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Pope Francis Calls Transition Surgery an Assault on Human Dignity

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Pope Francis Calls Transition Surgery an Assault on Human Dignity

On Monday that Pope Francis endorsed an edict from The Vatican clergy indicating that the holy see the government of the Roman Catholic Church considers gender-fluidity, transition surgery (Gender-affirming surgery), and surrogacy to be an assault to human dignity.

The statement stated that a person’s sex is a “irrevocable gift” from God, and that “any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception.”People who crave “personal self-determination, as gender theory prescribes,” risk succumbing to “the age-old temptation to make oneself God.”

The letter explicitly stated the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to surrogacy, whether the woman carrying the baby is “coerced into it or freely chooses to subject herself to it.”Surrogacy makes the kid “a mere means subservient to the arbitrary gain or desire of others,” according to the Vatican’s declaration, which also opposes in In vitro fertilization, also called IVF.

The declaration was intended to be a comprehensive expression of the church’s position on human dignity, including the exploitation of the poor, migrants, women, and vulnerable persons. The Vatican admitted that it was dealing with tough challenges, but stated that in this moment of enormous turmoil, it was necessary and hoped good for the church to repeat its teachings on the importance of human dignity.

Vatican’s View Spark Outrage

Even if the church’s teachings on culture war topics, which Pope Francis has mainly avoided, are not new, their consolidation is likely to be welcomed by conservatives due to their hardline stance against liberal concepts on gender and surrogacy.

The paper, which has been in the works for five years, sparked outrage among church campaigners for LGBTQIA+ rights, who are concerned it would be used against transgender people. That was true, they claimed, despite the document’s warning of “unjust discrimination” in countries where transgender individuals are imprisoned or face aggression, violence, and even death.

“The Vatican is again supporting and propagating ideas that lead to real physical harm to transgender, nonbinary, and other LGBTQ+ people,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Maryland-based group that advocates for gay Catholics. He added that the Vatican’s defense of human dignity excluded “the segment of the human population who are transgender, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming.”

He said that it provided an antiquated theology focused solely on physical appearance and ignored “the growing reality that a person’s gender includes the psychological, social, and spiritual aspects naturally present in their lives.”

He said the statement demonstrated a “stunning lack of awareness of the actual lives of transgender and nonbinary people.” Its authors ignored transgender people who shared their experiences with the church, DeBernardo said, “cavalierly,” and wrongly, dismissing them as a purely Western phenomenon.

Pope Francis Meets with Gay and Transgender Catholics

Though the declaration is a clear setback for LGBTQIA+ persons and their sympathizers, Pope Francis has made an effort to find a balance between respecting personal human dignity and explicitly declaring church teaching, a fine line Francis has attempted to walk in his more than 11 years as pope.

Pope Francis has made it a priority of his papacy to meet with gay and transgender Catholics, and he has made it his duty to spread the idea of a more open and less judgmental church. Just months ago, Francis shocked some conservative members of his church by officially permitting LGBTQIA+ Catholics to receive priestly blessings, as well as allowing transgender individuals to be baptized and serve as godparents.

However, he has refused to change church norms and doctrine that many gay and transgender Catholics believe have alienated them, demonstrating the limits of his push for tolerance.

Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, head of the Vatican’s theology office, stated in a news conference on Monday that Pope Francis’ words clearly emphasize embracing everybody.

Blessings for Same-sex Catholics

Pope Francis, he claimed, has often stated that “all, all, all” should be accepted. “Even those who don’t agree with what the church teaches and who make different choices from those that the church says in its doctrine must be welcomed,” he stated, referring to “those who think differently on these themes of sexuality.”

But Francis’ words were one thing, and church teaching was another, Fernández clarified, distinguishing between the document, which he called of significant doctrinal importance, and the subsequent statement authorizing blessings for same-sex Catholics. According to the church, gay behaviors are “intrinsically disordered.”

In an echo of the contradiction between the substance of church doctrine and Francis’ manner of papal inclusion, Fernández said Monday that the “intrinsically disordered” phrase should be changed to better reflect the church’s message that gay actions cannot produce life.

“It’s a very strong expression, and it requires explanation,” he told me. “Maybe we could find an expression that is even clearer to understand what we want to say.”

Concerns Over Ideological Colonisation

Though receptive to gay and transgender followers, Pope Francis has consistently expressed concern about what he refers to as “ideological colonisation,” the idea that wealthy nations arrogantly impose their views — whether on gender or surrogacy — on people and religious traditions that do not necessarily share them.

According to the text, “gender theory plays a central role” in that vision, and “scientific coherence is the subject of considerable debate among experts.” Using “on the one hand” and “on the other hand,” language, the Vatican’s office on teaching and doctrine wrote that “it should be denounced as contrary to human dignity the fact that, in some places, not a few people are imprisoned, tortured, and even deprived of the good of life solely because of their sexual orientation.”

“At the same time,” he said, “the Holy See highlights the definite critical issues present in gender theory.” Fernández struggled on Monday to reconcile the two seemingly opposing points of view.

“I am shocked having read a text from some Catholics who said, ‘Bless this military government of our country that created these laws against homosexuals,'” Fernández said in a statement Monday. “I wanted to die reading that.”

He went on to stress that the Vatican letter was not a demand for decriminalization, but rather an endorsement of the church’s beliefs. “We shall see the consequences,” he said, adding that the church would then decide how to respond.

In his presentation, Fernández described the lengthy process of creating a treatise on human dignity, “Infinite Dignity,” which began in March 2019, to take into consideration the “latest developments on the subject in academia and the ambivalent ways in which the concept is understood today.”

Understanding Human Dignity

In 2023, Pope Francis returned the document with instructions to “highlight topics closely connected to the theme of dignity, such as poverty, the situation of migrants, violence against women, human trafficking, war, and other themes.” Francis signed off on the agreement on March 25.

Fernández noted that the long trip “reflects the gravity” of the process. In the declaration, the Vatican recognized “clear progress in understanding human dignity,” citing the “desire to eradicate racism, slavery, and the marginalization of women, children, the sick, and people with disabilities.”

However, it stated that the church recognizes “grave violations of that dignity,” including abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, polygamy, torture, exploitation of the poor and migrants, human trafficking and sex abuse, violence against women, capitalism’s injustice, and terrorism.

The text expressed concern that removing sexual distinctions would undermine the family and that a response “to what are at times understandable aspirations” will become absolute truth and ideology, altering how children are raised.

The manifesto contended that altering sex prioritized individualism over nature and that human dignity as a subject was frequently exploited to “justify an arbitrary proliferation of new rights,” as if “the ability to express and realize every individual preference or subjective desire should be guaranteed.”

Fernández stated on Monday that a couple yearning for a child should consider adoption rather than surrogacy or invitro fertilization because those methods, he claimed, undermined human dignity in general.

The text contends that individualistic thinking reduces the universality of dignity to individual norms, which are concerned with “psycho-physical well-being” or “individual arbitrariness or social recognition.” The Vatican claims that making dignity subjective exposes it to “arbitrariness and power interests.”

Source: Reuters, Al Jazeera

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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