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Dominican Republic families demonstrate against gender ideology in education

July 9, 2019 CNA Daily News 0

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Jul 9, 2019 / 01:58 pm (CNA).- Families in the Dominican Republic joined together July 4 for a national civic demonstration to protest a new Department of Education norm that establishes policies based on gender ideology.

The demonstration, held simultaneously at 10:00 a.m. in Santo Domingo and Santiago, was called by the “Don’t Mess with My Children” movement to demand the repeal of departmental order 33-2019, approved May 22, 2019.

The new Department of Education norm “establishes as a priority the design and implementation of gender policy” in “the different levels, systems and subsystems in Pre-University Education, in their planes, programs, projects, teaching strategies and administrative activities.”

In a news release addressed to the media, organizers said that thousands attended the demonstrations, including families, schools, parents’ associations and Christian institutions who wanted “to warn about the systematic and organized penetration of gender ideology in the Dominican Republic.”

They charged that “this current has permeated many of the government’s institutions, where they hold talks with titles of tolerance, equality and inclusion that look very attractive, but deep down are loaded with gender ideology.”

“Clear evidence is the Department of Education’s manifesto with the initiative they launched to achieve a perspective on gender in teaching,” they said.

The news release noted that “the term gender was first defined by the Department with the announcement of OD33-2019 as a social construct different than sex, which is the philosophical premise of gender ideology.”

They also called for the repeal of the norm, saying that it has “the clear intention of initiating pre-university students in gender ideology indoctrination.”

Bishop Víctor Masalles of Baní voiced on Twitter his “complete support for the civic demonstration by parents concerned that their children not be indoctrinated in a background of gender ideology.”

“A valid concern that we must support,” he said July 4.

On May 28, the Dominican Bishops’ Conference released a statement opposing the Education Department’s new norm.

“We consider it noxious that the gender policy is included in the design of the curriculum,” they said.

 

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

 

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No Picture
News Briefs

Catholic schools should affirm the person, not gender ideology, scholars advise

April 11, 2019 CNA Daily News 1

Denver, Colo., Apr 11, 2019 / 03:01 pm (CNA).- Amid questions at some Catholic schools about how to approach problems related to LGBT identity, philosophy professors told CNA that Catholic schools must remain true to their mission of helping parents to raise their children in the faith.

“At the end of the day, the philosophy underlying transgenderism is radically opposed to Christian anthropology,” Dr. Theresa Farnan, a professor of philosophy at St. Paul Seminary, the minor seminary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, told CNA.

Part of the mission of Catholic schools, she said, is to help students develop self-mastery, to grow in virtue, to understand that the body has meaning and significance, and to understand that a person’s happiness lies with their relationship with God, their creator.

In contrast, Farnan said, transgenderism involves a rejection of a person’s God-given body.

“Transgenderism involves a child with a healthy body rejecting that body,” she said.

“There is no way that a school can facilitate or support a gender transition without violating its mission and identity…we need to be very clear about this,” Farnan said.

In addition, Farnan advised that a Catholic school should not use “preferred pronouns,” as this will signal to other students that a gender transition has in fact taken place.

“It doesn’t mean you don’t support the student, but you need to say to the student: we love you, we want to have you here as a student, but understand we can’t support this.”

At public schools in particular, Farnan said, kids are absorbing the message that some people are born in the wrong body, and some people can change from being a boy to being a girl.

“For a school to buy into that, or to in any way endorse it, is something that is very harmful to everyone’s faith,” Farnan said.

In 2010 and 2011, Benedict XVI described transgender ideology as “an erroneous view of the person” that would have long-term implications.

Pope Francis addresses the problem in Amoris laetitia and Laudato si’, Farnan pointed out, and has expressed dismay about the teaching of gender theory to children.

In the long run, Farnan said, a Catholic school facilitating or supporting a gender transition isn’t compassionate for the child, partly because they are agreeing to a radically life-altering process that doesn’t resolve underlying problems, such as mental illness.

“It’s damaging to the other students in the school but also for that student, because you’re affirming something that runs contrary to reality, and involves affirming the child in rejecting the givenness of their creation,” she said.

The medical process by which a transgender person “transitions” is often referred to as “gender-affirming” therapy.

Both Farnan and Dr. Susan Selner-Wright, who holds the Archbishop Chaput Chair in Philosophy at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, offered an alternative, Catholic view of “affirmation.”

“For us, ‘affirming’ the person – and I hesitate to even use that word, since it’s been so co-opted…but understanding that people want to show compassion and love to the person, the best way to show compassion and love toward the person is helping them to realize that their dignity lies in their relationship to God,” Farnan said.

“The difference lies in a different understanding of the dignity of the person. So for us as Catholics, your dignity comes from the fact that you are a created child of God. And God loves you so much that he created you as an embodied person.”

Selner-Wright had a similar insight.

“For a Catholic, what it means to ‘affirm’ someone is to affirm them in their dignity as a person created in the image and likeness of God, and we are completely for that,” Selner-Wright said.

“But what the other side wants to do is say: no, to affirm someone you not only have to affirm them in their person, you have to affirm everything that they think about themselves and everything that they do…no good parent thinks that that is what affirmation is.”

Selner-Wright commented on a recent case in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas that made national news, in which a Catholic school denied admission to a child of a same-sex couple.

The school had deferred to the archdiocese for guidance, which advised against the students’ enrollment.

“Our schools exist to pass on the Catholic faith. Incorporated into our academic instruction and spiritual formation, at every grade level, are the teachings of the Catholic Church,” a statement from the archdiocese read.

“It is important for children to experience consistency between what they are taught in school and what they see lived at home. Therefore, we ask that parents understand and be willing to support those teachings in their homes,” the statement continued.

It added that “the Church respects that some may disagree with essential elements of our moral teaching. We do not feel it is respectful of such individuals, nor is it fair, loving or compassionate to place their children in an educational environment where the values of the parents and the core principles of the school conflict. For these reasons, the Archdiocese has advised against the admission into our Catholic schools of children of same sex unions.”

Selner-Wright commented: “Because we have a tradition of welcome and openness, there are a lot of other people who are not Catholic using our Catholic schools, and that’s great.”

“But people have to remember that the purpose of Catholic schools is to assist Catholic parents, who are the primary teachers of their children, in executing the parents’ duties.”

Their recommendations are not “one size fits all,” and there are some situations in which a child could be admitted, Selner-Wright emphasized.

For example, there could be a situation in which a single parent – who experiences same-sex attraction but is trying to live a chaste life – wants to enroll their child in a Catholic shool. The attraction itself isn’t the issue, Selner-Wright said, as long as the parent is not living in a way that generates a contradiction between what the child learns in school and what they learn at home.

Similarly, if a child enrolling in a Catholic school claims to be in the “wrong body,” Selner-Wright said, but the parents are faithful Catholics who are not on board with it, then the school could be a good place for the child and it may even be “a corporal work of mercy” to enroll them, she said.

A very different scenario, she said, would be one where the parents are fully on board with the child’s transition.

“I think it’s important for the Catholic Church to be that voice of reason,” Farnan commented.

“The Catholic Church has always been clear, unequivocally clear, about the sanctity of human life, and I think right now, given the statements of our Popes…I think our Church is providing that voice of clarity that is much needed in this debate.”

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Paraguay’s government rejects gender ideology

September 24, 2017 CNA Daily News 1

Asunción, Paraguay, Sep 24, 2017 / 02:42 pm (ACI Prensa).- Paraguay Secretary of Education, Enrique Riera told reporters that the country’s constitution recognizes “the traditional family” consisting of “dad, mom, and children,” and stated that the government would remove from schools all material promoting false gender ideology, introduced by the previous administration.

At a September 18 press conference, Riera lamented the “confusion” and criticism the government received after posts on social media stated that the country’s schools were teaching that gender is a social construct, that man and woman are not born as such, among other concepts related gender ideology.

The Secretary blamed this content on an agreement signed between the administration of former president Fernando Lugo, and a homosexual group called “We are Gay.”

The Lugo administration signed an agreement between We are Gay and the Directorate of Ongoing Education. That agreement generated some educational materials, and they remained in use and available on the government’s website, Riera said.

The Secretary explained that his office “ordered them to be taken down and revised because there is a phrase which created the whole problem,” which is “where it literally says that gender is a social construct.”

“I want to tell you that the Ministry of Education is basing itself on Article 52 of the National Constitution, on the traditional family, on traditional values, with dad, mom and children: It’s also my personal position and we naturally respect different options, but we’re not going to inculcate them in our public schools,” he assured.

Article 52 of the Paraguayan Constitution establishes that “the union in matrimony of man and woman is one of the fundamental components in the formation of the family.”

Riera indicated that he informed the President of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes “where this confusion came from. We all saw WhatsApp, there was some very severe criticism from some quarters.”

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Paraguay’s government rejects gender ideology

September 24, 2017 CNA Daily News 1

Asunción, Paraguay, Sep 24, 2017 / 02:42 pm (ACI Prensa).- Paraguay Secretary of Education, Enrique Riera told reporters that the country’s constitution recognizes “the traditional family” consisting of “dad, mom, and children,” and stated that the government would remove from schools all material promoting false gender ideology, introduced by the previous administration.

At a September 18 press conference, Riera lamented the “confusion” and criticism the government received after posts on social media stated that the country’s schools were teaching that gender is a social construct, that man and woman are not born as such, among other concepts related gender ideology.

The Secretary blamed this content on an agreement signed between the administration of former president Fernando Lugo, and a homosexual group called “We are Gay.”

The Lugo administration signed an agreement between We are Gay and the Directorate of Ongoing Education. That agreement generated some educational materials, and they remained in use and available on the government’s website, Riera said.

The Secretary explained that his office “ordered them to be taken down and revised because there is a phrase which created the whole problem,” which is “where it literally says that gender is a social construct.”

“I want to tell you that the Ministry of Education is basing itself on Article 52 of the National Constitution, on the traditional family, on traditional values, with dad, mom and children: It’s also my personal position and we naturally respect different options, but we’re not going to inculcate them in our public schools,” he assured.

Article 52 of the Paraguayan Constitution establishes that “the union in matrimony of man and woman is one of the fundamental components in the formation of the family.”

Riera indicated that he informed the President of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes “where this confusion came from. We all saw WhatsApp, there was some very severe criticism from some quarters.”

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Laity, gender ideology shared concerns for Pope and Panama’s bishops

June 10, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jun 10, 2017 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- World Youth Day wasn’t the only topic on the agenda for Panama’s bishops during their meeting with Pope Francis this week: they also touched on the role of the laity and the dangers of gender ideology – both key topics for the universal Church.

Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama, president of the Panama bishops conference, told journalists June 8 that gender ideology “is really being pushed in Panama,” and was a major talking point in their meeting with Pope Francis.

The bishops are concluding a trip to Rome for their ad limina visit, during which they met with several Vatican departments and had a nearly 2-hour discussion with Pope Francis June 8.

Archbishop Ulloa described the meeting as “marvelous, a brotherly visit,” in which they exchanged jokes, asked questions, and voiced concerns freely.

The international WYD encounter set to take place in Panama in 2019 was of course a big topic, as well as the youth in general. However, particular concern was raised about the growing threat gender ideology poses to youth and to families.

“Let’s say something that in other media doesn’t sell so well: gender ideology is demonic,” Archbishop Ulloa said. “It wants to break with the reality of the family and it does so by getting in so softly that we don’t realize it.”

It is never permissible to impose an ideology, he said, stressing the need to respect others, “but having very clear the importance of the family according to the plan of God: man and woman.”

In comments to CNA, Cardinal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan of David said Pope Francis “is very worried about Latin America” and listened carefully to what the bishops had to say.

“We listened to his concerns, he listened to our concerns, and from there we had a very fraternal dialogue, very nice, very friendly,” the cardinal said, explaining that the Pope allowed them to share and ask questions, and he responded by giving his own ideas and opinions.

Cardinal Lacunza said that right now in Panama, “there is a real escalation in the media and in the environment to impose, even in the educational field, this theme of gender ideology (on) young children.”

He said there is currently “a fight” between those who are pushing gender ideology as a human right and those who, from the perspectives of faith and reason, “say that it is in no way a human right.”

“The homosexuals have a right to be respected in their dignity and not to be discriminated against,” the cardinal said, emphasizing the need to go from “a society that has to assume as good or acceptable this opinion,” to one that teaches children “that there is a very big path that we are not willing to take, we are not willing to compromise.”

When asked what the Church can do to help, Cardinal Lacunza said it is essential to remember that “the Church” includes the laity – not just clerics.

As bishops, “we can’t do anything,” he said. “We can give orientations, guidelines, but the ones who have to take the baton in their hands are the laity.”

It is the laity who must “fight for adequate legislation in education and other areas,” he said, and, pointing to a recent initiative in the country, said the push to have “an encyclopedia of genitalia” as if it were the most important educational text “is the wrong path.”

There are already lay people working in this area, the cardinal said, adding that “this is what we want: that they are the ones with the baton.”

Youth and laity were also key topics in the meeting with Pope Francis, stemming from discussion on World Youth Day.

Francis has often condemned a clericalist attitude prevalent in Latin America, calling it in a 2016 letter to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America  “one of the greatest distortions of the Church” in the region.

So it’s not surprising that the role of the laity came up with the Panamanian bishops. In fact, Archbishop Ulloa said the Pope stressed “the importance of believing in the laity,” because the laity “are also capable of transforming our society.”

This also includes the youth, the archbishop said, explaining that Pope Francis also focused on the “spaces and opportunities” that must be provided to the youth.

“In the Church, in the world, many things will change, and youth will truly fight to have a place in this time of transformation,” he said, noting how Pope Francis said that youth “are not [just] the future,” but rather, “they are the present of the Church, and the present of humanity.”

“What a responsibility it is for them also to be a youth in this time!” Archbishop Ulloa said, adding that the youth are “the fresh air that we have to continue hoping in for a different world.” If this world is possible, he said, “it’s possible thanks to the youth.”

 

Alvaro de Juana contributed to this piece.

[…]

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News Briefs

The Church needs a unified strategy to counter gender ideology, expert says

May 20, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Rome, Italy, May 19, 2017 / 06:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Apostolic nuncios attended a crash course last year on gender from an expert in the field, who stressed the need for the Church to develop a unified strategy, based on the faith’s basic principles, in fighting gender ideology.

First, “we Christians, and certainly our bishops and nuncios, need to be convinced about our principles, the principles of our faith,” Fr. Robert Gahl told CNA May 16. “We also need to have a thought-through understanding of those principles, also regarding the human body.”

He stressed the importance of remembering that “humanity has been saved fully, that we are redeemed also in our sexuality.”

This implies a daily struggle and fight with original sin, he said, explaining that “the redemption of our own embodiment and therefore of our own sexuality and complementarity” is a task each person must carry out daily.

Secondly, he said, “the Church needs to act together, so that it be in concert, because we’re more powerful when we act together.”

Acting together doesn’t mean that everyone has to do the same thing, but rather that by seeking guidance from the Church on how to handle modern issues such as gender, individuals will be able “to act in a way that will be more effective in the public square.”

Fr. Gahl emphasized that the present time “is a crucial moment for the bishops to help to intervene and to help coordinate so the market can produce sound alternatives that also agree with our conscience and our religious belief.”

Both individuals and institutions “need to have instruction and guidance” from bishops, he said, noting that “many people are waiting for that and at times, unfortunately, it’s missing, because the bishops aren’t sure what to do because things are changing too rapidly.”

Fr. Gahl, a priest of Opus Dei, is an associate professor of ethics at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross who has authored numerous publications on sexual ethics and moral action, among other topics.

He was chosen to lead a course for some 140 apostolic nuncios held during a Sept. 15-17, 2016, jubilee weekend dedicated to them, during which they met with the Pope and had several rounds of catechesis.

One of the courses the nuncios attended was that on gender offered by Fr. Gahl, who spoke about the rising threat gender ideology poses throughout the world, its political and ecclesial implications, and the strategy the Church must develop to effectively oppose what is often a very savvy communications strategy from the other side.

“This is really fascinating … the challenge the nuncios have,” Fr. Gahl said, explaining that he tried to give them space in the course to reflect critically on their work, in which they both coordinate among bishops and serve as diplomats.

“Gender ideology is threatening the freedom of religious expression, religious belief, and the freedom of the Church as an institution in many places, and in the places where it’s not being threatened, it probably will be threatened very shortly,” the priest explained.

Therefore, the nuncios have the challenge “of observing, addressing and helping to guide and instruct the bishops in each country so the Church can have a concerted strategy” in defending the Church as an institution and all believing Christians against this “wave of manipulation of human dignity.”

However, Fr. Gahl said he disagrees with those who claim the push for gender ideology comes from “some malicious political strategy or that it’s motivated by some evil intent, or people who claim that there is some kind of material gain from it.”

Instead, he voiced his belief that most of the pushing is being done by people with “a good intention” who are truly convinced it is for the betterment of humanity. “I see it as being rooted in a view of the human being …  that comes out of post-modern philosophy,” he said.

This notion, the priest said, is what Benedict XVI described as “a nihilistic understanding of freedom, such that we are each our own creator.” In this view, God is replaced and we can each create ourselves in the image of whatever we would like to be, rather than receiving our nature from another as a given.

“What’s really horrible about this is it means we have no intrinsic dignity. No one has intrinsic dignity, no one should be respected for who they are, but they should be respected for who they think they are,” Fr. Gahl said.

The priest said it was providential that he gave his talk during the Jubilee of Mercy, because he was able to contextualize it within Pope Francis’ emphases on tenderness and compassion.

“My entire conference was infused by this effort to say we should be understanding toward people, we should be compassionate to them … especially people who are suffering from some form of gender dysphoria,” he said.

Rather than being condescending, the priest said we ought to try to understand and appreciate the view of the other, showing compassion in order to “help them in some way to achieve a full flourishing and health according to who they are.”

Fr. Gahl said his course provided a unique space for the nuncios to ask questions and exchange ideas.

Because of their position, nuncios typically come to the Vatican on an individual basis and “basically never have the opportunity to all get together and discuss important issues,” he said.

While his course was in many ways an exceptional opportunity for nuncios because of the jubilee, Fr. Gahl said he believes it would be useful to have nuncios come together more often to discuss timely problems the Church is facing today.

Even if they come in smaller groups divided by region or language, “perhaps there’s some way … in which that could be done in the future,” he suggested.

During discussion after the course had ended, nuncios brought up various concerns, Fr. Gahl said, noting that at least one comment was made on the need to convey “an awareness and a savvy” on the issue to seminarians.

It must be now taken into consideration that “men going into seminary today are already influenced by this [gender ideology] in the culture, so they need to receive a formation that is going to help them be mature in their own masculinity in order to help them become spiritual fathers.”

Fr. Gahl said he was impressed by the resonance among the nuncios in recognizing the importance of the gender issue, and noted that he often emphasized the need to utilize new media better, given its influence.

Pope Francis “is very concerned about what he calls ‘ideological colonization,’” the priest said. “He’s especially concerned about the educational process of how there are schools that are indoctrinating children with propaganda that is ideological that is contrary to even a scientific or Christian understanding of the human person.”

In Francis’ view, “this as an intrusion or a violation of the rights of the parents, who are the principle educators,” Fr. Gahl said, noting that this is evidenced in many of the Pope’s writings.

“He sees gender promoted as an ideology,” the priest said, clarifying that when he refers to ideology, “not everything gender is ideology. But it is an ideology when it puts people in categories that conflict with their biology and boxes people in and forces people at times to become something that they’re not.”

“It imposes upon other people styles of life that are contrary with reality. Contrary with the understanding that marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said, adding that “the Pope is very concerned about this,” and is emphasizing the need for complementarity.

[…]