Pope Francis has said that what he calls gender theory – “that everyone can choose their own sex" – is “the exact opposite" of God’s creation.
In a meeting with Polish bishops during World Youth Day, whose transcript was released yesterday by the Vatican, the Pope said there were powerful institutions which funded the spread of “gender theory" in schools.
The Pope also said he had discussed the subject with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who told his successor: “Your Holiness, we are living in an age of sin against God the Creator."
Pope Francis said this sin was often given financial backing by “very influential countries": a form of “ideological colonisation", the Pope said, which is “terrible."
The Pope said that one example – “I’ll say it clearly with its first and last name – is gender."
Francis told the Polish bishops: “Today, children are taught this at school: that everyone can choose their own sex. And why do they teach this? Because the books come from those people and institutions who give money," he said.
“God created man and woman; God created the world like this and we are doing the exact opposite."
The Pope connected gender theory with the exploitation of human beings and of the natural world. He suggested that both came from a lack of appreciation of humankind’s God-given dignity. “It is a global problem: the exploitation of creation and the exploitation of people. We are living at a time when humankind as the image of God is being annihilated," the Pope said.
He said that this exploitation led to wars and poverty, and so in turn to the refugee crisis.
In his encyclical Laudato Si, the Pope similarly connected economic exploitation with “gender theory". He criticised the desire to :cancel out sexual difference", saying: “thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation".
The Pope’s comments on exploitation came after a question from Auxiliary Bishop Krzysztof Zadarko of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg, who asked how to help the many migrants coming to Europe, and to address “the fear of a possible invasion or aggression that has paralyzed society."
Pope Francis said that each government’s response would have to depend “on the situation of every country and culture." But he said everyone must “have an open heart ready to receive … This is absolute!"
At World Youth Day last week, the Pope urged Poland “to welcome those fleeing from wars and hunger", remarks seen as challenging a country where there is strong public opposition to mass migration.
In the meeting, Pope Francis answered questions from four bishops, the first from Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski of Lodz who asked the pope what how the Church could respond to “atheist-liberal contemporary culture."
Francis warned of a “subjective spirituality without Christ" and said that, to bring Christ to people, bishops and priests must be close to the people.
He gave the example of Pope St John Paul II, who as a priest in Poland would go on trips with the university students in his care, taking them to the mountains and playing sport. He would listen to them, he was with the young people," Francis said.