Pope Francis disparages “gender theory” and threats from “ideological colonization”

Pope Francis in flight
Photo credit: CNA/Alan Holdren

In remarks at a gathering of Catholics in Georgia, Pope Francis said that gender theory is “the great enemy of marriage,” and that “the whole world is at war trying to destroy marriage.” He repeated previous claims that the Church has to defend itself “from ideological colonization.” At the same time, when speaking about LGBT people in the Church and their sexuality, he said, “Welcome it, accompany it, study it, discerning and integrating … This is what Jesus would do today.”

Marianne Duddy-Burke of DignityUSA said:

Pope Francis sets up a false dichotomy in pitting people’s basic human right to be who they are against marriage. We know marriage to be a sacred and beautiful thing. We believe marriage, and all of society, will be strengthened when people are no longer pressured to bring false selves into a marriage, and can make this profound commitment honestly. Too many lives have been ruined by gay people trying to live in heterosexual marriages, or by people being forced to live in a gender that is not authentic for them. … I have spoken with people from all over the world who have succumbed to religious and cultural pressures to get married and have children, even as they know they are transgender or gay or lesbian. They know they are being dishonest to their spouses, and that the ongoing deception is corrosive to a healthy family life. How can this dynamic be good for marriage? Our Church leaders need to abandon the biological determinism that they have adopted, and accept that God’s imagination and love are greater than ours. We need our Shepherds to provide appropriate support, care, and guidance, rather than condemnation. We agree with Pope Francis that marriage is a “beautiful thing.” LGBTQ people and allies join Church leaders in affirming marriage. Full statement

Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry said:

The pope’s call for more sensitive pastoral care is a bold step forward for the Catholic Church, but his comments about gender and education show his misunderstanding of what LGBT advocates actually propose. … Throwing about terms such as “gender theory” and “ideological colonization” is a red herring. It deflects from examining the deeper causes of marital strife and deterioration. Of transgender identities, the pope noted that “It is a moral problem. It is a problem. A human problem.” He is correct only in the sense that pressures to deny one’s true, interior gender identity cause great personal problems for individuals. The true moral solution is to allow such persons the freedom to choose whatever avenues they determine will be the ones that will integrate themselves psychologically, relationally, and spiritually, as God would want. Full statement

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