Vatican rejects idea of gender change

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It was prepared by the Congregation for Catholic Education, which talks of "an educational crisis" surrounding the topic of sexuality and the topic of "gender theory".

The paper is meant to help Catholic school teachers counter ideas which "deny the natural difference between a man and a woman", and is subtitled "Towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender theory in education".

Particularly it criticises the usual realizing of gender as being more advanced than the binary division of sexes.

New Ways Ministry, a USA advocacy group for LGBT Catholics, has described the document as a "harmful tool", that will be used to "oppress and harm not only transgender people, but lesbian, gay, bisexual people, too".

The Congregation for Catholic Education says the goal of the 31-page guide is to "support those who work in the education of young people, so as to help them address in a methodical way (and in the light of the universal vocation to love of the human person) the most debated questions around human sexuality".

She said she thinks there is still an element of confusion around gender, and a document like this will just continue to confuse people as it denies the idea that there is a spectrum of both sex and gender.

But regarding the evolution of the concept of gender, the text affirms that "there are meeting points" with the Church, and among them cites the "education of children and young people to respect each person in their particular and different condition, so that no one, due to their personal conditions (disability, origin, religion, affective tendencies, etc.) can become the target of harassment, violence, insults and unfair discrimination".

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While the document is not signed by Pope Francis, it several times quotes from his speeches and teachings and those of previous popes.

In the past, Pope Francis has pushed for the inclusion of LGBTQ people within the church.

Father James Martin, a prominent Jesuit minister, said that the document would be used as "a cudgel against transgender people, and an excuse to argue that they shouldn't even exist".

"By ignoring new scientific understandings of gender identity, and by refusing to engage in dialogue with LGBT people about their lived experiences of self-understanding and faith, the Vatican remains in the dark ages, promoting a false teaching that relies on myth, rumour, and falsehoods".

He said the Catholic Church should encourage this process of discovery, saying it's "a process by which individuals discover the wonderful way that God has created them".

The release of the anti-trans document comes after an American Catholic bishop urged Catholic families not to attend Pride events, claiming they would be "harmful for children." Italy also observes Pride Month in June and a pride parade was held in Rome over the weekend.

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