ROME — A Vatican-based international educational organization that credits Pope Francis as its founder is pushing gender theory in its curriculum, according to a report in Italian media Sunday.
Scholas Occurrentes (Schools of Encounter) has been spreading gender theory through its didactic material in at least a dozen countries in Latin America, Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti reported, in direct contradiction to Pope Francis’ frequent condemnations of gender ideology as “evil” and part of the “global war” on marriage.
Launched in Buenos Aires in 2001 under the aegis of then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the organization Scholas Occurrentes was formally established as an institute of pontifical right in 2015 by Pope Francis and set up headquarters in the Vatican property of San Callisto in 2015.
In one of its school textbooks, which carries a sketch of Pope Francis, small children are introduced to transgender doctrine through a story called “I am a Dog!” which celebrates the efforts of a “short, brave, white cat” to be publicly recognized as a dog.
At the end of the children’s story, the cat triumphs by being recognized as a dog thanks to the defense of a donkey that self-identifies as a horse.
In its explanation of the story for parents and teachers, Scholas declares that “our image and sense of ourselves develop during our whole lives.”
Another story published by Scholas, titled “Kids’ Stuff,” states that “there are children who have a mother and father. One of each. Others have two of each. Others, one of one and two of the other. Or the other way around.” The tale carries an illustration of two children holding hands with two adults wearing skirts.
In its “guide for parents and educators,” Scholas underscores that this story teaches that “diversity goes beyond the social group or culture we belong to” and includes “traits that we are incapable of changing, such as our age, physical characteristics, gender and sexual orientation.”
Pope Francis has rarely missed an opportunity to denounce gender theory as one of the great problems of our age.
Gender theory is “dangerous,” the pope said in February 2020, because it implicitly wishes “to destroy at the root that creative project that God wanted for each of us — diversity and distinction — by making everything homogeneous and neutral.”
“It is an attack on difference, on God’s creativity, on man and woman,” Francis said.
While Christianity prioritizes facts over ideology, gender theory tries to impose ideas on reality, he suggested.
“It wishes to undermine humanity in all areas and in all possible educational forms,” he said, “and it is becoming a cultural imposition which, instead of rising from below is imposed from above by some nations as the only possible cultural path to follow.”
In 2016, Francis published a lengthy teaching letter on marriage and the family called The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia), in which he insisted on the unique value of motherhood and fatherhood, neither of which is dispensable or replaceable with a unisex version of “parent.”
The “legal deconstruction of the family” taking place in many countries cannot bode well for the future of society, the pope wrote. It is unacceptable that “international bodies should make financial aid to poor countries dependent on the introduction of laws to establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex.”
In that text, Francis decried gender theory for its denial of “the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman,” and for its dream of “a society without sexual differences.”
“An appreciation of our body as male or female,” he said, is “necessary for our own self-awareness in an encounter with others different from ourselves.” Efforts to cancel out sexual differences based in anatomy are a symptom of a sick society that “no longer knows how to deal with it,” he wrote.
The following year, the pope denounced what he called the “unisex utopia” of the transgender movement.
Addressing the Pontifical Academy for Life, the pontiff reaffirmed the importance of sexual differentiation, citing the “blessed difference” between men and women as revealed in the biblical book of Genesis.
The Pope went on to denounce recent attempts to “completely erase this difference,” which he denounced as a “unisex utopia.”
Francis condemned “unjust” efforts aimed at “radically neutralizing the difference between the sexes, and thus the relationship between man and woman.”