Willem Jacobus Eijk, Cardinal Archbishop of Utrecht writes the following:
Gender theory seriously contradicts the nature of man and has serious implications for the proclamation of the foundations of the Christian faith by undermining the role of the father, the mother, marriage, and the relationship between children and parents. Many believers and bishops feel that a document setting out the Catholic Church’s vision is urgently needed.
With the exception of his insistence on the male only priesthood, I largely agree with his statement. And fervently hope that the Roman Catholic Church produces that encyclical, posthaste!
The basic idea of gender theory, i.e. that the roles of men and women (gender) can be completely separated from biological sex, derives from the dominant view of man in our current society. It generally limits the human person to his or her consciousness (the mind), with its ability to think and make autonomous decisions, which was gradually made possible within the framework of evolution by the development of very complicated biochemical and neurophysiological processes in the brain. According to this view of man, the body would only be the means by which the person (restricted to consciousness) can express himself. This gives the human person a very broad right to dispose of their body, including their biological sexuality.
On the contrary, the Catholic Church teaches that, “though made of body and soul, man is one” (Gaudium et spes, No. 14). The body, including the reproductive and sexual organs, is not something secondary or accessory, but belongs to the essence of man and therefore, like man, is an end in itself and not merely a means that man can use for any purpose. John Paul II writes in his encyclical Veritatis splendor (No. 48) that the human body is not a raw material with which man can freely do as he pleases.
The papal magisterium rejects gender theory, but has so far only done so in a cursory manner. In his Christmas address to the curia on 21 December 2012, Benedict XVI noted that in the context of gender theory, man “denies his own nature and decides that it is not given to him as a pre-established fact, but that he himself creates it”. Pope Francis has also said several times that gender theory is incompatible with human nature and the Christian view of gender difference. In the encyclical Laudato si‘, he emphasises that a true ecology also requires respect for sexual gender difference: “Learning to accept one’s body, to care for it and to respect its meanings is essential for a true human ecology. Appreciating one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is also necessary in order to be able to recognise oneself in the encounter with the other who is different from oneself. In this way, it is possible to joyfully accept the specific gift of the other, the work of God the creator, and be mutually enriched. Therefore, an attitude that claims to erase sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it is unhealthy” (No. 155). See also Amoris laetitia, No. 56.
In an address to the participants of the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy for Life on 6 October 2017, he warned the audience against the risks of the ideology of gender. “The biological and psychic manipulation of sexual difference, which biomedical technology lets us glimpse as being completely available as free choice – whereas it is not! – thus risks dismantling the source of energy that nourishes the covenant of man and woman and makes it creative and fruitful”.