Cardinal Willem Eijk. Photo by Deborah Gyapong

Cardinal Willem Eijk says gender theory “radically contradicts the Church’s teaching” and undermines the roles of mothers and fathers

  • May 21, 2019

ROME -- Exposing the errors in gender theory is “of the utmost urgency” because it poses a threat to the Church’s moral teaching and to the proclamation of the Christian faith, said the archbishop of Utrecht.

Speaking May 16 at the Rome Life Forum, Cardinal Willem Eijk said gender theory undermines the roles of mothers, fathers and married spouses. It also impairs the biological relationship between parents and children and harms the ability to share the Church’s teachings about God as a Holy Trinity.

“Removal or alteration of the meanings of father, mother, marriage, paternity and maternity, make it difficult to announce the faith in a God in three Persons,” Eijk said.

“To undermine  the significance of the husband and wife is to undermine the  possibility of announcing this. In this way, damage is also inflicted on the analogy between the relationship between Christ and the Church on the one hand and the relationship between husband and wife on the other.”

Eijk said the teaching that a priest stands in the person of Christ and has the Church as his spouse, and therefore must be a man, is also based on this analogy. “The detachment of gender from biological sex would, of itself, make it immaterial whether the priest is male or female.”

Gender theory “radically contradicts the Church’s teaching that the place of a sexual relationship can only be between a man and woman, within matrimony, and must always be open to procreation,” the cardinal said.

“Conversely, gender theory advocates free choice of gender, irrespective of biological sex, and also accepts sexual activity at will, even outside marriage and not open to procreation. It also promotes so-called marriage between persons of the same biological sex and considers it morally acceptable for such persons to adopt children.

“It accepts extra-conjugal sexual relationships, surrogate motherhood and artificial reproduction. In addition, the reassignment of biological sex in the transsexual involves sterilization.”

Gender theory also promotes legalized abortion under the “euphemistic terms of sexual and reproductive rights,” he said.

The cardinal, who trained as a medical doctor before he became a priest, said those who experience gender dysphoria experience “great suffering,” and they should be “taken seriously.” 

They need to be offered psychological support, including psychotherapy, he said. The answer is not hormonal treatment or surgery.  

“Surgery is not the good answer to a psychological problem.”

The cardinal noted the person might not accept this help, but he said it was important to witness to his faith and on the essential aspects of gender and biological sexuality.

The cardinal traced the development of gender theory to radicalized feminism that introduced the term “gender” in the 1950s to describe the social roles of male and female, and the idea these roles have little or no connection with biological sex as determined by reproductive organs and secondary sexual characteristics. The reproductive and educational roles of mothers were viewed by radical feminists as oppressive, and the advent of artificial birth control provided a way to free women from these socially-determined roles, he said. 

He distinguished radicalized feminism from moderate feminism that has won women the right to vote, or to have bank accounts in their name.

In the West, the promotion of hyper-individualism and personal autonomy has resulted in the notion a person can chose their gender identity, the cardinal said.  For those unhappy with their biological sex — a condition called gender dysphoria — there are options for medical treatment and surgery.

“In many Western countries, basic health insurance or national health systems partially or fully reimburse the costs of these treatments and surgical operations,” Eijk said. “Education programs seek to instil awareness into children at primary school level a need to consider and choose their gender as soon as possible while they are young.”

The  Rome Life Forum was organized by Voice of the Family, a global coalition of pro-life organizations.

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