Metro Weekly

Vatican says transgender people ‘annihilate the concept of nature’ in new document

LGBTQ advocates said it would encourage "hatred, bigotry, and violence" towards trans people

St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City – Photo: Simone Savoldi, via Unsplash.

The Vatican has branded transgender people a “confused concept” and said they “annihilate the concept of nature” in a new statement.

The statement, which has been heavily criticized by Catholic LGBTQ advocates, claims that people identify as transgender to be “provocative.”

Titled “Male and Female He Created Them,” the document was issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education on June 10 with little announcement.

The document urges Catholic schools to resist accepting transgender people and rejects pro-trans “gender theory.”

“In all such [gender] theories, from the most moderate to the most radical, there is agreement that one’s gender ends up being viewed as more important than being of male or female sex,” the document states. “The effect of this move is chiefly to create a cultural and ideological revolution driven by relativism, and secondarily a juridical revolution, since such beliefs claim specific rights for the individual and across society.”

The document, an “aid for Catholic schoolteachers and parents,” claims that accepting transgender people means negating “the male-female duality of human nature, from which the family is generated.”

“The denial of this duality not only erases the vision of human beings as the fruit of an act of creation but creates the idea of the human person as a sort of abstraction who ‘chooses for himself what his nature is to be,'” the Vatican claims.

The document slams those who identify as transgender and rejects people who are born intersex, saying they go “beyond the constitutive male-female sexual difference.”

Such efforts, “such as the ideas of ‘intersex’ or ‘transgender,’ lead to a masculinity or femininity that is ambiguous,” the document states. “This oscillation between male and female becomes, at the end of the day, only a ‘provocative’ display against so-called ‘traditional frameworks.'”

Amid its 30-page criticism of gender theory, the document claims that transgender identity is “nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants, or momentary desires provoked by emotional impulses and the will of the individual.”

The document has not been signed by Pope Francis, and the National Catholic Reporter reports that the pontiff had possibly not reviewed the document prior to its release.

However, Francis would likely not disagree with the document’s claims, given in 2015 he compared transgender people to nuclear weapons, saying the concept of gender identity “does not recognize the order of creation.”

New Ways Ministry, which advocates for justice and equality for LGBTQ Catholics, slammed the document in a statement, saying it would be used to “oppress and harm not only transgender people, but lesbian, gay, bisexual people too.”

“The document associates sexual and gender minorities with libertine sexuality, a gross misrepresentation of the lives of LGBT people which perpetuates and encourages hatred, bigotry, and violence against them,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways. “[It] will confuse those who sincerely struggle with questions of gender identity and sexual orientation. Such confusion leads to self-harm, addiction, and even suicide. The misinformation the document contains will cause families to reject their children, and it will increase alienation of LGBT people from the Church.”

DeBernardo added that the document shows “the Vatican remains ill-equipped to discuss gender and sexuality in the modern world.”

“By ignoring new scientific understandings of gender identity, and by refusing to engage in dialogue with LGBT people about their lived experiences of self-understanding and faith, the Vatican remains in the dark ages, promoting a false teaching that relies on myth, rumor, and falsehoods,” DeBernardo said.

Father James Martin, a prominent Jesuit minister, said that the document would be used as “a cudgel against transgender people, and an excuse to argue that they shouldn’t even exist.”

“The document is mainly a dialogue with philosophers and theologians, and with other church documents,” he said in a tweet, “but not with scientists and biologists, not with psychologists, and certainly not with LGBT people, whose experiences are given little if any weight.”

The release of the anti-trans document comes after an American Catholic bishop urged Catholic families not to attend Pride events, claiming they would be “harmful for children.”

Providence, R.I., Bishop Thomas Tobin tweeted that “Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June.”

He continued: “They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”

Tobin was slammed for his tweet on social media, with many highlighting the impact the Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse scandals have had on children across the globe.

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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