Pyrophore: Catholic Church

index

contents
  1. Basic
  2. Detail
  3. Footnotes
  4. References
  5. Metadata

A coat of arms. The escutcheon is a red French shield with an eared top. The most prominent charges are the Keys of Heaven: two bit keys, one gold and one silver, the gold key placed atop the silver key. Both keys' bits have wards in the shape of crosses potent. The keys are secured together around the barrels and through the bows by a golden cord. They are surmounted by the papal tiara; from its base a white band trimmed in gold and adorned with crucifixes, similar in appearance to a maniple.
The coat of arms of the Holy See (public domain). Heraldic information in the alt text.

Basic

  • Entity type: Religious organisation
    • Domicile: Vatican City State1
  • Website: vatican.va
  • Pyrophore IFF: 馃煡 Foe

The Catholic Church’s ‘Related entities’ section has been split from the main entry for size. Access it by clicking on the heading above.

Detail

The Catholic Church is an international Christian religious organisation with features of a state. It practices, and is the primary theological and ecclesiastical authority in, the Christian denomination known as Catholicism.

The Catholic Church is now and has historically been a leading strategic actor in anti-trans activism.

Timeline

1992, October 11. Pope John Paul II issues the apostolic constitution Fidei depositum (The deposit of faith). In it, he promulgates the Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae (Catechism of the Catholic Church). Paragraph 2333 of the Catechism reads as follows:

Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. the harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support of the sexes are lived out.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 2333

2002, September 28. Beginning this date and continuing until at latest the end of December 2002, a letter is circulated among the presidents of all episcopal conferences by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, signed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation. The Spanish-language copy received by the Archdiocese of Quito in Ecuador, the only one available online, reads in part as follows (translation Pyrophore‘s):

En particular, por parte de algunos Prelados y Canciller铆as Episcopales, han sido solicitadas clarificaciones acerca de las posibilidad de aportar modificaciones en los asientos de los Libros Parroquiales referidos a fieles que se han sometido a intervenciones de cambio de sexo …

In particular, some Prelates and Episcopal Chanceries have requested clarifications regarding the possibility of making changes to entries in Parish Registers referring to faithful who have undergone sex change interventions …

… este Dicasterio, de acuerdo con la Congregaci贸n para el Clero … ha decidido que tampoco en la situaciones arriba indicadas se pueden introducir variaciones anagr谩ficas de ning煤n tipo en los Libros Parroquiales.

… this Dicastery, in agreement with the Congregation for the Clergy … has decided that even in the situations indicated above, variations in registration of any kind cannot be introduced in the Parish Registers.

En efecto, considerando que el cambio de identidad anagr谩fica del fiel en 谩mbito civil no modifica su condici贸n can贸nica masculina o femenina, definida al momento del nacimiento, en el Registro de Bautismos no es posible aportar modificaci贸n alguna acerca de la identidad sexual del sujeto tras la realizaci贸n de la intervenci贸n m茅dica de cambio de sexo.

Indeed, considering that every change in the registered identity of the faithful in the civil sphere does not change their canonical male or female condition, determined at the time of birth, it is not possible to provide any modification in the Register of Baptisms regarding the gender identity of the subject after the performance of the medical sex change intervention.

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2002)

2012, December 21. Benedict XVI gives an address from the Clementine Hall, On the occasion of Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia. Notable passages include:

The Chief Rabbi of France … quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne na卯t pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. … what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female 鈥 hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on, he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned.

Pope Benedict XVI (2012)

2015, April 15. Francis gives a general audience in St Peter’s Square. His remarks run partly as follows:

… in order to know oneself well, a human being needs the reciprocity of man and woman. When that is lacking, one can see the consequences. …

… I ask myself, if the so-called gender theory is not, at the same time, an expression of frustration and resignation, which seeks to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it. …

Pope Francis (2015)

2016, July 17. On an apostolic journey to Poland on the occasion of the 31st World Youth Day, Francis meets with the Polish bishops at the Cathedral of Krak贸w and gives an address. The Holy See’s transcript of his remarks runs, in part, as follows:

I would like to conclude with this aspect, since behind all this there are ideologies. In Europe, America, Latin America, Africa, and in some countries of Asia, there are genuine forms of ideological colonization taking place. And one of these 鈥 I will call it clearly by its name 鈥 is [the ideology of]2 “gender”. Today children 鈥 children! 鈥 are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this? Because the books are provided by the persons and institutions that give you money. These forms of ideological colonization are also supported by influential countries. And this terrible!

Pope Francis (2016)

2016, October 2. While returning from an apostolic journey to Georgia and Azerbaijan, Francis gives an in-flight press conference. The transcript of his remarks from the Holy See includes the following:

Joshua McElwee, National Catholic Reporter: Thank you, Holy Father. In that same speech yesterday in Georgia, as in many other countries, you spoke of “gender” theory, saying that it is the great enemy, a threat to marriage. I would like to ask what would you say to a person who has suffered for years with his or her sexuality and truly feels that it is a biological problem, that his or her physical makeup does not correspond to what he or she considers his or her sexual identity? As a pastor and minister, how would you accompany these people?

Francis: … What I was talking about has to do with the mischief going on these days with the indoctrination of gender theory. A French father told me that he was at the table speaking to his children 鈥 he is Catholic, his wife is Catholic, the children are Catholic, lukewarm Catholics, but Catholics 鈥 and he asked his ten-year old [daughter]: “And what do you want to be when you grow up?” 鈥 “A girl.” And [her] father realized that the schoolbooks were teaching gender theory. This is against the realities of nature. It is one thing if a person has this tendency, this option; some people even change sex. But it is another thing to teach this in schools, in order to change people’s way of thinking. I call this “ideological colonization.”

[…]

… Tendencies or hormonal imbalances create many problems and we have to take care not to say: “It doesn’t make any difference, let’s live it up.” No, not at all. But for every case welcome it, accompany it, look into it, discern and integrate it. This is what Jesus would do today. Please, do not say: “The Pope blesses transsexuals!” Please! Because I can already see the newspaper headlines… No, no. Are there any doubts about what I said? I want to be clear. It is a moral problem. It is a problem. It is a human problem. And it must be resolved …

Dicastery for Communications (2016)

2017, October 5. Francis receives in audience the participants in the 23rd General Assembly of the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He gives an address which, as reported by the Holy See Press Office, runs in part as follows:

… The recently-advanced hypothesis of reopening the way for the dignity of the person by radically neutralising sexual difference and, therefore, the understanding between man and woman, is not right. Instead of counteracting the negative interpretations of sexual difference, which mortify its irreducible value for human dignity, it seeks in effect to cancel out such difference, proposing techniques and practices that make it irrelevant for the development of the person and for human relationships. But the utopia of the “neutral” removes both the human dignity of the sexual different constitution, and the personal quality of the generative transmission of life. The biological and psychical manipulation of sexual difference, which biomedical technology allows us to perceive as completely available to free choice 鈥 which it is not! 鈥 thus risks dismantling the source of energy that nurtures the alliance between man and woman and which renders it creative and fruitful.

[…]

It is necessary to accept the challenge posed by the intimidation of the generation of human life, almost as if it were a mortification of the woman and a threat to collective wellbeing.

Pope Francis (2017)

2017, November. The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference gives its “endorsement and support” for the establishment of the Australian Catholic Medical Association.

2019, June 10. The Congregation for Catholic Education (Educational Institutions) issues a document, “Male and female he created them”: Towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender theory in education, signed by the Congregation’s prefect, Giuseppe Cardinal Versaldi, and its secretary, Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani. Notable passages include:

… it is vital to bear in mind the distinction between the ideology of gender on the one hand, and the whole field of research on gender that the human sciences have undertaken, on the other. While the ideologies of gender claim to respond, as Pope Francis has indicated, “to what are at times understandable aspirations”, they also seek “to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised”, and thus preclude dialogue. However, other work on gender has been carried out which tries instead to achieve a deeper understanding of the ways in which sexual difference between men and women is lived out in a variety of cultures. It is in relation to this type of research that we should be open to listen, to reason and to propose.

[…]

Over the course of time, gender theory has expanded its field of application. At the beginning of the 1990’s, 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. Furthermore, it was suggested that one could uphold the theory of a radical separation between gender and sex, with the former having priority over the latter.

[…]

… 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.

Versaldi & Zani (2019)

2023, October 31. The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith publishes a document, Answers to several questions from His Excellency, the Most Reverend Jos茅 Negri, Bishop of Santo Amaro, Brazil, regarding participation in the sacraments of baptism and matrimony by transgender persons and homosexual persons, signed by its prefect, Victor Manuel Cardinal Fern谩ndez. Notable passages include:

1. Can a transgender person be baptized?

A transgender person鈥攅ven after undergoing hormone treatment and sex-reassignment surgery鈥攃an receive Baptism under the same conditions as other believers, if there are no situations in which there is a risk of generating public scandal or disorientation among the faithful. In the case of children or adolescents with problems of a transgender nature, if they are well-prepared and have the right disposition, they also can receive Baptism. …

[…]

2. Can a transgender person serve as a godparent?

Under certain conditions, an adult transgender person鈥攅ven after undergoing hormone treatment and sex-reassignment surgery鈥攎ay be admitted to the function of serving as a godparent. However, since this task does not constitute a right, pastoral prudence demands that it should not be permitted if there is a danger of scandal, undue legitimization, or disorientation in the educational sphere of the ecclesial community.

Fern谩ndez (2023)

2024, April 8. The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith publishes a document, Declaration “Dignitas infinita” on human dignity, signed by Cardinal Fern谩ndez, its prefect, and Monsignor Armando Matteo, secretary for its doctrinal section. Notable passages include:

26. … there is an ever-growing risk of reducing human dignity to the ability to the ability to determine one’s identity and future independently of others, without regard for one’s membership in the human community. …

[…]

34. In addressing some of the many grave violations of human dignity today, we can draw upon the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, which emphasized that “all offenses against life itself, such as murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, and wilful suicide” must be recognized as contrary to human dignity.

[…]

56. At the same time, the Church highlights the definite critical issues present in gender theory. On this point, Pope Francis has reminded us that “the path to peace calls for respect for human rights, in accordance with the simple yet clear formulation contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose anniversary we recently celebrated. These principles are self-evident and commonly accepted. Regrettably, in recent decades, attempts have been made to introduce new rights that are neither fully consistent with those originally defined nor always acceptable. They have led to instances of ideological colonization, in which gender theory plays a central role; the latter is extremely dangerous since it cancels differences in its claim to make everyone equal.”

57. Regarding gender theory, whose scientific coherence is the subject of considerable debate among experts, the Church recalls that human life in all its dimensions, both physical and spiritual, is a gift from God. This gift is to be accepted with gratitude and placed at the service of the good. Desiring a personal self-determination, as gender theory prescribes, apart from this fundamental truth that human life is a gift, amounts to a concession to the age-old temptation to make oneself God, entering into competition with the true God of love revealed to us in the Gospel.

58. Another prominent aspect of gender theory is that it intends to deny the greatest possible difference that exists between living beings: sexual difference. This foundational difference is not only the greatest imaginable difference but is also the most beautiful and most powerful of them. …

59. In this sense, respect for both one’s own body and that of others is crucial in light of the proliferation of claims to new rights advanced by gender theory. This ideology “envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.” It thus becomes unacceptable that “some ideologies of this sort, which seek to respond to what are at times understandable aspirations, manage to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised. It needs to be emphasized that ‘biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated.’” Therefore, all attempts to obscure reference to the ineliminable sexual difference between man and woman are to be rejected: “We cannot separate the masculine and the feminine from God’s work of creation, which is prior to all our decisions and experiences, and where biological elements exist which are impossible to ignore.” Only by acknowledging and accepting this difference in reciprocity can each person fully discover themselves, their dignity, and their identity.

Sex Change

60. The dignity of the body cannot be considered inferior to that of the person as such. The Catechism of the Catholic Church expressly invites us to recognize that “the human body shares in the dignity of ‘the image of God.’” Such a truth deserves to be remembered, especially when it comes to sex change, for humans are inseparably composed of both body and soul. … Moreover, the body … is endowed with personal meanings, particularly in its sexed condition. … any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception. …

Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (2024)

Footnotes

  1. A sovereign city-state with an area of 0.49 km2 enclaved within central Rome, Lazio, Italian Republic. 鈫╋笌
  2. Interpolation in source. 鈫╋笌

References

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, untitled policy (Prot. N. 442/54-15710, 28 September 2002).

Dicastery for Communications (2016, October 2). Apostolic journey of His Holiness Pope Francis to Georgia and Azerbaijan (30 September 鈥 2 October 2016): In-flight press conference of His Holiness Pope Francis from Azerbaijan to Rome 鈥 Papal flight 鈥 Sunday, 2 October 2016 [Transcript]. Holy See. Retrieved 10 April 2024.

Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (2024, April 8). Declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith “Dignitas infinita” on human dignity, 08.04.2024 [Bulletin]. Holy See Press Office (Holy See); Archive Today. Retrieved 10 April 2024.

Fern谩ndez, V.M. (2023, October 31). Answers to several questions from His Excellency, the Most Reverend Jos茅 Negri, Bishop of Santo Amaro, Brazil, regarding participation in the sacraments of baptism and matrimony by transgender persons and homosexual persons. Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (Holy See); Archive Today. Retrieved 17 April 2024.

Holy See, Apostolic constitution Fidei depositum on the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church prepared following the Second Vatican Ecomuenical Council (11 October 1992).

Holy See, Catechism of the Catholic Church (15 August 1997).

Pope Benedict XVI (2012, December 21). Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI on the occasion of Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia [Transcript]. Dicastery of Communications (Holy See); Wayback Machine (Internet Archive). Retrieved 17 April 2024.

Pope Francis (2015, April 15). General audience 鈥 Saint Peter’s Square 鈥 Wednesday, 15 April 2015. Dicastery for Communications (Holy See); Archive Today. Retrieved 17 April 2024.

Pope Francis (2016, July 27). Apostolic journey of His Holiness Pope Francis to Poland on the occasion of the XXXI World Youth Day (27鈥31 July 2016) 鈥 Meeting with the Polish Bishops 鈥 Address of His Holiness Pope Francis 鈥 Cathedral of Krak贸w 鈥 Wednesday, 27 July 2016. Dicastery of Communications (Holy See); Archive Today. Retrieved 17 April 2024.

Pope Francis (2017, October 5). Audience with participants in the 23rd General Assembly of the Members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, 05.10.2017 [Summary of bulletin]. Holy See Press Office (Holy See); Archive Today. Retrieved 17 April 2024.

Versaldi, G., & Zani, A.V. (2019, June 10). “Male and female he created them”: Towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender theory in education. Congregation for Catholic Education (for Educational Institutions) (Holy See); Wayback Machine (Internet Archive). Retrieved 17 April 2024.

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  • Version: 1 (17 April 2024).
  • Created: 17 April 2024.