The Dispatch: More from CWR...

New Vatican document says gender theory is ‘cultural and ideological revolution’

The new document from the Congregation for Catholic Education, entitled “Male and Female He Created Them”, is a sweeping denunciation of so-called gender theory.

(Graphic: | Rawpixel)

Vatican City, Jun 10, 2019 / 08:35 am (CNA).- A Vatican department has issued a sweeping denunciation of so-called gender theory, and affirmed the principles of human dignity, difference, and complementarity.

“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 Congregation for Catholic Education wrote June 10, in a new document entitled “Male and Female He Created Them.”

“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 says it aims to set out an intellectual framework “towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender theory in education.”

Published at the beginning of “Pride Month,” during which many cities and corporations mark the campaign of LGBT advocacy, the document says that the Church teaches an essential difference between men and woman, ordered in the natural law and essential to the family and human flourishing.

“There is a need to reaffirm the metaphysical roots of sexual difference, as an anthropological refutation of attempts to negate the male-female duality of human nature, from which the family is generated,” the document explains.

“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 text, signed by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, outlines the philosophical origins of the gender theory movement, and notes the broad movement to enshrine its distinct anthropology in policy and law.

The Congregation explains that, beginning in the middle of the twentieth century, a series of studies were published which proposed that external conditioning had the primary determinative influence on personality. When such studies were applied to human sexuality, the document says, they did so with a view to demonstrating that sexuality identity was more a social construct than a given natural or biological fact.

“These schools of thought were united in denying the existence of any original given element in the individual, which would precede and at the same time constitute our personal identity, forming the necessary basis of everything we do.”

“Over the course of time, gender theory has expanded its field of application. At the beginning of the 1990s, its focus was upon the possibility of the individual determining his or her own sexual tendencies without having to take account of the reciprocity and complementarity of male-female relationships, nor of the procreative end of sexuality,” the document says.

The result was a “radical separation between gender and sex, with the former having priority over the later.”

The problem with this theory, according to the Congregation, is not the distinction between the two terms, which can be properly understood, but in the separation of the two from each other.

“The propositions of gender theory converge in the concept of ‘queer’, which refers to dimensions of sexuality that are extremely fluid, flexible, and as it were, nomadic.”

The result of this ideological trend, according to the Congregation’s assessment, is an undermining of the family.

“[In gender theory] the only thing that matters in personal relationships is the affection between the individuals involved, irrespective of sexual difference or procreation which would be seen as irrelevant in the formation of families.”

“Thus, the institutional model of the family (where a structure and finality exist independent of the subjective preferences of the spouses) is bypassed, in favor of a vision of family that is purely contractual and voluntary.”

The document said that despite the challenges, dialogue remains possible. It also called for protection of human and family rights, decried unjust discrimination, and noted points of unity among people of divergent perspectives on gender ideology.

“For instance, educational programs on this area often share a laudable desire to combat all expressions of unjust discrimination, a requirement that can be shared by all sides,” the document said.

“Indeed, it cannot be denied that through the centuries forms of unjust discrimination have been a sad fact of history and have also had an influence within the Church. This has brought a certain rigid status quo, delaying the necessary and progressive inculturation of the truth of Jesus’ proclamation of the equal dignity of men and women, and has provoked accusations of a sort of masculinist mentality, veiled to a greater or lesser degree by religious motives.”

The aim of the Church at the institutional and individual level must be the education of children in line with authentic principles which defend and instill authentic human dignity, the Congregation explains.

“In practice, the advocacy for the different identities often presents them as being of completely equal value compared to each other.”

“The generic concept of ‘non-discrimination’ often hides an ideology that denies the difference as well as natural reciprocity that exists between men and women.”

Referencing classical philosophy, historic Church teaching, Vatican Council II and the writings of several popes, the document explains the Church’s understanding of a Christian anthropology, insisting that it be at the heart of human formation.

For Christians working in schools, both religious and secular, the radical individualism of gender theory should be avoided in favor of teaching children “to overcome their individualism and discover, in the light of faith, their specific vocation to live responsibly in a community.”

Above all, the document says, the family remains “the primary community” to which the students belong and the fundamental vehicle for preserving, understanding, and transmitting human dignity.

“The school must respect the family’s culture. It must listen carefully to the needs that it finds and the expectations that are directed towards it.”

In the modern context, however, the essential alliance between school and family “has entered into crisis,” the Congregation notes.

“There is an urgent need to promote a new alliance that is genuine and not simply at the level of bureaucracy, a shared project that can offer a ‘positive and prudent sexual education’ that can harmonise the primary responsibility of parents with the work of teachers.”

“Although ideologically-driven approaches to the delicate questions around gender proclaim their respect for diversity, they actually run the risk of viewing such difference as static realities and end up leaving them isolated and disconnected from each other,” the document concludes.

Promoting a culture of dialogue between the Church and those advancing gender theory principles must take place, the document says, in a manner that respects “the legitimate aspirations of Catholic schools to maintain their own vision of human sexuality,” based on “an integral anthropology capable of harmonizing the human person’s physical, psychic and spiritual identity.”

The congregation ends by insisting on the rights of the Church, the family, and of Catholic educators to defend authentic teaching and understanding in the face of an increasingly exclusivist approach to education in line with secular progressive principles.

“A democratic state cannot reduce the range of education on offer to a single school of thought, all the more so in relation to this extremely delicate subject, which is concerned on the one hand with the fundamentals of human nature, and on the other with natural rights of parents to freely choose any educational model that accords with the dignity of the human person.”

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Catholic News Agency 10868 Articles
Catholic News Agency (


  1. Sounds like a science vs religion fight is in the making. Haven’t we have been there before? In the long run science wins.

    Yes, this is a change in society. But change cannot be stopped. Change can be argued against, stymied, delayed, purposely made to look like what it is not, tabled, proponents can even be punished, … etc. But it cannot be stopped.

    Gender theory is being asked to conform to theology. Perhaps theology needs to conform to the increase in scientific knowledge.

    • Science versus religon, my foot. “Gender theory” isn’t science, it’s a pseudoscientific denial of reality. If one is male, one is male, and imagining and pretending that one is female doesn’t change that fact. A quick DNA test (you know, actual science) will prove that.

      Nitwits and lunatics who think that a boy can become a girl just because he thinks he’s one, or that a girl can become a boy just because she thinks she’s one, have left themselves no argument against a human who thinks he’s a rabbit, or a sunflower, or Napoleon.

      Two hundred years ago you’d probably have been a big proponent of phrenology.

      • Phrenology or eugenics. Eugenics was popular much more recently. And thankfully Catholics were among those who resisted state sponsored eugenic sterilizations.

      • Simple as XX and XY. People ignore science!!! Cross-dressing, hormone overdosing, and surgical mutilation are “lip stick on a pig”

    • Scientific knowledge?


      What nonsense. Where is any hard evidence – aside from the ‘studies’ by doctors profiting from this – from the trans crowd? The science points to the impossibility of one sex ‘changed’ to the other. Chromosomes and every cell is directed at the sex assigned. The mutilation surgeries, powerful hormones and lifelong anti-rejection drugs.

    • I once knew a female holly tree that wanted to change its gender – not! This is more the case of gender ideology needing to conform to biology. Leave theology out of it.

    • What kind of science is behind gender theory? The entire trans gender movement makes a mockery of science and it’s a dreadful comment on the vulnerability of professional associations that well organized pressure groups can bring them to heel. It starts on the premise that “gender” is a construct instead of a reality. To believe that you must deny basic biology – chuck out evolution too.
      Wake up faithful – transgender theory will be the weapon that will be used to drive the Church from the public square in the US as soon as the political status quo changes. The Church must make a stand here.

    • Actually, it works in reverse: Gender theory is a set of a priori ideological precepts which its proponents accept on faith. If their faith collides with science, then science must yield, something like the Lysenkoism that dominated Soviet science during Stalin’s rule.

    • Jake writes: “Perhaps theology needs to conform to the increase in scientific knowledge.”
      Meiron replies: It is scientific knowledge that every human being is born with chromosomes which exist in every cell of each human’s body. A very small minority of persons have chromosome disorders or ‘accidents of nature’ which involve the sexual chromosomes. The vast majority of members of the human species contain either an XX paired-chromosome or an XY-paired chromosome in every cell of our bodies. The “Y” chromosome is associated with the development of male secondary sexual characteristics (hormones) and is implicated in the development of male genitalia in embryonic development.

      So you see, theology is based on based on the objective science of genetics. The science of genetics, incidentally, was begun by a Catholic priest named G. Mendel.

      Do you have any other beliefs which I may help you to debunk?

    • WRONG. It CAN be stopped, obviously it can. It is being pushed by deliberate policy, not some inevitable force.
      “Science” vs Theology? NO! It is an EVIL ideology vs the Good, the Moral and the Righteous.
      Fifty years of bad theology vs millennia of good theology. The Church as an institution is far more powerful than fads that will pass.

  2. This definitive argument markedly strong repudiating homosexuality made by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi is certainly another “counter-narrative” to Vatican policy for normalization of deviate behavior. Secular science is not God. God is. It is God who ordained Natural Law inherent to Man well argued by the Cardinal. And like Cardinal Caffarra before him who defended the family Versaldi was appointed Prefecture for Economics 2011 and Cardinal 2012 by Benedict XVI. The rather earth shaking Document from his latest appointment by Pope Francis as Prefect of The Congregation for Catholic Education issued today June 10 seems aligned with recent testaments of faith like the Open Letter to Bishops and the Declaration of Faith issued on this same day June 10 by Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider et al. I’m confidant this is much the result of the appeals, prayers and sacrifices of the faithful.

  3. Where can I get an officially hosted copy of this document?

    I cannot seem to find it on the Vatican’s web site. Some sites are offering PDFs or verbatim copies (like New Ways Ministries or LifeSiteNews) but I can’t be sure I’m getting the original source, free of redaction, without cross-checking.

    This is very frustrating.

  4. To say with Jake that this is “science versus religion” is to gloss over the problem, by making it seem that there are valid arguments on both sides, and I guess to argue further that reasonable people can take different sides. But that would be a false approach.
    The male -female division runs right through the whole of plant, animal and human life and has done so for millions of years. This is simply a matter of looking at the facts. It is common sense and obvious and it is verified by science. Gender is not “assigned” – it is simply the way things are. From those facts, we can rightfully on philosophical grounds draw conclusions about the natural law and the moral implications which flow from those facts. Such a defence of the moral implications is robust on its own, but it is further strengthened by revelation describing how God created Man, male and female He created them, and so on.
    In the light of this, Jake’s approach is wholly unacceptable. It does not do any justice to common sense or to science. We can defend the male-female complementary of the whole of creation on either scientific or religious grounds – much better promoting both as there is no conflict. They are complementary! Contrary to Jake, theology does not conform to science; they work together from different points of view to discover the truth.
    Is the full document available anywhere in English? The CWR article is excellent but we should always look at the primary source, especially in this case which is at last a major response to the false and shallow gender agenda of today.

    • Sex is ‘assigned’. The body is so directed.

      ‘Gender’ is being played and now defined as a construct. What was once a mental conflict and treated as such is now considered ‘fluid’ with the assurance that reality can indeed be changed.

  5. Amazing that this Vatican issues a statement like this one. Perhaps the Congregation for Education rushed to get the statement out before new appointee Joseph Cardinal Tobin reported for work…

  6. The statistics and studies which do not conform to the everybody’s-happy-now “gender theory” narrative are out there but mysteriously unGoogled in the front office of transgenderism.

    We have no one in the Church who can present scientific/statistical counterarguments to transgenderism and gender reassignment aside from philosophical, theological and anthropological arguments? There aren’t enough longitudinal studies or might I say challenges?

    A larger question: aside from the Church’s own losses in the credibility department with regard to moral statements, to what extent does Church leadership starting at the top really stand behind the Magisterium at this time or even in the belief in a Magisterium?

    Where doe James Martin, SJ and his fellow Jesuits and friends stand on this new Vatican document really?

  7. Gotta sneak some of that SJW concern in to maintain SJW cred

    “Indeed, it cannot be denied that through the centuries forms of unjust discrimination have been a sad fact of history and have also had an influence within the Church. This has brought a certain rigid status quo, delaying the necessary and progressive inculturation of the truth of Jesus’ proclamation of the equal dignity of men and women, and has provoked accusations of a sort of masculinist mentality, veiled to a greater or lesser degree by religious motives.”

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. New Vatican document says gender theory is ‘cultural and ideological revolution’ -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.