Laudato si’ – It is not healthy “to cancel out sexual difference”

The other day Stream.org posted a piece about 11 good things in the Pope’s new encyclical, Laudato si’, which you will not see covered by the MSM.  I’m going through some of them.

The following is a paragraph that I knew about well-before the encyclical was released.   I had mentioned it in a couple posts, saying, pay attention to this one when the document comes out (no pun intended).

(2) Human ecology means recognizing and valuing the difference between masculinity and femininity:

(155) Human ecology also implies another profound reality: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of an “ecology of man,”[We can also speak of “natural law” as “human ecology”… if using “natural law” in your discussions puts off your interlocutors (because they don’t know what it is or they have been conditioned by liberals to reject it because it sounds oppressive, speak of “human ecology”.] based on the fact that “man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will.” It is enough to recognize that our body itself establishes us in a direct relationship with the environment and with other living beings. The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation. Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. [This is where the Pope will lose a bunch of our brothers and sisters out there…] Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment.  because it no longer knows how to confront it.”  [Trying to blur differences between male and female, is not healthy.]

Another good moment in the encyclical!

This paragraph puts a pin into the balloon of “gender theory”.

Also, remember, “gender” is a linguistic concept.  “Sex” is biological.

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20 Responses to Laudato si’ – It is not healthy “to cancel out sexual difference”

  1. The Masked Chicken says:

    I know I’m being a grammar Nazi, but the paragraph does not agree in person.

    “Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment. because it no longer knows how to confront it.”

    should read:

    “Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if one is going to be able to recognize oneself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way one can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment. because it no longer knows how to confront it.”

    As for the content, I have no idea what that last hanging clause means. I assume it was a problem in cutting and pasting. The original reads:

    “It is not a healthy attitude which would seek “to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.”

    That sentence might better written, however, “to cancel out sexual difference(s) because it [the attitude?, the person?, what?] no longer knows how to confront them.”

    In addition, what does, “in an encounter with someone who is different,” mean? I can encounter people in different ways and sexuality does not, always, play a part. For instance, I could encounter another person in a math chat room (not that they exist) who is different than I in terms of approaches to a problem and, then, why should I care if they male or female. I am looking at the math they produce. They might be different in weight. John weights 120 pounds and Fred weights 250 pounds. They encounter each other. John is different than Fred, with respect to weight, and each have their own, unique problems. If the document meant to talk about encountering someone who is different, sexual, then they should have been more specific and clear. Yes, there are differences in male and female thought patterns, on the average, but they really have little effect on impersonal things, like giving a weather forecast.

    All in all, while the paragraph says we should respect biological differences, it says it in a very muddled way. I will not have time to read the entire encyclical in detail for a few weeks, as I am preparing for a conference, but at least this passage seems to be not so much profound as poorly written.

    Don’t they have any editors at the Vatican?

    The Chicken

  2. Supertradmum says:

    Thanks, Father, and I am almost finished with reading it. It is very much like some things the Pope Emeritus said and wrote, and when I am reading it , I am wondering if he was a “ghost writer”? I have been told by someone who would know in Europe, that the Pope Emeritus gave Francis copious notes for this encyclical. If people recall, Benedict did intend to write an environmental encyclical, and he himself, in Caritatis in veritate, used the term “redistribution”.

    Obviously, on this point, as in the past, Francis is against the bending of gender differences and I have always believed he would come out against ssm or civil marriage.

  3. Bender says:

    This paragraph puts a pin into the balloon of “gender theory”.
    ___________

    Sorry, Father. More like it tosses a bone to the dog. That and the one on abortion. Reading them in the context of the whole, they sound really out of place and like they were added simply to try to appease.

    Fr. Z's Sour Grapes Award

    [Of course, you’ve read the document.]

  4. Bosco says:

    Granted there are sentences in this encyclical which are consonant with the Deposit of Faith. There are other counsels which are at best problematic insofar as Catholic orthodoxy and the Social Kingship of Christ are concerned and, in point of fact, the Holy Name of ‘Jesus’ gets barely a mention.

    The irony is that many have reached the point where any utterance by Francis not at odds with Church Doctrine is a surprise.

    After he meets and greets with Obama and addresses the UN this September I feel certain that Francis’ Nobel Peace Prize come the time this October Synod is in full swing.

    I pray for Francis every day (and the Pope Emeritus too). I pray for Discernment in these times of diabolical disorientation, and pray the rosary every day.

  5. Bosco says:

    “…Francis’ Nobel Peace Prize will be assured come the time that this year’s October Synod is in full swing…”

    Sorry for the earlier typo. Even Homer nods.

  6. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    One of those all-too-common (in my experience) ‘things’ seems to have happened to the first clause of the last sentence: “It is not a healthy attitude which would seek ‘to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it’ ”. (Footnote [121] for the quoted words leads to ” Catechesis (15 April 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 16 April 2015, p. 8″ with ‘Catechesis’ handily linking the full General Audience text.)

  7. Like white Rachel Dolezal calling herself “black” and male Bruce Jenner calling himself “female”, a society cannot be forced to accept these lies. We are too politically correct to call Bruce Jenner a liar out of fear of being “intolerant.” Thankfully, as a Church we have remained steadfast to call abortion a crime. However, our modern society and our Church has jumped onto the PC bandwagon out of fear of being labeled “intolerant.” When these new “transgender” lies become acceptable, a new chapter of absurdity is opened, leaving everything wide open for acceptance – and not accepted, including being Christian in a modern world. There is only one end to political correctness – passing from “tolerance” to tyranny.

  8. servusfidelis says:

    Well now that we are being charged with ecological sins should we examine our consciences to count the number of times etc.? Also, are they venial or mortal sins . . . it seems uncertain. This would put a whole new twist on Confession: I have sinned by swatting a fly, drinking from a plastic bottle, riding in a fossil-fueled car and not gathering my leftovers from every meal to be delivered to the unfortunate. Do these take precedence over the traditional breaches of moral virtue? So many questions to be answered???

  9. Bender says:

    Of course, you’ve read the document

    Yes Father. Once comprehensively, with red pen and notations in the margin, taking care to consider each and every word. And twice more in review. And I will be re-reading and reviewing it many times more.

    I will say that chapters 2, 4, 6 and parts of 3 are mostly good. Not great — Popes John Paul II and Benedict said it better. But those truly theological and pastoral sections are fairly good and solid. One egregious exception is the statement in paragraph 203 that freedom comes from economic and financial power. This is sloppy and reckless at best. Are we now to dismiss that Jesus said that it is truth that makes us free?

    It is parts 1 and 5, the ones nearly devoid of any Christian thought, much less definitively Catholic, that are the problem. They are almost entirely secular in perspective, if not ideological. They should not have been included in any encyclical. And it is troubling that the word “Jesus” does not make its first appearance until paragraph 82. Not to mention the overall divisive tone that demonizes and, in the midst of calling for dialogue, poisons the well against it. [Ahhhh yes… that transition moment between 60 and 61. Whiplash.]

  10. Charles E Flynn says:

    From Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: It Is Starkly, Nakedly False That Sex Change Is Possible, by Paul McHugh, for CNS News:

    When “the tumult and shouting dies,” it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers.

  11. PA mom says:

    Absit- Actually, our local newspaper online forum had a discussion for several days during which the point was made repeatedly by myself and others that Jenner is still a man. Several men said that they will not be bullied into calling him a woman and by what right should the liberals try to force them to do it?

    I think we just have to be diligent in looking for the strongest arguments (both factually and in tone), and then be persistent in placing them into the public arena. The prolife message won hearts with truth and charity and so can these other challenges, but many people are only presented with a single side which writes it as if it is unimpeachable. Settled science. Or that it can’t be known by science either way and who does it hurt to let them try.

    There are many Catholics and, as a whole, we have got to try a bit harder on this.

  12. Sacred1 says:

    The main stream media and the overall dominant culture’s response has been predictable but especially disappointing. At least conservative writers are pausing to reflect on how the encyclical challenges their worldview; Republican politicians are being challenged. Yet, left-leaning writers won’t even pause to consider their justification of abortion. Not one writer I’ve seen even spares a word to reflect deeply or superficially on their values that justify abortion. While praising the need for fundamental change, they inadvertently admit that they are unwilling to make any change themselves, or to even think it might be necessary. The moral arrogance is stunning. Their closely-held views are inviolable and unassailable. The champion the Holy Father’s teachings when they are easy or are reinforcing of their own personal views.

    Seriously, not even one moment to consider one’s own deeply held values? Not even a moment to reflect on the passage about abortion? The encyclical calls for fundamental change. The document repeatedly says that every teaching in it is interrelated; their is no piecemeal approach. The left-leaning writers seem unwilling to even accept this statement as a possibility; their are unwilling to accept or consider a more compassionate worldview than their own. Change is indeed hard.

  13. Elizabeth D says:

    Progressives will ostracize other progressives who question abortion. And there is often some progressive post-abortive parent who will get hysterical if anyone tries to suggest killing their baby was not good, so questioning abortion becomes an intolerable offense against others’ feelings. In other words, to many progressives, whose ideas about right and wrong are subjective and usually based particularly on not causing suffering, it is “morally bad” to question abortion. When I used to be a pro-abortion progressive one thing I remember wondering was why they we did not believe in at least making sure abortion was not unduly painful to the fetus (baby). It seemed like that would be consistent with our thinking. For instance we did not want farm animals or baby seals to suffer. Yet this never swayed me from supporting abortion (even to the moment before birth), till I had a deeper understanding of God’s role in the creation of the new life, the equal dignity of all humans from the time of their conception, the difference between humans and animals (which I did NOT accept, and without this you cannot understand a strong distinction between how animals and humans are treated), and the human vocation to love.

    They also tend to have an ecclesiology (if it can even be called that, and they are in direct contradiction to Vatican II) that doesn’t see the hierarchical, institutional Church as necessary to the Catholic Church, and without that belief, neither do they have any real belief in the visible Church’s teaching authority, therefore they feel less internal conflict about a cafeteria approach.

  14. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The Masked Chicken: Thank the English translator. Argh. I can see that he wanted to make the translation more colloquial, but he ended up changing tons of impersonal nouns into personal verbs and participles, or turning impersonal objects into a personal one.

    Here’s my cruddy translation of the part you didn’t like:

    Also, the valueing of one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary in order to recognize oneself in an encounter with the Different. In this way, it is possible to accept joyously the specific gift of the other man or other woman, a work of God the Creator; and one is enriched reciprocally. Therefore, the attitude which tries “to cancel out the sexual difference because one does not know how to confront it with oneself” is not healthy.

  15. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I went and checked the Italian, and it looks like it’s also solidly in third person: “Anche apprezzare il proprio corpo nella sua femminilità o mascolinità è necessario per poter riconoscere sé stessi nell’incontro con l’altro diverso da sé. In tal modo è possibile accettare con gioia il dono specifico dell’altro o dell’altra, opera di Dio creatore, e arricchirsi reciprocamente. Pertanto, non è sano un atteggiamento che pretenda di «cancellare la differenza sessuale perché non sa più confrontarsi con essa»

    The sexual difference thing being referenced is an April 15 audience:

    “For example, I ask myself, if the so-called gender theory is not, at the same time, an expression of frustration and resignation, which seeks to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it.

    Here’s the Italian: “Per esempio, io mi domando, se la cosiddetta teoria del gender non sia anche espressione di una frustrazione e di una rassegnazione, che mira a cancellare la differenza sessuale perché non sa più confrontarsi con essa.”

  16. Suburbanbanshee says:

    So anyway, it is gender theory, or the expression of resignation and frustration behind it, which no longer knows how to confront sexual difference. This part does seem to be on the Pope, and his direct editors or secretaries, as an explanatory footnote isn’t explanatory enough.

    The expression in Spanish and Italian seems to be a little stronger than the translation, but I think the audience’s English translation is about as strong as it can go. You can’t always fully translate reflexives and intensifiers and stuff like that.

    (Insert disclaimer about my bad Spanish here)

  17. marcelus says:

    Suburbanbanshee says:
    21 June 2015 at 8:22 AM
    So anyway, it is gender theory, or the expression of resignation and frustration behind it, which no longer knows how to confront sexual difference. This part does seem to be on the Pope, and his direct editors or secretaries, as an explanatory footnote isn’t explanatory enough.

    He said the same in the Phillipines.

  18. Ben Kenobi says:

    “Human ecology” urgh.

    It will die a quiet death. Words are important. We use “Natural Law” for a reason because it evokes Thomas Aquainas, not Silent Spring. If we can’t even convey concepts without resorting to jargon, then we’ve lost a good deal. Words are very important, we should use the correct terms.

    That being said, the best spot of the whole encyclical here.

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