Vatican says ‘no’ to sex changes and gender theory in new document

The Vatican on Monday reaffirmed its opposition to sex changes, gender theory and surrogate parenthood, as well as abortion and euthanasia, four months after supporting blessings for same-sex couples.

The Vatican’s doctrinal office (DDF) released the “Dignitas infinita” (Infinite dignity) declaration following fierce conservative pushback, especially in Africa, against its document on LGBT issues.

There is no suggestion that the new text, which describes what the Church perceives as threats to human dignity, was prepared in direct response to the rows over same-sex blessings, as it has been five years in the making. But it has undergone extensive revisions over the period.

Pope Francis approved it after requesting that it also mention “poverty, the situation of migrants, violence against women, human trafficking, war, and other themes”, the head of the DDF, Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, said in a statement.

The declaration said surrogate parenting violated the dignity of both the surrogate mother and the child, and recalled that Francis in January called it “despicable” and urged a global ban.

On gender theory, the declaration said that “desiring a personal self-determination, as gender theory prescribes, apart from this fundamental truth that human life is a gift, amounts to a concession to the age-old temptation to make oneself God, entering into competition with the true God of love revealed to us in the Gospel”.

Gender theory, often called gender ideology by its detractors, suggests that gender is more complex and fluid than the binary categories of male and female, and depends on more than visible sexual characteristics.

On changes of gender, the declaration said that “any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception”.

It acknowledged that some people may undergo surgery to resolve “genital abnormalities”, but stressed that “such a medical procedure would not constitute a sex change in the sense intended here”.

At the same time, the text also denounced as contrary to human dignity the fact that “in some places, not a few people are imprisoned, tortured, and even deprived of the good of life solely because of their sexual orientation”.

Elsewhere, the declaration doubled down on the Vatican’s standing condemnation of abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty, quoting from Francis, his predecessors Benedict XVI and John Paul II and past Vatican documents.

It also mentioned sexual abuse as a threat to human dignity – calling it “widespread in society”, including within the Catholic Church – as well as violence against women, cyberbullying and other forms of online abuse.


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