56. Yet another challenge is posed by the various forms of an ideology of gender that “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family. This ideology leads to educational programs and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time”. (Relatio Finalis 2015, 8)
This citation from the synod bishops strikes me as something of an exaggeration of the situation. Individual persons have an experience of life based on their biological reality. Personal history also colors attitudes. And in our culture, the worship of celebrity (not unknown in the Church) creates personalities from persons and sometimes the attention-getters/seekers get more press than perhaps they should.
My reading of the LGBTQ vector is that many people are simply seeking equilibrium with what their God-given human identity is.
It is a source of concern that some ideologies of this sort, which seek to respond to what are at times understandable aspirations, manage to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised.
Raising children is very much a part of the concern. In the past we might have had more of the decisions in infancy to “spare” children who deviated from the male-female norm. It might be that the pendulum has swung. It might also be that celebrities attract followers, and some people are identifying LGBTQ from a sense of fashion rather than biology.
It needs to be emphasized that “biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated”. (Relatio Finalis 2015, 58) On the other hand, “the technological revolution in the field of human procreation has introduced the ability to manipulate the reproductive act, making it independent of the sexual relationship between a man and a woman. In this way, human life and parenthood have become modular and separable realities, subject mainly to the wishes of individuals or couples”. (Relatio Finalis 2015, 33)
The perception of the Church’s stance as extreme hasn’t helped our need top contribute tot he ethics, if not morality of these situations. We certainly know a lot more about human biology. And various impulses: curiosity, necessity, greed, etc., come into play when we are dealing with the transmission of life.
It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality.
And yet male or female is not a biological reality. And for those who have indulged personal choice as a means of denial or fashion or curiosity do not hear the Church’s wisdom on authentic freedom. We have sidelined ourselves from the cultural discussion.
Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.
For your reference, Amoris Laetitia is online here.