Over the weekend, Pope Francis drew a familiar distinction between those individuals who were struggling with their sex identity and those who were pushing a radical agenda. He embraced the former while strongly denouncing the latter.
The pope’s words are subject to translation discrepancies, thus accounting for the following inconsistencies:
- “Today there is a global war out to destroy marriage. Not with weapons but with ideas…we have to defend ourselves from ideological colonization.”
- Gender theory represents a “global war against the family.”
- Gender theory has caused a “world war against marriage,” an example of “ideological colonization.”
- There is a “nasty” tendency in schools to “indoctrinate” children, teaching that gender can be chosen and changed.
- “It is one thing if a person has this tendency and also changes his sex. It’s another thing to teach this in school to change mentalities. This is what I call ‘ideological colonization.'”
- Teaching gender theory is “the great enemy of marriage.”
- Teaching gender theory “is against natural things.”
For teaching Catholic doctrine, Pope Francis was immediately condemned by New Ways Ministry, a renegade dissident group. It implored the pope to “abandon his reliance upon so-called ‘gender theory’ and ‘ideological colonization.'” It also accused the Holy Father of distorting reality. “Throwing about terms such as ‘gender theory’ and ‘ideological colonization’ is a red herring,” it said.
New Ways Ministry was founded in 1977 as a “gay Catholic” entity. By 1984, Archbishop James Hickey of Washington denied it official authorization or approval; the founders, Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent, were forbidden to carry out their agenda in the archdiocese.
In 1999, the Vatican took aim at New Ways Ministry. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, citing deliberate deviations from Catholic teachings on sexuality, permanently prohibited Gramick and Nugent from pastoral work with homosexuals.
In 2010, Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated that “New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.” He cited the group’s continued denial of Church teachings as the reason for his injunction.
Pope Francis is to be commended for his courage in deconstructing gender theory. In particular, he is to be applauded for challenging those who seek to indoctrinate children with its pernicious agenda.