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Theology for the common man

Gender – Another Contemporary Challenge for the Church

We have recently witnessed a great attack initiated by so-called progressive circles in defense of genderism, the ideology of culture-based gender. The attack was widely supported and profusely broadcasted by the mass media. It was, as is usual in such situations, linked with an attack on the Catholic viewpoint pertaining to a traditional social and cultural order, including the Church’s stance concerning families. The audacity of these circles was so great that they even petitioned the Pope, demanding a revision of the Church’s moral and social teachings pertaining to so-called gender studies. We can mention, inter alia, a letter written to the Pope in December of 2013 by radical feminists associated with the League of Polish Women (Liga Polskich Kobiet), which accused the Polish Episcopate of ignorance in matters concerning gender, as demonstrated – according to the letter – in its proclamation to the People of God during the celebration of the Holy Family. An analysis of this proclamation, however, reveals a deep understanding of the issue and awareness of the danger that the ideology poses in practice. Apart from noting that we have already witnessed similar “scientific” approaches to many ideologies (e.g. so-called scientific socialism or so-called secular scientific world views, also taught by universities), the issue of genderism itself requires special consideration in order to show its perilous consequences to the future of society, the Church, the state, and all of mankind. In addition, every Catholic requires trustworthy and concise knowledge in order to form an opinion on the topic and learn how to deal with the issue.

The Term Gender
No one could have suspected that the innocent-sounding term gender (Latin: genus), used in English to describe grammatical gender (masculine, feminine and neuter), would one day become the source of such a great challenge for the Church and modern man. Gender ideology has turned gender into a word used to spread a new type of ethical relativism (system) linked with unrestrained sexual behavior. Its supporters, under the banner of so-called gender mainstreaming, have given the term gender a cultural meaning; every individual is free to make decisions concerning gender and its direction of development, without taking any biological or psychological determinants under consideration. Although this seems absurd, according to this ideology biological sex (i.e. the biological and physiological characteristics that define a man and woman) along with its somatic (relating to the body) and psychological contexts no longer have any sway in terms of sexual identity; sex is now influenced by culture and may from the very beginning be chosen, simulated and formed. As a result, objective facts based on biological and psychological traits no longer decide whether an individual is male or female; this decision is based on the subjective convictions of the given individual, who may feel like a male or female even despite biologically belonging to the opposite sex. This is the manner in which homosexual and transsexual behavior is justified; this behavior is no longer seen as a symptom of an illness or deviation – as it has been hitherto understood – but as one of many forms of gender identity. Academic learning programs, i.e. gender studies, promoted by all universities, are to help in developing this ideology; they are also responsible for creating special education and orientation programs for children, young adults and various social groups. This is how the term gender has become a word denoting culture-based sex, i.e. sex that – despite hitherto logic and traditional culture (not only Christian culture) – can be chosen, controlled and liberally practiced. The consequences of this state of affairs are catastrophic. Spreading this ideology serves to justify unrestricted sexual behavior in any shape or form, which has become evident in practice.

Contemporary Meanings of the Gender Phenomenon
Emilia Kaczmarek, a contemporary Polish researcher of the subject (associated with the Liberal Culture community), explains the multiple meanings of the word gender and lists the misunderstandings linked with these meanings – visible when various groups refer to the term – as well as its usage in a number of fields of modern science and culture. In the context of sociology, the term gender encompasses everything linked with an individual’s sexual identity but devoid of biological foundations, e.g. the manner in which men and women dress, their social roles and the way these roles have changed throughout the ages and in various cultures. According to the researcher, sociology aims to maintain a neutral scientific description. In political science, the term gender is used to describe the relationship between an individual’s sex and those in power and the individual’s place within a social hierarchy. This is the UN’s stance – which can be viewed as an attempt to illustrate categories of globally marginalized groups, including women, young adults and autochthonic societies. This mainly pertains to the political and economic situation of women. The contemporary cultural movement currently uses the term gender mainstreaming. This is a term that reveals the political strategy chosen by the European Union (EU), i.e. the EU’s policies for gender equality among men and women (and, as emphasized by some theoreticians, not the deconstruction of sex). Simultaneously, the subject of sex and equality are an element of the EU’s policies aimed at counteracting the marginalization of problems faced by women. The term gender is also present in so-called gender studies, which analyze cultural gender within various fields of study: philosophy, anthropology, psychoanalysis. Gender studies were sparked by feminist research. The term gender also functions in queer theory, the theory of diversity linked with the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community, which openly negates the distinction between cultural and biological sex, deeming that biological sex is merely a cultural concept. From this perspective, calling boys “boys” and girls “girls” oppressively shapes their identity. This theory, according to the author, is taught by universities as part of post-structural philosophy studies and is the most extreme form of genderism. The mild feminism movement, so-called difference feminism, uses the term gender to interpret biological sex, without radically undermining the differences between men and women. For these feminists, traditional womanhood is a value that needs to be prized, not deconstructed. Finally, according to the author, there is gender ideology, or genderism, terms used by the Catholic Church, which lump together all displays of the new reality linked with the term gender. Kaczmarek presumes that the Church is against the distinction between sex and gender, and that the Church believes the roles of men and women are different as a result of natural law and maternity (as well as paternity, which is not mentioned) while being a woman or man is a calling and not a social role that can be shaped. Yet this approach (the author does not state this out loud but it may be assumed from the context of the article) will soon have to most likely become a thing of the past, due to the “novelty” of the gender movement.

The Origins of “Scientific” Genderism
Emilia Kaczmarek has, in fact, perceived the foundations of the Church’s objection to the new gender movement very well – regardless of the form it has taken. Its radical form (queer theory) only increases the danger of the gender movement as it is constructed upon a faulty assumption – the free choice of cultural gender – which cannot be reconciled with common-sense science based on objective reality. The origins of so-called “scientific” genderism can be sought in the faulty research of an American psychologist, John Money (1921-2006) at John Hopkins University in Baltimore. In 1955 he first coined the theory that who we are is not based on our biological sex, but on the cultural dependence he called gender. He believed that a child’s sex can be changed, especially during the first two years of life, without any harm to the child’s later psychological development; all that is required is to raise the child to perform a role – that of a boy or a girl. Ten years later a different American psychologist, Robert Stoller (1924-1991) at the University of California in Los Angeles, voiced the same theory, though in modified form (with accent on the dominance of the inborn female element in the development of every child, regardless of the child’s sex). Today Stoller is considered the creator of genderism in social sciences. Money had an opportunity to validate his theory in the 1960s, when an opportunity arose to test it in real life. The psychologist was contacted by a Canadian family, the Reimers, who asked for his help in “reassigning” the sex of one of their twin sons, Bruce, whose penis was damaged as the result of a laser circumcision. Money ordered the parents to change Bruce’s name to Brenda and to raise the boy as if he were a girl – choosing toys and clothes as they would for a girl. From the very beginning the boy did not want to accept the role of a female. He was, as recommended by Money, forced to participate in disgusting sexual acts with his twin brother and was shown pornographic images. The child’s horror ended when Bruce-Brenda was 13 years old and threatened his parents that he will commit suicide. This was when the family found a new psychotherapist and the child was told the truth. The boy’s physical appearance was changed once more and Bruce-Brenda was given yet another name, David. It appeared that everything had returned to normal. David even got married. Unfortunately, Bruce-Brenda-David committed suicide in 2004 by shooting himself in the head; this event followed several unsuccessful attempts. It turned out that his twin brother, Brian, who was also subjected to Money’s sexual experiments, had similarly committed suicide by overdosing antidepressants two years before this incident. These facts were made public a years after the suicides and at that time it was too late to put a stop to the worldwide march of genderism. And although culture experts did indeed conduct research on determining the role of the sexes and a description of mutual antagonisms (also called gender studies), the popular gender movement was quickly taken over by feminism and absorbed feminism’s research results in order to utilize them in an ideological manner and take possession of its terminology. Professor Michał Kleiber at the Polish Academy of Sciences expressed this in his interview on the 13th of February 2014.

Gender Ideology: Battle of the Sexes
The subsequent step of “scientifying” genderism was to assume the Marxist axiom of the battle of the classes and make it the “poster child” of the radical feminist movement, which quickly gave a new tone to the entire gender movement under the banner of the battle of the sexes. It is true that the position of women in our culture had hitherto been lesser and subservient. This is why women, at first, rightly fought against abuse, unfair treatment and derogatory stereotypes; as a result they received rights that guaranteed them equal status. Yet the radical feminists of the 1970s were not satisfied with these solutions and, following Engels, postulated a new vision of mankind, for which the battle of the sexes had cleared the way. This, in the minds of the feminists, signified freeing women from the patriarchal shackles of family and maternity in order to allow for morally-uninhibited freedom, meaning sexual looseness. One of the first creators of the radical feminist movement, Shulamith Firestone (1945-2012), wrote about this directly in her book from the year 1970 (The Dialectic of Sex): “…To assure the elimination of sexual classes requires the revolt of the underclass (women) and the seizure of control of reproduction (…) so the end goal of feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally.” Another representative of this movement, Kate Millet (born in 1934), wrote in 1969 in her book entitled Sexual Politics: “There is no differentiation between the sexes at birth. Psycho-sexual personality is therefore postnatal and learned.” These words perfectly summed up the “scientific” scribbles of other leading feminists, Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), or Judith Butler (born in 1956), attempting to justify their lesbian tendencies. The next step was freeing the sexual relationship from heterosexual marriage. A contemporary representative of feminism and genderism in philosophy, Alison Jagger, in her courses for women thusly illustrates the objectives of the new feminism: “The end of the biological family will also eliminate the need for sexual repression. Male homosexuality, lesbianism, and extramarital sexual intercourse will no longer be viewed in the liberal way as alternative options... the very 'institution of sexual intercourse' where male and female each play a well-defined role will disappear. Humanity could finally revert to its natural polymorphously perverse sexuality.” Such a take on things has nothing in common with philosophy, as philosophy is in essence a search for the truth while here no one desires the truth. Transgenderism has simply become another form of the so-called “scientific” ideology of the battle of the sexes, a way to justify permissive pansexuality and the destruction of morals.

Implementation of Genderism
When following the fate of contemporary ideological genderism we can note its strong alliance with the feminist movement. It seems that radical feminists wanted to take matters into their own hands and – through genderism – get revenge for the abuse women had to succumb to from men throughout the ages. The Catholic Church was particularly criticized as the entity mostly responsible for this state of things. The masculine God Yahweh, Jesus Christ the man, the patriarchal Semitic order sanctioned by the Letters of Paul and the Church’s practices – these are the main factors (according to this feminist movement) which from the very beginning made women take on a submissive and ancillary role, why a woman’s calling was thought to be solely to give birth and raise children; and this only took place in an environment of institutionally sanctioned monogamous families. This is why until recently women did not have access to the same rights that men had access to, and why women always bore the consequences of sexual wrongdoings of both parties. Thankfully (according to the feminists) genderism became a way to change this; to give women back their rightful, equal place in society. First, mankind had to free itself of religion and its ever-present influence on all areas of social and political life. This was to be achieved via atheism and the slogans of secular humanitarism, spoken in the spirit of liberal utilitarianism (I can do anything that helps me fulfill myself) as well as democratic standards leaving no place for God and the Christian system of values. These will – with time – diminish against a background of a broader, universal system where everyone will have the right to freely voice their opinions and seek fulfillment in accordance with their specific point of view. In this case the goal is also for the individual to free himself from the shackles of morality and all hitherto prohibitions (birth control, abortion, divorce, euthanasia) and sexual deviations – turning them into expressions of new gender ideology (bisexuality, homosexuality, transsexuality, etc.). The weapons used to fight this new battle include: a new form of sexual education targeting especially children and young adults; tolerance; demanding equal rights for women and sexual minorities; counteracting homophobia and all displays of sexual intolerance; creating a new and secular legal order in the spirit of genderism, sanctioned by international organizations and state institutions. In short, the objective is to indoctrinate the entire society on a wide (global) scale in the spirit of a gender mentality. Fictitious cultural science research results were used to force these postulates down society’s throat; the results were skillfully orientated to carry out the ideology’s objectives. We can see the effects today in international terminology and law, which impacts global social and cultural transformations, especially in developing countries, where economic aid depends on acceptance of gender-related postulates. It should thus not surprise us that the name of God is not mentioned in the Constitution of the European Union; that in the name of democratic equality (but against tolerance), state institutions – hastened by international jurisdiction – forbid the manifestation of the Christian faith in public life; that christianophobia is present all over the world; that documents from recent international conferences concerning the problems of the modern world (children, women, families or demography) are written in the language of gender ideology without referencing mothers and fathers; that heterosexual and same-sex marriages are treated equally and laws have been changed for this to take place; that the European Union’s budget, as well as the budgets of other countries, are used to finance special gender education programs on all levels – which, in practice, leads to the development of new books for schools and universities, to the creation of gender preschools and nursery schools where experiments are carried out on children and young adults, often without parents’ knowledge. All of this is cause for alarm and the reason why the Church and deceived societies are voicing their objections.

The Church on the Subject of Gender Ideology
The Catholic Church’s first reaction to the increasing wave of gender indoctrination was an in-depth analysis of the ideology in order to show the dangers linked with it. Its first catastrophic consequence, indicated by Catholic experts on the problem and which we can now see with our very eyes, is the universal demoralization and pansexualization of society, especially the young generation. Genderism reduces the aspect of human sexuality solely to sexual pleasure, destroying the beautiful significance of a monogamous marriage and family, along with values such as purity, faithfulness, fertility and mutual devotion. It does not create normal conditions for children to fully develop due to a lack of a full image of a family: mother or father. It basically turns children into egotistical orphans, releasing them into a world of sexual looseness taught in kindergarten, schools and at universities – in the name of gender freedom which has nothing in common with real love. Under the mask of introducing equal rights and ending discrimination, genderism utilizes international institutions of global management and language manipulation to force the majority (generally heterosexual) to accept the conditions of minorities (generally homosexual), which leads to ideological totalitarism – all the more real and dangerous due to the fact that it is already legally sanctioned in most countries throughout the world (Gabriela Kuby, fr Dariusz Oko, fr Paweł Bortkiewicz). We are constantly hearing the voice of objection from the Holy See concerning universal atheisation, elimination of Christian values from public life and pansexualization. Episcopal conferences held in various countries issued letters informing families and entire societies of the dangers linked with this deviant ideology. Among the many such letters issued by Episcopates (Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Germany, Ukraine), let us focus on the very to-the-point letter issued by the Polish Episcopate on the 29th of December 2013, written to commemorate the Celebration of the Holy Family. Bishops especially warn that:

“The danger linked with gender ideology ensues from its deeply destructive nature – both for individuals and for interpersonal relationships, and so for social life in its entirety. A person with an uncertain sexual identity is unable to discover and fulfill the tasks that lie before him in the fields of marriage and family as well as socially and professionally (…). We are encountering various stances concerning actions undertaken by those who support gender ideology. A prevailing majority does not know what the ideology actually is and so does not sense any danger (…). Meanwhile, gender ideology started being implemented many months ago – without society’s knowledge or the approval of Poles – in various societal structures: education, healthcare, the activities of culture and education centers as well as non-governmental organizations. Some media convey this process as a positive occurrence: as counteracting violence and striving towards equality.

The Church Community sees a person and a person’s sexuality in an integral way, perceiving its somatic, biological, psychological, cultural and spiritual elements. There is nothing wrong with conducting research on the influence that culture has on sex. It is, however, dangerous to ideologically state that biological sex holds no noteworthy significance for social life. The Church is unequivocally against sex-based discrimination, but at the same time perceives the danger of downgrading the value of a person’s sex. The existence of the two sexes is not the source of discrimination – discrimination is caused by a lack of spiritual reference, human egoism and arrogance, which we must constantly strive to overcome. The Church does not, in any way, agree with discriminating persons with homosexual tendencies, but simultaneously emphasizes that homosexual activity is deeply disordered and that we cannot socially equate a marriage between a man and a woman with a homosexual relationship.”

Why is Only the Church Reacting to Gender Ideology?
Why is the resistance against the gender craziness mainly resistance on the grounds of faith? Why is there no protest on the part of rational and enlightened people? This is a question posed before Gabriele Kuba, a German Catholic journalist who has been studying gender ideology and writing about its dangers for nearly 15 years. Her answer seems to be very convincing. First of all, the ideology is disguised as so-called science; second of all, in G. Kuba’s own words: “We are living in a hyper-secularized society, under the constant pressure of images that stimulate our sexuality. Most people live in a certain state of sexual disorder: in informal relationships, or are unfaithful, or use pornography on a regular basis (…). What is their opinion concerning women, love and marriage? This sexual disorder causes individuals to be blinded and uninterested in resistance or pondering the state of things. These people gladly listen to soothing voices that say: everything is all right, do whatever you want. And then they themselves begin to announce that they have finally freed themselves from the influence of the oppressive Church. And this is why there is no vigilance or resistance when it comes to genderism.” The author invites all those with common sense to deeply reflect upon their actions, to convert and practice self-discipline; for Catholic families to become active and organize and manifest the Catholic point of view in order to counteract the dangerous ideology of genderism.

The following conclusions must be drawn in order to improve our understanding of the ever-present and dangerous gender ideology:
1. In the case of genderism, just like in the case of new-age, there is no government seat or headquarters, no founder who could designate a set direction of development for the doctrine and the way it is practiced, no classical text or assumed customs. This is in the hands of those hired by book publishers, periodicals, universities and government agencies or international corporations, and who are capable of spreading their ideology, facilitated by atheistically-inclined mass media and anti-church propaganda.
2. This is not another conspiracy theory as its results are tangible and present practically everywhere. Gender ideology is being broadcasted by the mass media, in schools, at universities as a new, scientific alternative to homophobic (in the eyes of transgender ideologists), traditional Catholic presence. This is often done without parents’ or society’s knowledge. This is all the more serious, and convincing, as it is taught by universities under the name gender studies. It is worth mentioning that university departments where gender studies take place staff mainly the propagators of feminism. We can give countless examples (Magdalena Sroda, Alison Jagger, Judith Butler, etc.).
3. Genderism can be summed up by the words of a Catholic journalist: “Genderism is a new ideology offering freedom from “shackling” moral and cultural norms as well as the laws of biology and psychology. Its significant portion is comprised of eliminating natural limitations ensuing from a person’s sex. Just as courses on Marxism usually begin with a description of the history of mankind seen as a battle of the classes, courses on genderism begin with a history of feminism, illustrating history from a perspective of the battle of the sexes and women’s rights. Man is then “freed” from his or her biological sex, viewed as oppression.” (Grzegorz Strzemecki)
4. Broad acclaim for this ideology stems from the fact that it encourages sexual permissiveness, which becomes a struggle for everyone who does not adhere to moral and religious principles. This is especially dangerous in the case of children and young adults who are – from the very beginning – deprived and not allowed to experience truly beautiful and pure love, not to mention the fate of their further personality development. It is also destructive to families which cannot count on much support from the government and decide not to have children, are more prone to moral degradation and even dissolution and loss of identity. The decline of this basic social “tissue” makes the future fate of society uncertain.
5. The Catholic Church, along with some faith-related organizations, present an analysis of genderism, indicate the dangers stemming from this perilous ideology and appeal for everyone to come to their senses, offering help to all those who are lost and in need of it. The Church shall never stop praying to merciful God for forgiveness for all those who have sinned.

Quoted literature:
-Emilia Kazmarek, Co to właściwie jest ten dżender? Mały słownik dla genderowo zdezorietnowanych, Kultura liberalna 263(2014).
-Gender – nowa, niebezpieczna ideologia. Z Dale O’Leary, amerykańską specjalistką od ideologii „gender”, interview with Włodzimierz Rędzioch, in: „Niedziela” 49/2005, 12.
-List Episkopatu Polski na Niedzielę Swiętej Rodziny 2013.
-Grzegorz Strzemecki, Wypróbujcie to na szczurach. Genderyzm jako niebezpieczny eksperyment na ludziach, in: „Gazeta Polska” 22/10/2013; 22/11/2013.

Recommended reading:
-Gabrielle Kuby, Rewolucja genderowa. Nowa ideologia seksualności, Homo Dei, Kraków 2009.
-Manfred Hauke, La teologia feminista. Significado y valoracion, BAC, Madrid 2013.