The Vatican negated the concept of flexible gender identity saying that fluidity in gender and independence in choosing it might prove to be of danger to the traditional family values and culture. The Vatican made this declaration in a document issued by the Vatican department overseeing Catholic education, which had Pope Francis’ statements articulated in it. This is the first extensive document by The Vatican on the issue as Western countries are increasingly wrestling with the social and legal implications of more fluid definitions of identity.
The document laments, “calls for public recognition of the right to choose one’s gender, and of a plurality of new types of unions, in direct contradiction of the model of marriage as being between one man and one woman, which is portrayed as a vestige of patriarchal societies.” According to the document, the idea of accepting the gender fluidity is “nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants.”
The Vatican negated the concept of flexible gender identity saying that fluidity in gender and independence in choosing it might prove to be of danger to the traditional family values and culture.
The document insists upon encouraging the pre-existing gender theory and promoting traditional Roman Catholic teaching on the intrinsic biological differences between men and women. However, some other catholic advocates are of the view that in order to have a more inclusive and understanding approach towards the LGBT community, this Vatican document might prove to be a crucial step ‘backward’.
“We must be attentive, not saying all are the same,” Pope Francis said at the time, adding that “people must be accompanied.” The document however, also offered section for a warning against discrimination and said that in no way anyone should suffer bullying and violence. Pope also spoke about accompanying young Catholic students in a way that is discrete and confidential, capable of reaching out to those who are experiencing complex and painful situations. However, the document undoubtedly, had disappointed advocated who had hoped for a better level of acceptance from the church. The advocated also warned that the statements appear to be rather anachronistic, and that it also focuses on esoteric opinions than the lived experiences of LGBT people.
On forgiveness for women who have abortions
The gender fluidity is not the ‘only’ controversial statement that Pope gave. A number of controversial statements have been given by him and forgiveness for women who undergo abortions is one of them. Pope Francis gave this statement in September 2015, whereby, he also opened a temporary window for women who went through abortions. He wanted young women who went through abortions to confess and seek forgiveness for their act if they want to get back in the mercy of the church. Technically, abortions comes out to be a ‘mortal sin’ from the perspective of church, and that a priest hearing confession from the lady would be vested with the authority from his bishop to grant forgiveness.
“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” he wrote. “In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”
“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” he wrote. “In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.” The letter continues, “May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation. I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.”