Bishop Strickland . . . Male And Female, He Created Them

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August 27, 2020
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August 27, 2020

By Most Rev. Joseph Strickland, The Wanderer, August 24, 2020

(Republished with permission of Mr. Joe Matt, The Wanderer)

Rejecting the gift of sexual difference is a rejection of the giver.

In June of 2019, the Congregation for Catholic Education of the Vatican issued, Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education. In this document, the congregation sought to engage a growing trend in educational institutions to reject the gift of sexual difference. Its introductory paragraph frames the entire document:

“It is becoming increasingly clear that we are now facing with what might accurately be called an educational crisis, especially in the field of affectivity and sexuality. In many places, 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’ (citing Pope Benedict XVI in 2011). The disorientation regarding anthropology which is a widespread feature of our cultural landscape has undoubtedly helped to destabilize the family as an institution, bringing with it a tendency to cancel out the differences between men and women, presenting them instead as merely the product of historical and cultural conditioning.”

This document reaffirmed what the unbroken teaching of the Bible, the Christian Tradition, the natural law, biology, medical science, and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church have all affirmed concerning what is now called “gender ideology.” In short, that “gender ideology” is a complete rejection of God’s loving plan in creating us “male and female.” It posits a false and indefensible new anthropology.

In paragraph 31 of this Vatican document we read these words:

“Christian anthropology has its roots in the narrative of human origins that appears in the Book of Genesis, where we read that ‘God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them’ (Gen. 1:27). These words capture not only the essence of the story of creation but also that of the life-giving relationship between men and women, which brings them into intimate union with God. The self is completed by the one who is other than the self, according to the specific identity of each person, and both have a point of encounter forming a dynamic of reciprocity which is derived from and sustained by the Creator.”

The teaching of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on this vital truth was consistent and needs to be revisited. For example, in an address to the Roman Curia on Thursday, December 21, 2012, he presented “gender ideology” as a dangerous part of the crisis facing marriage and family in these words: “While up to now what we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being — of what being human really means — is being called into question.”

In rejecting the very notion of “gender ideology,” he wrote with crystal clarity: “According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: It is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, which serves as a defining element of the human being.

“They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God.”

“This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: ‘male and female he created them’ (Gen. 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female — hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will.”

A Manipulation Of Nature

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI further referred to gender ideology as another form of a manipulation of nature. Given the clear and undeniable rejection of this false and dangerous ideology by Pope Emeritus Benedict, I add the following words from that same address:
“The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him.

“. . . When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker Himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defense of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.”

A Rejection Of God As Creator

In one sense, there is nothing new about “gender ideology.” It is simply one more rejection of the Lord’s loving plan of creation. That is quite old. At the end of the first chapter of his Letter to the Romans (cf. Romans 1:18-32), the Apostle Paul summarized some errors which were running rampant in the culture into which the early Christians were sent on mission. They are not all that different than what is evident in the rejection of the difference between men and women in our own time.

The culture of the West increasingly defines “freedom” as a right to choose anything and has all but rejected its constitutive connection to truth and goodness. Liberty has degenerated into license and the newspeak of the age calls the instrumental use of the body of another sexual freedom. Sadly, the same spirit of the age fails to recognize the integral unity of the human person, body, soul, and spirit, and has turned the human body into a machine with parts which the revolutionaries think can simply be interchanged. The champions of the new Cultural Revolution are determinists and materialists.

St. Paul summarized his entire condemnation (which is well worth reading, though increasingly not preached or taught) with these words: “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!” Like the ancient pagans in Rome, we live in an age which is rushing into darkness while professing to be enlightened. Pope Emeritus Benedict was correct, and his insights provide clarity in a cloud of confusion. In a world with no givens we deny the gift of our identity as male or female. As a result, we are impoverished and not liberated.

Legislative Compulsion

We are also being told that we must accommodate the idea that people can choose their “gender identity” and change it, at will. Some proponents of this new ideology in elective office insist that we restructure the entire social order through legislation, or litigation, to accommodate this new ideology. Further, we must pay for it with tax dollars or mandatory insurance coverage.

Federal law, once properly intended to protect against discrimination against people because they are male or female, is being used as a stick to compel businesses and schools to open restroom facilities designated for women to men who decide they are women and vice-versa. This is dangerous. The denial of the obvious and undeniable difference between men and women is also being hoisted upon sports leagues and male and female competitions. This is fundamentally unfair.

We face an increase in what are wrongly referred to as sex change or gender reassignment surgeries. Though those who suffer from Gender Identity Disorder (GID) deserve empathy, the facts remain: No such surgery can accomplish a change of sexual identity. In effect, they mutilate the body and destroy the bodily integrity of the person. Every single human cell contains chromosomes which identify whether we are male or female. That cannot be changed. It is a given. In fact, it is a gift. To reject the gift is to reject the giver.

Removal of genitals and attachment of artificially constructed ones which are incapable of ovulation or conception, in the case of a transsexual male who tries to be a woman, or the generation of sperm, in the case of a transsexual woman trying to be a man, will not change the structure of reality.

Instead, the removal constitutes mutilation. The construction of artificial organs with no reproductive function does not alter the sex of the person. Medical science confirms that our identity as male or female affects even our brains. In addition, even the physical appearance must be sustained by massive doses of synthetic hormones. These are dangerous chemicals, inflicting serious harm on many fronts.
The constant bombardment of propaganda pretending to be science and verbal engineering in this matter, has all but squelched helpful discourse. But there is some room for discussion as the “experts” are rethinking their positions. In fact, only recently, the American Journal of Psychiatry, which had all but encouraged what it called “gender affirming surgery” (formerly called gender “reassignment” surgery), issued an “erratum,” cautioning that its former advocacy may bear some second thoughts.

Pope Emeritus Benedict was correct: “The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious.” Sexual Difference is a gift and the dangers of the Gender Identity Movement must be exposed and opposed. In a culture where freedom has been redefined as a right to choose anything — and liberty has degenerated into license — the newspeak of the age has declared the instrumental use of the body of another to be sexual freedom. Sadly, the same spirit of the age fails to recognize the integral unity of the human person, body, soul, and spirit, and has turned the human body into a machine with parts which the revolutionaries think can simply be interchanged.

In 2002 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a letter which was sent, without public release, to every Catholic bishop. It clearly stated that such surgical procedures do not alter a person’s gender and that in no circumstance are baptismal records of such individuals who have undergone them to be altered. Further, the document made clear that no one who has undergone such a surgery is eligible to marry, be ordained to the priesthood, or enter the religious life.

At the time the letter was received from Rome, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory was the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He sent a letter to all U.S. bishops in which he wrote: “The altered condition of a member of the faithful under civil law does not change one’s canonical condition, which is male or female as determined at the moment of birth.” This is still true.

The Gender Identity Movement insists upon the recognition in the positive or civil law of a newfound “right” to choose one’s own gender which is not only wrong, and violative of religious freedom, it rejects the natural law and medical science. Proponents of the movement now insist upon new laws which accommodate, fund, and enforce this newfound “right.”

Those involved in the activist wing of the movement want to compel the rest of society to recognize their vision of a brave new world or face the police power of the state to compel them to do so. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was correct: “The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious.”

Gender is a gift. The dangers of the Gender Identity Movement are becoming increasingly clear. To reject the gift is to reject the Giver. Gender ideology and the movement it has engendered must be exposed and opposed for the real common good.

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