For Pope Francis, in the framework of responsible stewardship for creation, the manipulation of gender implies an assault on the Creator and a disrespect for his designs. In his new encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, the Pope condemns the relativism at the core of gender theory and urges those struggling with gender identity issues to accept their bodies as God made them.
“The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift,” Francis writes, “is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.”
Bruce Jenner, call your office.
The Pope argues that human ecology underscores the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is “inscribed in our nature.” This human ecology, he says, is based on the fact that man “has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will.”
“Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology,” Francis said.
Accepting one’s nature also carries over into human sexuality, Francis suggests, whose complementarity underscores the Christian vision of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
“Valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different,” he writes. “In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment.”
On the other hand, Francis insists, “it is not a healthy attitude which would seek to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome