Vat­i­can’s new rules for gen­der the­ory

The West Australian - - NEWS - JAMIE SEI­DEL

It is evo­lu­tion ver­sus cre­ation. Is gen­der a widely var­ied ge­netic mech­a­nism or a God-be­stowed mir­a­cle?

The Vat­i­can has cho­sen the lat­ter. It has is­sued a new dic­tum: Male and Fe­male — He Cre­ated Them.

The 31-page teach­ing guide is aimed at in­struct­ing Catholic school­teach­ers to chal­lenge the sec­u­lar un­der­stand­ings that “deny the nat­u­ral dif­fer­ence be­tween a man and a woman”.

Teach­ers are urged to reaf­firm “the meta­phys­i­cal roots of sex­ual dif­fer­ence”.

Trans­gen­der com­mu­ni­ties are there merely to pro­voke, dis­rupt tra­di­tion and “an­ni­hi­late the con­cept of na­ture”, the guide states.

The Catholic education min­istry, it­self in­volved in scan­dal over decades of child sex­ual abuse coverups, says that it wants to pro­mote new di­a­logue on the “ques­tion of gen­der in education”.

“Ef­forts to go be­yond the con­sti­tu­tive male-fe­male sex­ual dif­fer­ence, such as the ideas of ‘in­ter­sex’ or ‘trans­gen­der’, lead to a mas­culin­ity or fem­i­nin­ity that is am­bigu­ous,” the guide says.

“This os­cil­la­tion be­tween male and fe­male be­comes, is at the end of the day, only a ‘provoca­tive’ dis­play against so­called ‘tra­di­tional frame­works’.”

But the LGBTQ Catholic New Ways Min­istry told the Na­tional Catholic Re­porter the guide would be used to op­press and harm not only trans­gen­der peo­ple, but also les­bian, gay and bi­sex­ual peo­ple.

In the guide, signed by the ed­u­ca­tional con­gre­ga­tion’s lead­ers, Car­di­nal Giuseppe Ver­saldi and Arch­bishop An­gelo Zani, it says: “It is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly clear we are now fac­ing what might ac­cu­rately be called an ed­u­ca­tional cri­sis, es­pe­cially in the field of af­fec­tiv­ity and sex­u­al­ity.” This may cause prob­lems. Catholic schools ac­cept money from sec­u­lar demo­cratic gov­ern­ments — which raise taxes from non-Catholics — to pro­vide chil­dren with an education. Not an in­doc­tri­na­tion. It’s a com­pli­cated le­gal is­sue that has flared in the past, par­tic­u­larly with the clash be­tween Creation­ists who be­lieve the world is 5000 years old and cre­ated by God, and sec­u­lar sci­ence which has gath­ered em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence in­di­cat­ing the planet has evolved over the past three bil­lion years.

Pope Fran­cis, pic­tured, un­der im­mense pres­sure from ex­treme right-wing parish­ioners, has not made his po­si­tion clear on the education guide.

Ac­cord­ing to the Catholic Re­porter, he has pre­vi­ously said gen­der the­ory “does not recog­nise the or­der of cre­ation”. But he has also stated: “We must be at­ten­tive, not say­ing all are the same.”

The guide is far less ac­com­mo­dat­ing, stat­ing gen­der the­ory is a process of mov­ing away from na­ture.

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