[Read Part 1]
Two events within 72 hours last week demonstrate the Catholic Church’s rapid capitulation to gender ideology — and its ensuing journey toward theological and moral bankruptcy.
On March 10, German bishops who will participate in an upcoming international synod overwhelmingly adopted a resolution to allow blessing same-sex unions in their own dioceses, and encouraged their fellow German bishops to imitate them. Of the assembly’s 202 bishops, 176 approved the resolution, 14 opposed it and 12 abstained.
The resolution directly challenges papal authority. In 2021, as FrontPage Magazine reported, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s highest theological body, ruled against a similar request from the same bishops. The CDF concluded that the church had no authority to bless same-sex unions, since both Scripture and the Catholic catechism considered them sinful.
Pope Francis supported that decision. He even described gender theory as “one of the most dangerous forms of ideological colonization,” in an interview March 10 with the Argentine daily La Nacion.
However, one of Francis’ recent appointments shows that the pope probably has no interest in pressing the issue.
On March 7, as FrontPage Magazine reported, Francis appointed Luxembourg Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, a fellow Jesuit, to the pope’s group of close advisors, the Council of Cardinals. Hollerich rejects historic teaching that defines homosexual behavior as sinful, as he said last year in an interview with a German Catholic news agency.
“I believe that this is wrong,” Hollerich said. “But I also believe that we are thinking ahead here in teaching. As the Pope has said in the past, this can lead to a doctrinal change. Because I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this doctrine is no longer correct. I believe that it is time for us to make a fundamental revision of doctrine.” (Emphasis added)
Note well those italicized words. They indicate the pope’s true attitude toward gender theory. They also express the pope’s ultimate strategy: doctrinal change through theological osmosis, history and revelation be damned.
Should Hollerich, the German bishops and their allies succeed, the Catholic Church not only will devastate its theological credibility. It will land squarely on the side of LGBTQ activists who demand that children be exposed to their all-encompassing ideology, especially concerning transgender identity, regardless of parental concerns.
That possibility is frightening, given the Catholic Church’s pathetic record on clerical sex abuse.
FrontPage Magazine explored the issue in depth in “The Catholic Church’s LGBTQ Odyssey” recently and “The Catholic Church: Crossroads on Same-Sex Marriage” in December. Several points from those stories prove salient.
First, the catechism, following biblical injunctions, condemns homosexual behavior: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. … Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
In the Bible, Leviticus listed homosexuality among other sexual behaviors considered “detestable.” Jesus defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Paul, a former Pharisee, described homosexual acts as “shameful” and practicing homosexuals as unable to “inherit the Kingdom of God.”
Second, despite his public rhetoric, Francis promotes figures who endorse homosexuality and the LGBTQ agenda. One is the Rev. James Martin, a fellow Jesuit who serves as one of the pope’s communications advisors. Martin routinely uses his influence, especially on social media, to advocate gender theory. Another is Cardinal Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who commissioned a homoerotic painting for his cathedral.
The problems go far beyond theology or personnel. Martin used Twitter in 2021 to oppose a pastoral letter from Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Va. that condemned gender ideology.
“The worst kind of marginalization, the worst kind of discrimination and the worst kind of hatred is to claim that someone doesn’t exist,” Martin tweeted. ‘No one “is” transgender,’ says the Diocese of Arlington. Transgender people exist and are beloved children of God.”
In February 2022, Martin tweeted opposition to a legal opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who stated that hormone treatments and sex-change surgeries constituted child abuse under state law. But instead of disagreeing openly, Martin hid behind opposition from the Texas Pediatric Society. The next month, Martin used the same technique by posting an article from the Idaho Statesman to express opposition to a proposed state law banning sex-change surgeries for children.
If Francis believes gender theory is “ideological colonization,” why is Martin still a papal advisor?
Paglia went even farther. As president of the Pontifical Council for the Family in 2016, he approved a sex-education program for teens that Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, a Catholic psychiatrist, called “the most dangerous threat to Catholic youth that I have seen over the past 40 years.”
Consider Fitzgibbons’ ensuing comments in light of the increasing number of drag shows for children.
“In a culture in which youth are bombarded by pornography, I was particularly shocked by the images contained in this new sex education program, some of which are clearly pornographic,” Fitzgibbons wrote. “My immediate professional reaction was that this obscene or pornographic approach abuses youth psychologically and spiritually.
“As a professional who has treated both priest perpetrators and the victims of the abuse crisis in the Church, what I found particularly troubling was that the pornographic images in this program are similar to those used by adult sexual predators of adolescents.”
Nevertheless, when the council disbanded, Francis moved Paglia to his current position.
Not all Catholics want to go gently into that dark night of catastrophe. German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former head of the CDF, called Hollerich and his fellow prelates to account last year for supporting LGBTQ ideology.
Müller described gender theory as “totally idiotic because its Neo-Gnostic mythology is absolutely against human nature, not only in a biological sense, but also in a philosophical one,” he told the National Catholic Register. The cardinal added that blessing same-sex unions was “absolutely a blasphemy” because it represents a “negation of the constitution of human beings as man and woman, and there can be no blessing,” he said.
Müller also called activists committed to doctrinal revisionism “materialists” who “want to keep the name ‘Catholic,’ to stay in the institution and take the money, but they won’t accept the teaching of the word of God,” he said.
For Hollerich, the word of God matters less than the spirit of the age.
“We have to position ourselves in a completely different way,” he said. “We have a great change in civilization. We are in Year Zero of the digital age. And this will have such serious changes that we will perish if we do not position ourselves differently. We cannot give the answers of the past to the questions of tomorrow.
“The change in civilization we are experiencing today is the biggest change since the invention of the wheel. The Church has always moved with the times and has always adapted. Today we have to be faster. Otherwise, we lose touch and can no longer be understood.”
But in revising inspired doctrine to do so, the Catholic Church risks destroying itself.