The Vatican recently released a statement criticizing the culture of gender fluidity and reaffirming a Biblical view of biological sex. The official statement, titled “Male and Female He Created Them,” maintains gender fluidity is “often founded on nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants, or momentary desires provoked by emotional impulses and the will of the individual, as opposed to anything based on the truths of existence.”
While emphasizing the need of listening to others respectfully and avoiding discrimination in matters of gender identity, the statement maintains that “the Holy Scriptures reveals the wisdom of the Creator’s design, which has assigned as a task to man his body, as masculinity and femininity.” The statement warns that the acceptance of flexible ideas regarding concepts of gender threaten to “destabilize the family as an institution” while in the process ignoring the natural, God-given differences between men and women.
It warns against “calls for public recognition of the right to choose one’s gender, and of a plurality of new types of unions, in direct contradiction of the model of marriage as being between one man and one woman, which is portrayed as a vestige of patriarchal societies.”
The statement declares an educational crisis, especially in the field of affectivity and sexuality. The actual process of identifying sexual identity has been made more difficult by the “fictitious (construct) known as ‘gender neuter’ or ‘third gender.'” The ideas of “intersex” or “transgender” has lead to a masculinity or femininity that is ambiguous. This represents a “provocative display” against so-called “traditional frameworks.”
As I read accounts of the statement from the Vatican, I couldn’t help but think of Paul words in Eph. 4:14, “Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.” “Changing minds” has been going on for 2000 years. But God’s truth remains the same. “The grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever” (Is. 40:8).
Men, we must always hold fast to ultimate reality as existing from all eternity – God existing as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This reality is a relational God, who has communicated his truth and love to us in Jesus Christ. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…..full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus was affirming relational reality when he said, “Haven’t you read the Scriptures? They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female'” (Matt 19:4).
So I applaud the Vatican’s statement on “Male and Female He Created Them.” They are sticking to the truth of Scripture, which always points us to ultimate reality. I reject the New York Times suggesting the statement “encourages hated, bigotry, and violence” against transgender people.
As men who are fathers and grandfathers we need to be vigilant regarding “Gender Fluidity.” Again we are challenged as men to become secure in our own sense of masculinity and to be comfortable in articulating our story of faith as a man. We need to be loving and open to dialogue with those who question and struggle with their gender identity.
Further, the statement from the Vatican makes clear the implications of “Gender Fluidity.” At stake is the very institution of marriage and the family. We each can do our part in this epic struggle that will continue to play itself out in our society, by standing in the strength of the Lord as a man of God.