Tag: Pope Francis

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

Pope signals he’s open to married Catholic men becoming priests

Pope signals he’s open to married Catholic men becoming priests

pope married priests delia gallagher looklive_00005503

Pope may be open to married men as priests 

Rome (CNN)

Pope Francis has said he is open to married men becoming priests to combat the Roman Catholic Church’s shortage of clergy.In an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, Pope Francis said the lack of Catholic priests was an “enormous problem” for the Church, and indicated he would be open to a change in the rules governing eligibility for the priesthood.”We need to consider if ‘viri probati’could be a possibility,” he said.

“If so, we would need to determine what duties they could undertake, for example, in remote communities.”Viri probati is the Latin term for “tested men” or married men of outstanding faith and virtue.Pope Francis holds firm against conservative push back.

The option would allow men who are already married to be ordained as priests. But single men who are already priests would not be allowed to marry, according to the Pope.”Voluntary celibacy is not a solution,” he said.Pope Francis: Put down your cell phone, pick up a Bible.

The Catholic Church already allows some married men to be ordained priests.Protestant married priests who convert to Catholicism can continue to be married and be a Roman Catholic priest, providing they have their wives’ permission.And Eastern Catholic churches that are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church can also maintain their tradition of married priests.

The Roman Catholic Church believes priests should not marry based on certain passages in the Bible, and because it believes that the priest acts “in persona Christi” (in the person of Christ) and should therefore be celibate, like Christ.Pope forces conservative out in condom battle.

This teaching was re-affirmed by St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.Pope Francis in his book, “On Heaven and Earth,” said that “For the time being, I am in favor of maintaining celibacy with the pros and cons that it has, because it has been ten centuries of good experiences more often than failure.”

By Delia Gallagher CNN

13 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About Pope Francis

13 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About Pope Francis

He’s a pope with a lot of heart — but only half of another certain body part.


He’s one of the world’s most public figures — and yet, you might not know him as well as you think. Here are a few facts to help you learn a bit more about the “the people’s pope.”

1 He is the first Latin American to lead the Roman Catholic church.


Pope Francis, also known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, while most of history’s other popes have called Europe their homeland (about 200 were from Italy alone). The 266th pope is also the first of the Jesuit faction to lead the church.

2 He has a background in chemistry.


Before he entered the Diocesan Seminary of Villa Devoto, Pope Francis graduated from a technical school, where he trained as a chemical technician.

3 He once taught literature and psychology.


From 1964 to 1965, the Pope taught literature and psychology at Immaculate Conception College in Santa Fé, and then a year later, he taught the same subjects at the Colegio del Salvatore in Buenos Aires. But he didn’t stop being a student so soon, either: In 1986 he earned a doctorate theology in Freiburg, Germany.

4 He nearly became pope in 2005.


After the death of Pope John Paul II, Jorge Bergoglio (as Pope Francis was known then) reportedly received the second-most votes in the papal conclave. But was Pope Benedict XVI (aka Joseph Ratzinger) who was the winner.Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

5 He can be pretty stealthy.


BBC Rome reported that he snuck out of Vatican City the morning after his election — in a motorcade of unmarked vehicles — to pray in a Roman Basilica.

6 He turned down the fancy apartment.


While the popes usually reside in more upscale quarters (a tradition that has lasted almost a century), Pope Francis opted for a simple two-room apartment instead.Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

7 He kinda loves taking selfies.


Pope Francis regularly enjoys smiling next to his fans’ outstretched arms — a new tetchy tradition not encountered by many popes who have come before him. Though, the move does prove to be a challenge for his security detail.

8 His first international visit as Pope was to Brazil.


In July 2013, Pope Francis traveled to Brazil — and people first started to notice what many have called a “refreshing approach” to the papacy (for instance, while Pope Francis has made addressing poverty a tent pole of his papal plans, he has also surprised many with a more open attitude toward the environment, the gay community, and women’s rights).

“We don’t agree on everything, but I recognize he’s different, maybe since he’s South American,” citizen Saulo Palacio told the New York Times upon the Pope’s Brazilian visIt.

9 He’s the only pope to ever make cover of “Rolling Stone.”


Another nod to his reception around the world, the January 2014 feature was titled “Pope Francis: The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

10 He made a pop-rock CD.


OK, so maybe he was even more fit for Rolling Stone than we thought! The album — called Wake Up! — was released in November, and features the pope singing hymns and giving speeches with upbeat tunes in the background. You kind of have to hear it to believe it.Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

11 He doesn’t love the bullet proof Pope mobile.


The traditional Pope mobiles are completely bulletproof — but according to CNN, Pope Francis refers to them as “sardine cans,” and says he’d rather be closer to the people. He’s been seen throughout his papacy cruising around in other vehicles like Fiats and Jeep Wranglers instead.

12 He only has one lung.


As a teenager, a serious infection came upon him, and the Pope underwent surgery to remove a lung — a procedure that likely would have been avoided today, thanks to advancements in antibiotics.Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

13 He was the first pope to be honored as “Person of the Year”.



Giggling at baby pope lookalikes, stopping to bless children during ceremonies, visiting the sick, and advocating for the less fortunate are just a few of the reasons he’s known as “the people’s pope” — and why he was the first pope ever named Person of the Year by Time in 2013.

Pope Francis gives all priests permission to forgive the ‘grave sin’ of abortion

Pope Francis gives all priests permission to forgive the ‘grave sin’ of abortion

Any Catholic priest can grant forgiveness to a woman who has had an abortion, Pope Francis announced Sunday.

A year ago, Francis said that priests could forgive the sin of having an abortion during a special Year of Mercy. In his lengthy letter marking the end of that year Sunday, he said he would extend that option in perpetuity, beyond the special year.

“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” he wrote. “In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”

The Rev. James Bretzke, a Jesuit professor at Boston College, said Pope Francis likely planned the extraordinary jubilee year — which he declared outside the normal cycle that calls for a jubilee every 25 to 50 years — as a test run for a permanent change on abortion.

Before the Year of Mercy, abortion was in a class of sins considered “crimes,” which required a higher authority than a priest to absolve. A woman might have to confess her sin to a bishop, for example, rather than her parish pries

These crimes are mostly very uncommon sins — violating the communion wafer, revealing what was said in confession and physically attacking the pope are all on the list, Bretzke said. Abortion has been the outlier since the list of crimes was first standardized in canon law in 1917.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had long said that any U.S. priest could hear confessions of abortions, but other countries did not make an exception for abortion. Bretzke said that when he taught in the Philippines, he learned that bishops authorized each priest to forgive only so many abortions and then stop.

Even in countries where absolution was available, Pope Francis’s declaration a year ago helped publicize to Catholic women that they could confess. Bretzke said he heard a confession this year from one woman whose priest told her in the 1980s that she could never be forgiven for her abortion. “This woman lived for decades with this unforgiven sin,” he said. When the woman heard about Pope Francis’s Year of Mercy, she went to Bretzke to seek absolution at last.

In his letter Sunday, Francis also extended another controversial idea that he tested during the one-year jubilee. He had allowed priests from the breakaway sect Society of St. Pius X to hear confessions during that one year, despite the fact that they differ from the church by rejecting the modern revisions from 1965’s Second Vatican Council.

On Sunday, Francis said that Catholics can still receive absolution from these priests, and he trusts that the priests will work toward being in “full communion” with the church eventually.

The 7,230-word letter, laid out as a teaching on biblical passages in which God shows mercy to sinners, contained many other suggestions, such as devoting one Sunday a year entirely to biblical readings in church to remind parishioners of the importance of Scripture, and creating a World Day of the Poor to remember the need for greater charity.

Bretzke noted the phrase “culture of mercy” that Francis used in the letter, saying it struck him as a response to Pope John Paul II’s description in 1995 of a “culture of life” and “culture of death.”

“People would tend to put their opponents in the ‘culture of death’ camp,” Bretzke said. “When you see ‘culture of mercy,’ it doesn’t have a companion term. Culture of legalism? Culture of hardheartedness?”

There’s no direct opposite to mercy, and that’s on purpose, Bretzke surmised — a subtle way to slow down the polarization of those with differing beliefs.