Pontifical council for the family: Gender, the controversy

Publié le 31 Aug, 2011
In order to answer the questions raised by the introduction of the theory of the gender in the biology manuals of grades 1, the Pontifical council for the family published, on 12th September 2011, a book gathering the analyses of 7 experts. Called Gender, la controverse, it gathers the articles published on the theme in 2005 in the Lexique des termes ambigus et controversés sur la famille, la vie et les questions éthiques (Lexicon of ambiguous and controversial terms on the family, life and ethical questions). A solid summary preface by Tony Anatrella, priest and psychoanalyst, introduces it.


According to him, the theory of the gender, according which the masculine and feminine genders represent only social constructions different from the biological sex, asserts a certain number of harmful confusions for the individual and the society. This ideology, which presents insidiously as liberating and indiscriminate, is in fact a real Trojan horse for the radical feminist and homosexual claims in order to challenge the essential paradigms of the couple, marriage, parentage and man/woman relationship of the social order.


This way, by mixing up sexual identity and social role, it denies the personal identity of the subject. This one develops from the psychic internalization of the sexed body in a system of representation specific to the subject and in a second one which falls within the culture.


This sexual identity cannot be mixed up with the different sexual orientations or desires which can be present in a subject (homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality, …) without a psychic work to assess the meaning and the pertinence, these orientations “are only non settled intra-psychical complexes of the human sexuality and which are not intended to be a source of social link or educative reference“.


Regarding psychic bisexuality, earlier state of the human sexuality which allows the child to identify to the other sex to internalize the meaning of the sexual difference and to be able to come into intimate relationship with the other sex, does not mean that we have both sexes. We only participate to humanity by being a man or a woman. Based on the psychic bisexuality, “the ideology of the gender is above all the symptom of the contemporaneous affective and sexual immaturity which can be checked in a certain social and political infantilism“.


He reminds, by distinguishing them, that all the forms of sentimental attachment are not the same and do not meet the conditions necessary to the formation of a couple. Then we cannot recognise the homosexual marriage without serious social consequences: “When the society is in the denial of sexual difference which is one of the fundamental laws of its organisation, it has the risk to destabilise its complete edifice and all its symbolic representations“. Also it undermines the foundations of the filiation and makes the child have the symbolic weight of the family. In a homosexual “couple“, “the child can be simply waited for extending a personal confinement believing that we can be educator because we cannot be parent“. By citing the document of the Congregation for the doctrine of the law called Considerations regarding projects of legal recognition of unions between homosexual persons, it underlines that “the legal institution of the homosexuality is unacceptable and contrary to the own interest of the common good, of the society and the maturation of people, starting with the younger.


For Jutta Burggraf, doctor in psychopedagogy and theology, we can think about a discontinuity between the biologic sex and the gender without going to the pathological: “it exists in the human person a deep unity between the physical, psychic and spiritual dimensions, an interdependence between the biological and the cultural. The behaviour is a foundation in the nature and cannot dissociate totally from it.” If there were unfair discriminations for the woman, it is not only the biological sex that is in cause but also non respectful cultural practices of the nature of the woman.
Oscar Alzamora Revoredo, chairman of the ad hoc Commission for the woman and the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, returns to the ideological foundations of the theory of the gender. Coming from the radical feminist movement, this does not aim at improving the condition of the woman, but to separate the man who is considered, in himself, as a dominator. Adrienne Rich, radical feminist, professes that “the heterosexual penetration is a rape, whatever is the contrary subjective experience“. Then the deconstruction of genders passes before all through the deconstruction of the traditional family, not only because it would convert the spouse into a slave, but also because it conditions the children so that they accept the family, the marriage and the motherhood as something natural. The deconstruction of the feminine gender also passes through the promotion of contraception and abortion.
Xavier Lacroix, professor of moral theology, reminds that the sexual difference is fundamental in the own comprehension of the filiation. Indeed it is in the meeting of two sexed persons, engaged in a relationship and an alliance to each other, that any person is biologically conceived. “To whom we can make believe that it is indifferent that she/he [the child] has with him or her an original relationship, in other words that with this man or woman she/he is linked throughout his/her history, from her/his start so that her/his own identity is involved in the link? That this link passes not only through representations, thus mentally, or through the language, but also and firstly by the being, by the physical being, would neither be indifferent.
Beatriz Vollnerr de Coles, doctor in philosophy, relates the – real – distinction between gender and biological sex to the light of Thomistic concepts of soul and body. “If I can superimpose the sex to the tangible, material and physical aspect of the human compound, and the gender to the one of the transcendence, of the form and the soul, it does not seem possible that a gender (masculine or feminine) can exist without a specific sex (masculine or feminine),” she concluded. From there, “the gender is a unique manifestation of our sex which goes beyond the body and exceeds the social environments, whereas it owes its existence to both.” Under these conditions, the gender flourishes fully the person and makes it reach a deeper bliss than the sole pleasure to follow its immediate impulses.
Angelo Scola, doctor in philosophy and in theology, starts from the difficulty to think the sexual difference and shows that all difference takes root in fact in an identity: “the category of difference tells always a unit in which persists a polarity, a duality. Not like a dialectic opposition but like opening to the other. This way, the sexual difference constitutive of the self characterizes a relationship, the one of the man and the woman, for which the other is not purely extrinsic to the self, but because of the identity-difference relation, in a way, is also for him internal.” For him, the sexual difference is thus the fundamental conditions of the opening to the other.

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