Two Catholic bishops have issued a Pastoral Letter seeking to catechize their flock about the dangers of modern gender ideology.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland recently penned the letter, “The Body-Soul Unity of the Human Person,” to provide clarity on the issue.

Gender ideology is the false modern fantasy (invented in the 1950s by disgraced Dr. John Money) that gender is different from biological sex; gender is only a social construct; and a person can change their sex to align with their preferred gender.

In the letter, the bishops correctly note that gender ideology “has become pervasive in contemporary society.” They quote Pope Francis who called it “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.”

“Gender ideology denies certain fundamental aspects of human existence, such as male-female sexual difference, the reciprocal complementarity of man and woman, and the essential unity of body and soul in the human person,” they write, adding,

Gender ideology is, in many important respects, radically opposed to a sound understanding of human nature. … It is thus opposed to reason, to science, and to a Christian view of the human person.

They continue,

Male-female sexual difference and complementarity are also essential to a Christian understanding of marital conjugal union, which is itself an image of Trinitarian communion.

Eliminating this difference would diminish in man and woman part of what it means to bear God’s image and likeness. In addition, it would do away with the very basis of the family, the “first vital cell of society.” Doing so would be an offense against human dignity and a social injustice.

As the bishops rightly point out, gender ideology does away with our understanding of what it means to be human – to be human beings created either male or female.

When the sexual differences between men and women are ignored – or worse, rejected and denied – human beings suffer. The entire basis for the human family is spurned. And our conception of what it means for human beings to bear the imago dei is reduced to nothingness.

The bishops proceeded to preach against unjust discrimination towards those suffering from gender dysphoria. They said that the Church is called to – like Jesus – “accompany in a spirit of solidarity those marginalized and suffering while affirming the beauty and truth of God’s creation.”

The bishops address a portion of their letter directly to those experiencing gender dysphoria,

We wish to reaffirm that God knows us, loves each of us, and desires our flourishing. …

Know that your life is not a mystery to God, Who has counted every hair on your head (Luke 12:7), Who created your innermost being, and Who knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139).

In taking on a bodily human nature, Jesus reveals the goodness of our created bodies and the closeness of God to each one of us. He is not far off or indifferent to our questioning, our challenges, or our suffering. He comes to meet us in them and to reveal to us the depth of his love and mercy (emphasis in original).

The bishops continued,

Our identity is not something we invent or create for ourselves. Your most fundamental identity is that of a beloved child of God. Recognize that the desire to understand who you are is a desire to know yourself as created, known, and loved by God.

Gender ideology – as one of the foremost threats to modern families – must be addressed with clarity and compassion by our nation’s pastors and spiritual leaders.

And those struggling with gender dysphoria deserve a compassionate – but honest and truthful – response.

We can be grateful to Archbishop Cordileone and Bishop Barber for their clear and biblically faithful letter. Let’s pray that more pastors speak the truth about gender identity – and that they do so with both truth and love.

“So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them”
(Genesis 1:27, ESV).

Focus on the Family exists to help families, and that includes help navigating the issues of homosexuality and transgenderism. Focus offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.

Related articles and resources:

Counseling Consultation & Referrals

Transgender Resources

Addressing Gender Identity with Honesty and Compassion

The Journey Back to My True Identity

What is ‘Gender Identity’

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