Pope Francis Defends Human Nature Against Gender Radicals

Disappointing progressives yet again, Pope Francis has now condemned contemporary gender theory as denying “the order of creation.” In an interview published in a new book, Pope Francis: This Economy Kills, by Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi, (portions of which were also published last month in the Italian daily La Stampa), Pope Francis appears to reject the postmodern conceptualization of gender as a moveable point along a spectrum that is fluid and changeable. He does not accept the progressive claim that gender is socially constructed rather than God-given and instead appears to embrace gender in a traditional “binary” category of male and female. For progressives, this is heresy.

Because of his unwillingness to view gender as malleable—and shaped by the will of the individual, The Daily Beast has denounced Pope Francis as having a habit of “dissing women and marginalizing sexual minorities.”   Pointing to the pontiff’s interview in which he states that requiring schools to teach children only the modern theories of gender is “comparable to the educational policies of Hitler and the destructive possibilities of the nuclear arms race,” The Daily Beast concludes that the Pope’s denunciation of the “academic perspective that sees gender identities as a spectrum … has important ramifications for how we think about biology and sexuality … the recognition that gender exists on a spectrum has provided part of the intellectual foundations for both LGBTQIA advocacy and women’s rights.”

Indeed, this is exactly what the Pope is denouncing. Pope Francis, like Pope Benedict XVI, is condemning the progressive march to destroy the natural moral law that maintains the order of creation—the natural order. Pope Francis, like Benedict, maintains—as the Catholic Church has always maintained—that people may not change what Benedict has called “their very essence.” In a speech at the Vatican on December 23, 2008, Pope Benedict directly addressed transgender issues by cautioning Catholics about “destroying the very essence of the human creature through manipulating their God-given gender to suit their sexual choices.” Pope Benedict warned that “when the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God.” In December, 2012, Pope Benedict reiterated this message when he decried same-sex “marriage” as a “manipulation of nature.”

For Pope Benedict, attempting to manipulate the nature of the human being leads to a “self-emancipation of man from creation and the Creator,” and likewise, for Pope Francis, gender theory does not recognize the order of creation: “With this attitude man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator. The true custody of creation does not have anything to do with the ideologies that consider man like an accident, like a problem to eliminate…. The design of the Creator is written in nature.”

That is the real problem for progressives: the idea that anything is “written in nature” is repellent to them. In fact the very concept of “human nature” is so repellent to progressives that when Sally Mason, President of the University of Iowa recently said that “given human nature it is unrealistic to think that we will never have another sexual assault,” she was roundly derided and has had to offer public penance by holding “listening post” so that students could air their grievances. Yet, it was not too long ago that most philosophers, sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists actually believed—like the classical Greek philosophers and the Catholic Church—that a good human life was the one in accord with nature. It was uncontroversial that human nature was the source of ways of thinking, feeling and acting that occur “naturally”—independently of the influence of culture. Human nature was traditionally viewed as a source of norms of conduct as well as a way of presenting obstacles or constraints on living contrary to one’s nature. But, aside from some evolutionary and developmental psychologists, the idea of a fixed nature is now taboo in academia.

For the Church to continue to maintain that we cannot “manipulate” the essence of a human being puts her once again in the uncomfortable position of being “out of step” with the culture. While Church teaching allows for the possibility of a biological reason for gender identity disorder, it also accepts other possible dimensions to this disorder—a sociological dimension and a psychological dimension—that can never be addressed through cross-dressing or surgical intervention.

But, in the secular world, it has become heretical even to suggest such a thing. In fact, it has become heretical even to suggest that we should not be celebrating the LGBTQ movement. Last year, Parker Molloy pointed out in the LGBTQ publication The Advocate—well before the latest interview over gender in La Stampa—that “the Pope [Francis] has never tone corrected the Church’s views on transgender individuals.” Pointing to what Molloy called Pope Benedict’s “anti-transgender statements,” Molloy faults Pope Francis for “not saying a word in defense of transgender people…. Why has he remained silent in our plight?”

Likewise, The Advocate’s Stevie St. John appears bewildered by Pope Francis’s “lack of policy changes and critical statements about same-sex marriage and nontraditional families.” Claiming that the bishops’ meeting last year initially seemed “promising for LGBT inclusion,” St. John cites the fact that the New Ways Ministry—the ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics—was “given VIP seats near Pope Francis for the pontiff’s weekly general audience at St. Peter’s Square” as harbinger of good things to come for the LGBTQ community. But, now, St. John seems genuinely disappointed that things have not turned out the way he had hoped.

In 2013, a Colorado school district was accused of discriminating against a six year old boy because it would not allow him to use the girls’ bathroom. According to a report by the state’s Civil Rights Division released by the family’s attorney, the child has “identified as female since an early age,” and has attended school as a girl since kindergarten. He used the girls’ restroom in kindergarten since late 2012 when the principal informed the parents that little Coy would have to use the boys’ restroom or a gender neutral staff lavatory. Coy’s parents withdrew him from school and filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

These kinds of lawsuits will be coming to a Catholic school soon. K-12 textbooks are already normalizing gender theory—in the same ways that Pope Francis has decried as an example of the educational policies of Hitler—but in a federalized educational system that has reached into the Common Core classrooms of even Catholic schools, parents will have little say in the matter. Proponents of gender identity theory say they are the vanguard of a new civil rights movement. If critics are not vigilant in their opposition, the gender revolutionaries will march through the culture leaving many ruined lives in their wake.

Anne Hendershott

By

Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is the author of Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education; The Politics of Abortion; and The Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books). She is also the co-author of Renewal: How a New Generation of Priests and Bishops are Revitalizing the Catholic Church (2013).

  • APEppink

    Dang. Orthodoxy from Pope Francis. Way to go.

    • David Brainerd

      Its a fake-out. He says this this week to get your hopes up…then two weeks later, kablam.

      • eddie too

        look at how cute I am. see how I ridicule the pope. are not I just the cutest thing going. please, please, everyone, I am desperate for attention. pay attention to me. do not you even care that I so, bravely(?), mock and ridicule a man who God has chosen to lead His Church. gosh, I am so desperate for attention that I actually believe mockery and ridicule of others makes me look good.

        • David Brainerd

          I’m just telling you what I think is going to happen. I don’t trust this guy. And as far as ridiculing this pope, nobody needs put forth any effort in that regard; he makes a fool of himself every time he gets on a plane.

    • David Brainerd

      Plus, he gets dizzy on planes. He must have said this while on the ground. Let’s hope he doesn’t fly anytime soon, because then he’ll contradict it.

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    • guest

      “Dang”?? “Way to go”??

      Where to mongo? … over the cliff with the lemmings? …. to self-destruction alongside the brain-dead?

      Worth reiterating:

      RE Veritas – “…Stevie St. John appears bewildered by Pope Francis’ s lack of POLICY changes… Hilarious!”

      What? “changes” to suit whatever is currently in fashion???
      What happened to the inviolability of “absolute truth”???

      RE Anne Hendershott Veritas – “Thank you – I loved the “policy changes” part also – but some non-Catholic churches actually “vote” on what they are going to believe–and then they create doctrine on the outcome of the votes. I guess you would have to be voting every day or so as the culture shifts. Can you imagine? That is just why Catholics are so blessed to know that some things will never change–no matter how much some people want them to.

      The Truth cannot change–it is revealed and we have to constantly seek it”

      ….AND to LIVE BY IT — even in the face of persecution which is gathering speed and intensity!

  • lifeknight

    Glad you could find something of clear “interpretation” in order to quote our Pope. That is the nicest thing I can muster to say. Too bad the “Who am I to judge?” comment will endure forever.

    • jacobhalo

      I’m not crazy about this pope, but his “Whom am I to judge?” statement was precluded by “if one is searching for God” . If one is searching for God, the gay person is not engaging in sex.

    • Gorsm

      I am sure Francis would forgive you! You could do likewise.

  • Good article – thank you. The issue of human nature and the related issue of the existence of a natural moral law are increasingly important in an America that is increasingly rejecting both. The foundation of belief in the natural moral law had, for many years, kept civil law rational – even sane. Now that the natural moral law has been rejected, all that remains of a moral foundation of civil law is the current whim of politicians and judges – and, very sadly, the equally irrational opinions among the electorate.

    If there is no truth outside of man, to which he is accountable, then all that is left is “might makes right.” Legal positivism. Totalitarian culture of death. Social insanity. National collapse. Church, it is time to wake up.

  • Chris Cloutier

    “Pope Francis appears to reject the postmodern conceptualization of gender as a moveable point along a spectrum that is fluid and changeable. He does not accept the progressive claim that gender is socially constructed rather than God-given and instead appears to embrace gender in a traditional “binary” category of male and female.

    When it comes to this topic, I hope the Pope more than “appears” to reject, or “appears” to embrace. There must be no equivocation whatsoever from him on this issue. Molloy and St John obviously have no understanding of Catholic doctrine.

    • MarcAlcan

      Yes, it must be more than appearance. But that we have yet to see. Next thing you know he will be acquiescing to the radical left. I wish that we could get consistent and true Catholic teaching from him but it seems to be asking for too much.

  • TERRY

    The Pope challenged the Raison D’Etre of the whole silly movement – no wonder they hit the ceiling.

    Way to go Padre.

  • littleeif

    Thank you Pope Francis! Welcome aboard!

  • Bill G

    “condemned contemporary gender theory as denying ‘the order of creation.'” – Gee, that sounds like something a Pope would say.

    • Rich Coleman

      It also sounds like something most people would ignore.

  • Kim58

    Obviously Catholics have not done a very good job of evangelizing our culture. You can’t teach what you yourself have not learned. Most Catholics do not know their faith, therefore most Catholics do not live out their faith, and thus they have been incapable of evangelizing our culture. Given that situation plus the continued silence from the pulpit (or at best ambiguous “appearances” of stances on issues!), I don’t think we will be seeing any vigilant opposition to gender theories any time soon.

    • jacobhalo

      Most Catholics don’t practice the faith.

      • CarlsPatrick

        If they don’t practice their faith, then they are not Catholic, regardless of their claims.

    • MarcAlcan

      Sadly, I fear you are right.
      But you know what – we are always invited to be the exception even at the cost of some kind of martyrdom. How we answer is of course up to us. We can bewail the situation or we can rise up – in our little millieus in our own little ways.

  • OttFatherofTwo

    Meanwhile, this gender fluidity is EXACTLY what is being taught in Ontario (Canada) catholic schools this fall. Check out the Catholic intelligence association blog

  • ForChristAlone

    “In an interview published in a new book, Pope Francis: This Economy Kills, by Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi, (portions of which were also published last month in the Italian daily La Stampa), Pope Francis appears to reject the postmodern conceptualization of gender as a moveable point along a spectrum that is fluid and changeable. ”

    My comments should not be interpreted as falling into the general category of “Francis can do nothing right.” However, Francis is the Pope. He seems to poorly appreciate the gravity of the position he occupies in the Church. He teaching role within the magisterium is unlike every other bishop. Although not every word he utters is infallible, what he does say or write adds to our understanding of church doctrine. He cannot change doctrine but he can explicate it for us.

    With that said, I think it terribly injudicious on his part to be contributing to books written by others, giving interviews printed via other media or doing press conferences. His public pronouncements on matters such as these should only be done in an official way – after much deliberate thought. He seems to lack the disposition required of the Vicar of Christ when it comes to how to communicate Church teaching.

    • Asmondius

      I wonder if it is more a matter of carelessness of speech or constantly being under the microscope of those who wish to mold him into an advocate for their own purposes.

      • ForChristAlone

        Unless he is weighing in on such matters as the weather or an upcoming soccer match, he ought to consider everything he says and writes as official teaching of the Church i.e. a weighty matter given the position he holds.

      • MarcAlcan

        Should he not just be simply an advocate of Christ and the Church? If he keeps to the teachings of the Church without equivocation, without digs at those who try to keep the Church Christian – then perhaps there would not be so much confusion.

        • Asmondius

          The problem at times seems to be his apparent prioritizing of some teachings above others.

          • MarcAlcan

            And unfortunately that is true.

    • Kilo4/11

      This pope begins to remind me of his co-ethnic Rudy Giuliani, who, in spite of his knee-jerk liberalism, can’t entirely subdue his innate Italian ability to recognize a threat to his patria, and the habit of challenging it in blunt language.

  • EMK

    The natural moral law has its basis in hygiene, not a religious code. What sane man or woman drink from a sewer under any circumstances? Human sexuality and life are inextricably linked for reasons that go beyond a particular religious dictate. Even when conception is impossible due to age, marriage between compatible people is still an expression of the life-affirming, natural attraction between the sexes.

    • Rich Coleman

      So gay sex is gross but old people having sex isn’t?

  • fredx2

    Who are we to fudge?

    • Jack will, with your permission (or not) unashamedly use this expression, Fred.

  • Asmondius

    If you look back, it has been a deliberate step-by-step process.
    .
    First came the concept of ‘gender’ being distinctly separate from one’s given biological sex. This established the principle of a psychological, conscious human sexual identity that was independent of the body.
    .
    Once this was in place, it was now possible to free people from their true nature whenever convenient. Thus ‘orientation’ followed (treating same sex as if it were opposite sex) and now here comes the inevitable, miraculous ability to be a sex not given at birth, both physically and mentally. Gender identity theory seeks to destroy any acknowledgement of the distinct binary nature of humanity, reducing us conceptually to earthworms.
    .
    The inevitable ‘human rights’ campaigns will continue, with attending laws and politically correct invective in place to silence objectors. Many hardships lie ahead. For example, will a Catholic school’s girls’ lacrosse team compete in a league where they must vie against teams with male members?

    • The greatest danger of intersex competition is in wrestling, where there is no girl’s team.
      http://www.wgal.com/news/catholic-diocese-of-harrisburg-has-new-policy-regarding-girls-playing-sports/28381128

      • Rich Coleman

        I think a lot of people would pay to watch girls wrestle.

        • This isn’t about the WWE.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      “First came the concept of ‘gender’ being distinctly separate from one’s given biological sex.”

      This has its roots in the notion of the Cartesian Ego. Even Catholics, who should have known better, were often infected by this mind/body dualism, identifying the “soul” with “mind” ; this, despite the fact that the Ecumenical Council of Vienne (1311-12) condemns as heresy the denial that the rational or intellectual soul is the form of the human body, of itself and essentially.

  • I wonder if he’s told Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Mr. Loneliness-Is-A-Greater-Evil-Than-Sin, this idea?

    • Rich Coleman

      Can’t he just read it in the paper?

      • Apparently, Cardinal Marx does not read that kind of paper. He greatly prefers left wing rags like America.

        • Rich Coleman

          I’ll have to check out this America rag.

  • cestusdei

    In the end the Church will hold and will be persecuted for it.

  • Mark

    The Pope is still Catholic, good, I was getting a little worried.

  • SnowCherryBlossoms

    God bless our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

  • StellaMaria81

    Thank you for a beautiful article outlining Pope Francis’ stand on this
    important issue. I especially appreciate your appeal to Church fathers
    and Greek philosophers in their common understanding that the true “bona
    vita” comes through living in concert with, and understanding, nature
    itself. I’m not sure, however, why you bring up Common Core in the final
    lines? Common Core is a set of minimal educational standards in math
    and English/literacy; it is not a curriculum in and of itself, nor does
    it include social studies. Perhaps you mean to refer to various textbook
    companies, activist groups, or school districts instead, in their
    concerted postmodernist efforts to break down human nature and deny
    Truth? It is important, in other words, to identify the correct culprits
    as the drivers of this destructive change.

    • Tony

      Common Core IS a curriculum, determining what is taught by determining the examinations, teacher certification, and the composition of textbooks. It is drearily utilitarian, inimical to arts and letters, and utterly irreligious.

      • Chris Cloutier

        Thanks for the most succinct definition of CC that I have seen yet.

    • Anne Hendershott

      Thank you for your kind comments. We will have to disagree about the common core standards. I know that you believe they are only standards – but the standards drive the curriculum by “requiring” what is taught. Textbooks are aligned with the standards – creating the curriculum. Gender theory is an important part of that curriculum–most people just do not know it yet.

      • Common core is an intellectual retrovirus.

        • Veritas

          It is the secular antidote to generations of dumbing down and the soft bigotry of low expectations.

          • Antidote? Hardly. A young relative called me recently for assistance with rounding numbers.

            The way they were taught was lengthy, cumbersome and counterintuitive. It took me a bit to figure out what they were attempting to do, and but I resolved her difficulty. Then I showed her a way to do it that was short and intuitive, and her reaction was along the lines-well that’s easy, why didn’t they show me that?

            The worst part about common core is its insistence on the primacy of adherence to the prescribed method, as opposed to understanding the problem and obtaining a correct answer.

            If you want a population of mindless drones, as the ruling classes do, common core is perfectly designed for that purpose. It’s the hard tyranny of mind control.

          • Anne Hendershott

            The sad part is that I think many of the creators – including then-Governor Jeb Bush–thought they were doing the best they could in creating higher standards for students. But there was much money to be made in the common core curriculum textbook/computer/testing industries–and that is what is really driving all of this.

            • Veritas

              Don’t forget Bill Gates and David Coleman.

              • Rich Coleman

                If David Coleman has 1/100th the amount of money Bill Gates has, I’d like to meet him and claim I’m a long lost cousin.

        • Chris Cloutier

          Wow,
          An even more succinct definition.

    • Veritas

      Stella, I am a math and social studies teacher. There are Common Core standards for Social Studies. Where I work, they will roll out in a few more years. Math and English are in effect right now. In fact, we are currently being trained in all departments. In the dreadful world of public education, the introduction of this gender theory business WILL be incorporated with or without Common Core.

  • Marcelus

    One more bone for the bulldogs.Here we go.

  • Peter Maurice

    “The idea of a fixed human nature is taboo in human nature”? Except when you’re “born gay.” Then, any attempt to change that iron-clad identity is tyranny–contra naturum.

    • Michael.s

      if sexuality is fluid, then reason can be “fluid”. Hence the acceptance of irrationality as “natural”.

    • redfish

      They’ll also say that being monogamous, chaste, or celibate is against human nature, also. They just have a different idea of what human nature is.

  • clintoncps

    The Pope’s comments hear are refreshing and heartening. But there will be much persecution of the Church by devotees of the sexual insanity religion called Gender Theory and LGBTQ.

    Christians and other rational human beings can expect no quarter from evil on this level — a “new” kind of sin, as Pope Francis describes it — so we Catholics and all morally sane human beings should stop trying to reach a truce with LGBTQism. Call it what it is: anti-human sexual insanity and wickedness, and urge people to extricate themselves from this diabolical sexual mythology and turn for merciful forgiveness to God. Courageous love of neighbour is not possible in any other context.

  • Tony

    Visiting chaos upon children, in order to “justify” the childish and selfish and insane sexual choices of adults. It shows the moral structure of pedophilia: the welfare of children must be subordinated to the sexual gratification of people who should have grown up twenty years ago but have not.

    It is diabolical.

    Whenever in this world somebody claims to have discovered an entirely new “right,” utterly unacknowledged by anybody before, and in fact incomprehensible to anybody before, then we know that it is all false. It will not stand. Nature will not be mocked — much less God the Creator. There are no new colors in the world, and there are no new rights.

  • Veritas

    “…Stevie St. John appears bewildered by Pope Francis’ s lack of POLICY changes…”
    Hilarious!
    As if the Holy Spirit guides the Church in the fullness of law and policy.
    Ha Ha Ha.
    As always, Anne, your work is the best.

    • Anne Hendershott

      Thank you – I loved the “policy changes” part also – but some non-Catholic churches actually “vote” on what they are going to believe–and then they create doctrine on the outcome of the votes. I guess you would have to be voting every day or so as the culture shifts. Can you imagine? That is just why Catholics are so blessed to know that some things will never change–no matter how much some people want them to. The Truth cannot change–it is revealed and we have to constantly seek it.

  • AcceptingReality

    Hey, progressives, we are not existential Potato Heads with a box of parts to be added, subtracted and changed at will. God created us male and female.

    • Rich Coleman

      Except for the hermaphrodites. I guess he made a mistake there.

  • Patrick Donnelly

    God bless our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

  • Asmondius

    As a follow-up to my earlier post, here is the next shoe to drop. I recently came a cross a article describing how the student government of a university decided to remove all ‘gender binary specific language’ from their constitution and documents (sch as ‘his’, ‘her’, etc.).

    .

    A main proponent of this move is a young lady (sic) who identifies herself (sic) as ‘non-binary’ (but of course she (sic) is – she’s (sic) a female (sic)). She explained that using generic pronouns such as ‘they’, ‘them’, etc. does not exclude any ‘gender identity’.

    .
    In fine Orwellian fashion, she (sic) described the exclusion of gender-related pronouns as ‘gender friendly’. I wonder if she (sic) goes to Dr. It for her (sic) annual physicals.
    .
    Please add ‘gender binary’ to your list of sins.

  • Mark

    The Church will NEVER change its teachings and Dogmas which are true and made clear by GOD in the bible. History should also teach us the same when fools try to get the church to make changes that conform to the world or social fashions of the day. Liberals only hear what they want to hear. Recenlty (this week) the former Mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown (a demo) and now a critic of Obama, wanted to know why the Archbishop of San Francisco can’t learn from the Pope and become more progressive rather than remind Catholic high school teachers of their responsiblity of supporting church teaching and setting the example of same. Obviously “Da Mayor” as he is called like all liberal progressives only hears what they want and ignors the many statements the Pope makes that make it clear nothing is changing. An interesting note. A number of the people at my parish which has 142 hours of Adoration a week and where some remakable things have happened over the last 4 years plus have been quietly saying they are becoming aware that the world does not have much time left. Even one of the priest who brings young teen age school kids to adoration told one adorer ” you know the church and the world does not have much time left”. A famous priest who knew St Pio since an early age and is a spiritual son of his, and also a spiritual director to people I know has indicated the same. May God speed the day when this world is transformed into a world of true Christian love.

  • Mike

    Way to go Francis!

    If you think you are a white boy in a black boy’s body we do NOT bleach your skin! We try to convince you that you are beautiful the way you are.

    If you only want to perform sx acts with ppl of the same sex and find the opposite sex unattractive we should try to get you to see the beauty of women if you are a man and men if you are a women.

    Way to go Francis!

    • Rich Coleman

      Just leave the gays alone already.

      • Mike

        I am talking about self determination .

        • Rich Coleman

          Then let people “determine themselves”. They don’t need any help from religious busybodies. No offense.

          • Mike

            Exactly, many ppl don’t want to live a gay lifestyle and want help which we believe they have a right to.

            • Rich Coleman

              Those gay people probably have had a major guilt-trip laid on them by religious parents. That’s not help.

              • Mike

                You’d be surprised. Thx for engaging.

  • Logan

    I’m assuming this “St. John” is not a real Saint, if he’s pushing for Pope Francis to change Catholic doctrine.

  • Trimelda McDaniels

    JESUS said: 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

  • Bea

    God made 2 sexes, not 4-5. The world just can’t accept the Truth, never could.

    • Rich Coleman

      Hermaphrodites exist, so your “Truth” doesn’t. Thanks for playing.

      • Kilo4/11

        They do not constitute a separate sex, any more than frogs with two heads are a separate species.

        Get back to the nosebleed seats.

  • Dom_Pedulla

    I think littleelf said it well: “welcome aboard [Holy Father]!” Indeed! As did APEpink: “Dang. Orthodoxy from Pope Francis. Way to go.” And even if we notice a bit of cynicism here, is it not entirely understandable? And who would I be to judge them?

    Perhaps pew-sitters can be forgiven though, for not having the same optimism as the author regarding this pontificate and its interventions in this particular ideological arena. Intermingling it with that of Benedict, or trading on that latter’s interventions, one more astute than me can comment on another time perhaps. Rejecting gender-ism in the media or in public non-magisterial talks is one thing, but doing so in a worldwide universal synod in the Church would be quite another right? It is precisely there — in the universal teaching office — that John Paul II’s “adequate anthropology” could be put on full display if this were what was really wanted. The author is 100% right to see and identify that in the time of Benedict XVI. Yet, thus far it hasn’t been. in fact much to the contrary, as APEpink’s comment suggests to anyone paying attention. It reminds me of the comments of a wise old professor of moral theology from the reign of Pius XII, I believe: “there’s nothing deader than a dead pope”. Meaning, we have come an awfully long way, since the program outlined in Familiaris Consortio, intended, after all, to open the way for the family to the modern world in an authentic world, was instituted, and in no way that I know of can that program be said currently to have any life in the Church, or with our dear Pope Francis, or with the Synod fathers.

    I leave it to others to decipher in a more definitive way exactly why it is that some actions of this pontificate seem to be diametrically undercut by others, or some words have their rugs pulled out from under others. The fact that I don’t like it is unfortunate for me, but not determinative of anything in itself. Some, as recently covered in an interview of an Argentine familiar with Bergoglio’s reign there historically, have offered one type of opinion, while others, perhaps straining only a bit less violently that the full-fledged sycophants, have offered yet another. As for myself, not trying to make a definitive diagnosis, I think it would have been of great benefit for this particular Holy Father to have been told a long time ago just exactly how he’s perceived. One sees he has a certain perception of his own strengths, and weaknesses, and even perhaps of the current “market assessment” of the Church, and how these appraisals may not fully square with how things actually are. This means, in the end, that it is not only the stodgy old preservationists like me that will be disappointed by this man, but also, and here I agree with the Professor, it will be the progressives who suffer the same fate. But when seeing the disappointments of the latter (the progressives) I can only wonder who am I to judge. After all, would it not be less than fair to alone blame them for “great expectations” when they themselves were not entirely the sole authors of those expectations, like little embers that never quite caught fire? And least not when they seemed (SEEMED I say please understand) to come from the heart of the Church. As for us stodgy members of the aforementioned preservationist society, we notice something entirely new in the Church (for that is after all our gift is it not?) — a new division among those faithful to the magisterium. It is worth noting, to what effect I do not fully understand just yet, that under this time in the Church divisions and dis-unity is starting to appear in precisely that camp heretofore noted for its dogged determination to remain loyal and serious faithful Catholics. Should we not read anew CCC 675 and ff.? That there will be a time of testing ahead, which even as late as 1976, at a Philadelphia Eucharistic congress, soon-to-be JPII we were warned to imminently expect (“now” he said back then)? What can it mean when we see those who for example would never disagree on the Real Presence, or on the immorality of contraception, start fighting amongst ourselves as tot he real meaning and expectations of this pontificate? Is there not a new cause of division, precisely where we ought to enjoy only a stimulus for unity?

    We ought to love our Holy Father. But not to the point of becoming sycophants, who must strain in every conceivable way to find good in our Father’s remarks. I don’t say that is what Professor Hendershott is doing exactly, nevertheless we Catholics ought to have our eyes open, and if we must suffer a difficult time in the Church, probably an unprecedented time, we must know Divine Providence has not nor will ever abandon us. But as to who is right about the diagnosis and just why, who am I to judge?

  • Dom_Pedulla

    I mean if Jesus himself were here, he might ask us whether we expected to find a bruised reed!

  • John Hinshaw

    When men, wanting to be women, and women, wanting to be men, pour out their hearts to us, we need to listen. They speak of their plight of having to actually hear people who do not share their opinion. Oh, that’s a shame. We cannot protect them from the self-loathing, born of rejecting the primal love, which afflicts them.

    • bassbait

      If you’re listening while holding an agenda against the group you’re listening to, you aren’t really listening.

  • Joe

    We recognize that sometimes imperfect human development causes organs to develop ambiguously with regard to sexual dimorphism or contrarily to what their genes code for.

    What then if the organ that develops so is the brain? We do not posses medical science capable of un-developing and re-developing the brain properly, nor of surgically correcting it, and this flaw in development can cause extreme distress to the point of inducing mental illness which may drive the victim to suicide.

    Treatment of some kind is surely called for, though, to save lives, if nothing else.

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