Home Christian News New Vatican Document Condemns Gender Theory, Surrogacy

New Vatican Document Condemns Gender Theory, Surrogacy

The prefect of the Vatican's Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, presents the declaration 'Dignitas Infinita' (Infinite Dignity) during a press conference at the Vatican, Monday, April 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — In a new document on human dignity issued Monday (April 8), the Vatican’s department that guides Catholic doctrine reinforced the church’s opposition to abortion, surrogacy, gender theory and any attempt to change one’s sex.

“Desiring a personal self-determination, as gender theory prescribes, apart from this fundamental truth that human life is a gift, amounts to a concession to the age-old temptation to make oneself God,” the document states.

Gender theory, the document said, “intends to deny the greatest possible difference that exists between living beings: sexual difference.” It also stated that “all attempts to obscure reference to the ineliminable sexual difference between man and woman are to be rejected.”

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The declaration, titled “Dignitas Infinita,” or “Infinite Dignity,” has been in the works at the Vatican for five years and went through several drafts and iterations before the final document was accepted by the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith and by Pope Francis, whose approval gives it the weight of official doctrine.

The title of the document is drawn from a speech delivered by Pope John Paul II to a group of disabled individuals in Germany in 1980, and the document itself was signed by Francis on the 19th anniversary of John Paul’s death, on April 2.

After a long explanation of the church’s understanding of what it calls the “inalienable and intrinsic” dignity of each human being, which it said exists from the beginning of human existence and cannot be revoked, the document quickly analyzes issues challenging human dignity today.

The declaration asserts that sex-change surgery, also known as gender-affirming surgery, “risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception.”

It also says that the church “takes a stand against the practice of surrogacy,” when a woman carries a child for another person, “through which the immensely worthy child becomes a mere object.” Children “have the right to have a fully human (and not artificially induced) origin,” the document stated, adding that “the legitimate desire to have a child cannot be transformed into a ‘right to a child’ that fails to respect the dignity of that child as the recipient of the gift of life.”

The document also underlined the church’s opposition to abortion and euthanasia, while also stressing the importance of defending the inherent dignity of people living with disabilities, the elderly and those living at the margins of society, especially the poor.

It equally condemned wars and policies that leave individuals deprived of human dignity.

The pronouncement’s positions are ones the church has long held and that Francis has often confirmed. Francis has referred to gender theory as “a form of ideological colonization” that attempts to eliminate key differences in humans, and he has excoriated its concepts as Western propaganda. The pope has called surrogacy “despicable” and damaging for women, especially those living in poverty, and Vatican representatives at the United Nations have called for a global ban of the practice.