Since I wrote earlier on paragraph 40 of the Aparecida document on the ideology of gender, I came across an essay of Carlos Ayala Ramírez, a theologian and the director of YSUCA, the radio station of the Central American University (UCA) in San Salvador, El Salvador.
He has a pointed critique of this whole paragraph in an essay “Laicos, Mujeres y Jóvenes en Aparecida,” which appears in a monograph of the Central American University’s Centro Monseñor Romero:
He notes that this paragraph does not do justice to gender theory which cannot be reduced to a theory of sexual orientation which undermines the family and the sexual identification of men and women.
“… the theory of gender – with its different tendencies – is, in principle, a critical approach to the patriarchal structure. This structure has made what is historical pass as something natural….
“The theory of gender has dismantled this vision, proposing that being man or woman (and their respective roles) is a socio-historical construction. Therefore, inequity, marginalization and submission of those who are victims – women – are not inevitable, they are not eternal; they can and should be transformed. In that sense, the theory if gender has, in its first instance, a character which liberates from the varied forms of discrimination which women suffer. It has contributed to promote equity between men and women, to value the feminine as an essential dimension of humanity, to be conscious of the social economic, juridical, political, and cultural exclusion in which women find themselves. To not recognize this contribution is a grave omission. Distorting it or misinterpreting it can be the product of ignorance.”
I would suggest that this paragraph in Aparecida reflects the view of Pope Benedict XVI on gender theory and, sadly, caricatures this important intellectual theory.
Paragraphs 48 -50 as well as paragraph 451 – 458 offer a different vision of women. The latter paragraph speak of the dignity and participation of women.