As Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet would shout: "Stop the presses!"
The Vatican issued an official document Monday [June 10] rejecting the idea that people can choose or change their genders and insisting on the sexual "complementarity" of men and women to make babies. The text, "Male and Female He Created Them," was intended to help Catholics address what the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education called an "educational crisis" in the field of sex education. Source: CBS News
It is sad and even mean-spirited that the church would take LGBT Pride Month to make this announcement. It brands changing understanding towards gender identity and sexuality as a cultural and historical trend in "gender theory". Church leaders stated that gender identity is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. The 31-page document was decisive in its definition of the gender binary, condemning any deviation.
I am not at all shocked by such a religious statement being made by an autocratic male-led organization. Keep in mind that the 16th-century Italian philosopher (and former Catholic priest) Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for a stubborn adherence to his then-unorthodox beliefs including the ideas that the universe is infinite and that other solar systems exist.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “sex” is defined as “either of the two main categories (male or female) into which humans and many other living beings are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions”. Similarly, it defines “gender” as the “socially constructed roles, behaviors, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women”.
The difference is obvious to all. The church is hanging with an archaic definition (and belief structure) that sex and gender are the same. Where is the acceptable place of individuals who are intersexed, or have variation in chromosomes? XX is Female; XY is Male, however, clearly, according to the World Health Organization, "There are females who are XX and males who are XY. Clearly there is a range of chromosome complements, hormone balances, and phenotypic variations that determine sex".
Religion and science have a troubled past, which I have already mentioned. Scientists assert that valid knowledge can only come from science and hold that religious beliefs are the remains of pre-scientific explanations of the world and amount to nothing more than superstition.
According to Saint Augustine of Hippo (354AD - 430AD), the great theologian of the early Christian church, it is a blunder to mistake the Bible for an elementary textbook of astronomy, geology, or other natural sciences. As he writes in his commentary on Genesis:
It is a disgraceful and dangerous thing to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics [the Earth, the heavens, the motion and orbit of the stars, the kinds of animals and shrubs].
Giving credibility or allowing a religious organization to dictate what is true or untrue in human psychology is wrong. It has become increasingly common to hear people say they are “spiritual” but not “religious”. The Rev. Martin Luther King predicted that if religion does not keep up with social norms, it will become an “irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” The Vatican has taken another step in the direction of irrelevance.
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