from gender is at the root of the various “sexual orientations,” the document argues. These are no longer defined by the sexual difference between men and women, but it can “assume other forms, determined solely by the individual.”

Furthermore, the concept of gender depends on the “subjective mindset of each person, “who can choose a gender not corresponding to his or her biological sex, and therefore with the way others see that person (transgenderism).”

The document also says that the duality in male-female couples is seen as a conflict with the idea of “polyamory,” meaning a relationship that involves more than two individuals. This leads to a claim that relationships are not necessarily built to last, and are instead flexible, depending on the desires of the individuals. This has “consequences for the sharing of the responsibilities and obligations inherent in maternity and paternity.”

This redefinition of gender and the plurality of new types of unions are in direct contradiction to the model of marriage as between a man and a woman, which in turn is portrayed as a “vestige of patriarchal societies.”

The ideal pushed forth by this redefinition is that individuals should be allowed to choose their status, and that society should not only guarantee this right but provide material support, “since the minorities involved would otherwise suffer negative social discrimination.”

Despite the clash this theory poses with Catholic education, the document acknowledges that there can be points in common, such as the fact that children should be taught to appreciate the equal dignity of men and women; to respect every person in their particularity and difference, so that no one should suffer bullying, violence, insults or unjust discrimination based on their specific characteristics (such as special needs, race, religion, sexual tendencies); and to appreciate the values of femininity.

Nonetheless, the most “radical forms” of gender theory also create “a gradual process of denaturalization,” giving both sexual identity and family a “liquidity” and “fluidity” that characterize other aspects of post-modern culture, often rooted with a “confused sense of freedom.”

These forms of ideology create educational programs that try to negate the sexual differences between men and women, and confuse freedom with the idea that people can act “arbitrarily as if there were no truths, values and principles to provide guidance, and everything were possible and permissible.”

The document acknowledges that in some cases, sex isn’t clearly defined. But it’s up to medical professionals to make a therapeutic intervention, and it’s not up to parents, or society, to make an arbitrary decision.

Male and Female He Created Them also argues that the process of identifying sexual identity is made more difficult by the “fictitious construct known as ‘gender neuter’ or ‘third gender’” which obscures the fact that “a person’s sex is a structural determinant of male or female identity.”

The ideas of intersex or transgender, the document says, lead to a masculinity or femininity that is ambiguous. In addition, these concepts “presuppose the very sexual difference that they propose to negate or supersede.”

The document also notes that even though gender ideology aims to remove the idea of complementarity between men and women, particularly when it comes to procreation, by proposing alternatives such as in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, at the end of the day, a man and a woman are needed for either process to work.

In keeping with the teachings of the Catholic Church, it also says that children enjoy the right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother.

The document also underlines the primacy of parents in educating their children, which is supplemented by the subsidiary role of schools and the Church. Quoting Francis, it also says that this educational alliance has entered into crisis.

“There is an urgent need to promote a new alliance that is genuine and not simply at the level of bureaucracy, a shared project that can offer a positive and prudent sexual education that can harmonize the primary responsibility of parents with the work of teachers,” the document says

CATHOLIC WISDOM FOR THE SAKE OF FRIENDSHIP; LEARN AND SHARE

CATHOLIC WISDOM FOR THE SAKE OF FRIENDSHIP; LEARN AND SHARE

St. Edith Stein: Relating to our fellowman

On the question of relating to our fellowman – our neighbor’s spiritual need transcends every commandment. Everything else we do is a means to an end. But love is an end already, since God is love.

St. John Bosco: Bad companions

Fly from bad companions as from the bite of a poisonous snake. If you keep good companions, I can assure you that you will one day rejoice with the blessed in Heaven; whereas if you keep with those who are bad, you will become bad yourself, and you will be in danger of losing your soul.

St. Teresa of Avila: Friendship with God

For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.

St. Augustine: Judge a dispute

If two friends ask you to judge a dispute, don’t accept, because you will lose one friend; on the other hand, if two strangers come with the same request, accept because you will gain one friend.

St. Thomas Aquinas: Relaxation of the mind

It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.

St. Thomas Aquinas: There is nothing on this earth

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.

St. Jerome: The friendship

The friendship that can cease has never been real.

C.S. Lewis: Eros will have naked bodies

Eros will have naked bodies. Friendship naked personalities.

C.S. Lewis: Friendship is born

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one!”

Mother Teresa: Kind words

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless
Is Man Made Really Lower than the Angels?

Is Man Made Really Lower than the Angels?

When the first man was being created:

“Let us make man in our image. after our likeness … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

This does not mean that the first of the human race had exactly the same physical nature as the angels, for the angels were made to live for ever. Adam and Eve were not made never-dying: they did sin, and they suffered death as the punishment for it. That is why the whole human race has been dying ever since.

Psalm 8 is a Psalm in which the creation of the earth is extolled. Here we are told that man’s position is lower than the angels:

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? … For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” (Psalm 8:4,5)

The New Testament quotes this passage, and tells us that mankind – including the Lord Jesus himself – was made a little lower than the angels, “for the suffering of death” (Hebrews 2:9). Angels do not die, but men and women do. Even Jesus, the Son of God, was a mortal man, but has now received the glory and honour which was his due when, as he said after his resurrection, “all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).

Reasons for God creating Angels

The Creator Himself is so powerful and glorious that He cannot be approached in person by human beings. He alone “hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto: whom no man hath seen, nor can see (1 Timothy 6:16). Angels do not have man’s shortcomings, and can therefore act for God and represent Him when communicating with men and women. They bridge the huge gap between the holiness and perfection of God in heaven and the shortcomings of dying people on this planet. Angels were made immortal (that is, never to die). Their eternal quality was spoken of by Jesus when he said:

“They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God. being the children of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:35.36)

Jesus was saying that, in the same way as the angels (the children or “sons” of God) live for ever and are of one gender, so those who will be called the “sons” and “daughters” of God when Jesus returns will also live for ever and will not marr

Saint of the Day for Friday, June 21st, 2019

Saint of the Day for Friday, June 21st, 2019

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Image of St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Facts

Feast day: June 21
Death: 1591

St. Aloysius was born in Castiglione, Italy. The first words St. Aloysius spoke were the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. He was destined for the military by his father (who was in service to Philip II), but by the age of 9 Aloysius had decided on a religious life, and made a vow of perpetual virginity. To safeguard himself from possible temptation, he would keep his eyes persistently downcast in the presence of women. St. Charles Borromeo gave him his first Holy Communion.

A kidney disease prevented St. Aloysius from a full social life for a while, so he spent his time in prayer and reading the lives of the saints. Although he was appointed a page in Spain, St. Aloysius kept up his many devotions and austerities, and was quite resolved to become a Jesuit. His family eventually moved back to Italy, where he taught catechism to the poor.

When he was 18, he joined the Jesuits, after finally breaking down his father, who had refused his entrance into the order. He served in a hospital during the plague of 1587 in Milan, and died from it at the age of 23, after receiving the last rites from St. Robert Bellarmine.

The last word he spoke was the Holy Name of Jesus. St. Robert wrote the Life of St. Aloysius.

St. Lazarus

Image of St. Lazarus

Facts

Feastday: June 21
Lazarus is the poor man at the gate of the rich man in Christ’s parable related in Luke. (Luke 16:19-31) His name was perpetuated in the Middle Ages by such words as Lazaretto (hospital), Lazarone (a beggar in the street), and the Order of St. Lazarus, which though a military order, had as one of its objectives, the care of lepers.

His feast day is June 21st

St. Ralph

Facts

Feast day: June 21
Death: 866

Benedictine bishop known for his learning. Also called Raoul and Radulf, he was the son of Count Raoul of Cahors and, as was the custom of the times, was entrusted into the care of the monks of Solignac, France.

Educated under Abbot Bertrand, he may have became a monk, although he certainly rendered invaluable assistance to several abbots before receiving election as abbot himself in several houses, including St. Medard, Soissons.

Named bishop of Bourges in 840, he took part in various synods and founded monasteries and convents. Ralph was also known for his learning and the deep concern he felt for the monks in his care. He attended the Synod of Meaux in 845.