Italian Catholics are in uproar over an invitation to Education Minister Valeria Fedeli—an outspoken LGBT and gender theory advocate—to write the preface for a new book on education attributed to Pope Francis.
When a book bearing the Pope’s name, Learning to Learn: Reflections on Education Issues (“Imparare ad imparare. Riflessioni sui temi dell’educazione”), appeared in bookstores last Thursday, it bore the preface by Fedeli, sparking a wave of criticism by Catholics and pro-family groups. One local media outlet noted that the choice for preface-writer seemed “almost a provocation.”
When Fedeli was appointed Education Minister last December, the Italian pro-family group Generazione Famiglia called the decision a “declaration of war” against the traditional family and the right of children to have a mother and a father.
In recent years, Fedeli has been “undoubtedly the most tenacious and ideological supporter of the manipulation of school programs at every level according to the dictates of gender theories,” the organization declared.
Last month, Fedeli came out publicly against the organizers of “Family Day” for their opposition to the use of gender theory in the nation’s schools.
The bizarre thing is the Pope’s longstanding hostility toward what he terms “gender ideology,” which he deems part of the “global war” to destroy marriage.
Last fall, Francis said that today we are witnessing a “global war to destroy marriage” in which gender theory places a key role, fighting “not with weapons, but with ideas.”
The Pope has in fact been an outspoken critic of LGBT agitators’ efforts to impose same-sex marriage and theories of gender fluidity that divorce gender from biological sexual differences.
Earlier last year, Francis published a lengthy teaching text on marriage and the family called The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia), in which he underscored the unique value of both motherhood and fatherhood, while denouncing the “legal deconstruction of the family” through the acceptance of same-sex marriage.
In that same letter, Francis slammed 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.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome