The Bishops of England & Wales have welcomed the Vatican Congregation for Education document Male and Female He Created Them. A spokesperson for the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales said: “The issuing of the Vatican document is a welcome contribution to developing Catholic thought on gender.”
The Vatican document complements the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales statement on gender which was issued last year. That statement expressed both deep concern that the ideology of gender is causing confusion, and promoted listening and accompaniment.
Both documents note the words of Pope Francis that the ideology of gender:
“denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual difference, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family. This ideology leads to educational programmes 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”… It needs to be emphasised that “biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated”. (Amoris Laetitia 56)
Both of these texts propose listening and dialogue rather than ideology, as the bishops’ statement notes:
“We recognise that there are people who do not accept their biological sex. We are concerned about and committed to their pastoral care. Through listening to them we seek to understand their experience more deeply and want to accompany them with compassion, emphasising that they are loved by God and valued in their inherent God-given dignity. There is a place of welcome for everyone in the Catholic Church.”