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In New Declaration, Vatican Says Surrogacy Violates The “Dignity” Of The Mother And Child
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In New Declaration, Vatican Says Surrogacy Violates The “Dignity” Of The Mother And Child

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The Vatican condemned sex change operations and surrogacy, equating them with abortion and euthanasia. The declaration reinforces the traditional doctrine on gender and reproduction while demeaning LGBTQQIP2SA (abbreviated LGBTQ+) people’s dignity.

On Monday (April 8), the Vatican, officially known as the Vatican City State, an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy, which serves as the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, declared that sex change operations and surrogacy violated God’s plan for human life.

Highlights
  • The Vatican's "Infinite Dignity'" declaration equates surrogacy & sex change operations with abortion.
  • Pope Francis approved the 20-page document after 5 years of development.
  • The declaration rejects "gender theory," stating God created distinct biological sexes.

The Vatican’s doctrine office issued “Infinite Dignity,” a 20-page declaration that has been in the works for five years, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

After substantial revision in recent months, it was approved on March 25 by Pope Francis, who ordered its publication.

Pope Francis is the Pope and head of the Catholic Church, the bishop of Rome, and the sovereign of the Vatican City State.

The Vatican equated sex change operations and surrogacy with abortion and euthanasia

Image credits: Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty Images

In its most eagerly anticipated section, the AP stated that the Vatican repeated its rejection of “gender theory,” or the idea that one’s gender can be changed. 

Moreover, the declaration mentioned that God created man and woman as biologically different, separate beings, and it said they must not tinker with that plan or try to “make oneself God.”

A reminder that it is the scientific consensus that sex and gender are separate issues.

A person’s sex is used as a classification, generally as male or female, according to the reproductive organs and functions that derive from the chromosomal complement.

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Gender refers to a person’s self-representation as male or female (or a non-binary gender) or how that person is responded to by social institutions on the basis of the individual’s gender presentation.

A person might feel like their gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth, leading to gender dysphoria and sometimes, to identifying as transgender.

Gender-affirming medical treatments and surgeries are available globally to help a transgender person with their often life-debilitating gender dysphoria. The treatments can help a person transition from one gender to another.

Academic research has proven that gender is a Westernized concept that has spread to other civilizations through colonization

Image credits: Wikipedia

Nevertheless, the Vatican has now expressed a strong stance against these forms of treatments, which have often been considered life-saving to trans people, as the document reads: “It follows that any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception.”

According to the AP, the declaration distinguished between transitioning surgeries, which it rejected, and “genital abnormalities” that are present at birth or that develop later. Those abnormalities can be “resolved” with the help of health care professionals, it said.

It is possible that the Vatican may have been referring to people who are born intersex, individuals born with any of several sex characteristics, including chromosome patterns, gonads, or genitals that, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, “do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies.”

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Oxford Academic stated that many intersex people experience nonconsensual surgery during childhood to alter their genitalia and other anatomy. Some intersex people who have experienced nonconsensual surgery develop subsequent mistrust in medical providers and avoidance of healthcare.

Moreover, the Pope’s document has been rumored to exist since 2019, and this was confirmed in recent weeks by the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Argentine Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, a close confidante to Pope Francis, the AP reported.

The Vatican issued “Infinite Dignity,” a 20-page declaration where it repeated its rejection of “gender theory,” or the idea that one’s gender can be changed

Image credits: Simone Savoldi/Unsplash

While rejecting gender theory, the document took pointed aim at countries, including many in Africa, that criminalize homosexuality. It echoed Pope Francis’ assertion in a 2023 interview with the AP that “being homosexual is not a crime,” making the assertion now part of the Vatican’s doctrinal teaching.

Gender theory is the study of what is understood as masculine and/or feminine and/or queer behavior in any given context, community, society, or field of study (including, but not limited to, literature, history, sociology, education, applied linguistics, religion, health sciences, philosophy, cultural studies),  Allyson Jule of the Gender Studies Institute at Trinity Western University, Canada, wrote in the Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research.

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The Vatican’s new document denounced “as contrary to human dignity the fact that, in some places, not a few people are imprisoned, tortured, and even deprived of the good of life solely because of their sexual orientation.”

According to the AP, the document was something of a repackaging of previously articulated Vatican positions. It restated the well-known Catholic doctrine opposing abortion and euthanasia, and it added to the list some of the Pope’s main concerns, including the threats to human dignity posed by poverty, war, human trafficking, and forced migration.

The Pope further emphasized that surrogacy violated both the dignity of the surrogate mother and the child. 

Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to delivery/labor on behalf of another couple or person who will become the child’s parent(s) after birth.

The legal framework for surrogacy varies depending on the country. In Poland, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland, surrogacy is prohibited by law.

Nevertheless, flexible laws in other countries have reportedly led to the exploitation of impoverished women, among other ethical concerns.

However, the Vatican’s criticism of surrogacy focused on the resulting child, with the new declaration stating: “The child has the right to have a fully human (and not artificially induced) origin and to receive the gift of a life that manifests both the dignity of the giver and that of the receiver.

“Considering this, the legitimate desire to have a child cannot be transformed into a ‘right to a child’ that fails to respect the dignity of that child as the recipient of the gift of life.”

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The Vatican reportedly published its most articulated position on gender in 2019, when the Congregation for Catholic Education rejected the idea that people can choose or change their genders and insisted on the complementarity of biologically male and female sex organs to create new life.

The Vatican is against surrogacy because it believes children have “the right to have a fully human (and not artificially induced) origin” 

Image credits: Pexels

It called gender fluidity a symptom of the “confused concept of freedom” and “momentary desires” that characterize post-modern culture, the AP reported.

The new declaration comes from the more authoritative Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, quoted from the 2019 education document while tempering the tone.

As a result, the new document didn’t repurpose the 1986 language of a previous doctrinal document saying that homosexual people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect but that homosexual actions are “intrinsically disordered.”

Pope Francis’ stance on LGBTQ+ issues has been divergent, as throughout his papacy, the 87-year-old sovereign has ministered to trans-Catholics and insisted that the Catholic Church must welcome all children of God.

However, the Argentinan native has denounced gender theory as the “worst danger” facing humanity today, saying it is an “ugly ideology” that threatens to cancel out God-given differences between man and woman. 

The AP reported that the Pope blasted, in particular, what he called the “ideological colonization” of the West in the developing world, where development aid is sometimes conditioned on adopting Western ideas about gender and reproductive health.

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The new declaration further read: “It needs to be emphasized that biological sex and the sociocultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated.”

The notion that gender and sex are separate entities is not, in fact, a Westernized ideology. On the contrary, academic research has proven that gender is a Westernized concept that has been forced upon other civilizations through colonization.

Oyeronke Oyewumi has exemplified this through her The Invention of Women book, which studied the Yoruba people of West Africa, who do not use a vocabulary to distinguish people by their gender but rather by their ages and status in their tribe.

Other examples include Indigenous societies around the globe that still retain their own long-established traditions for third, fourth, fifth, or more genders.

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amcgregor7419 avatar
Tams21
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

After the shocking scandals of the catholic church they have zero moral authority over anyone.

suuspuusje avatar
Susie Elle
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Some would say sexual relations with minors is also a threat to human dignity, but I guess that's none of my business.

mariannekraus avatar
Marianne
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Interesting, how a sex change operation is an insult to the dignity of a human that was created just like God wants them to be; and then surgeries on "genital abnormities" are totally ok. How can the church claim that God knows only 2 genders and then dismiss intersex people as a "mistake"? I'm a Christian person and I wouldn't dare to decide what God claims to be normal or not. I do believe that God loves every person, no matter if straight or queer and wants us to be happy.

tabbygirl04152020 avatar
Tabitha
Community Member
1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I’m not religious, but even I know his son was certainly very accepting of those whom society rejected, so I would hope he got some of that quality from his dad.

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amcgregor7419 avatar
Tams21
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

After the shocking scandals of the catholic church they have zero moral authority over anyone.

suuspuusje avatar
Susie Elle
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Some would say sexual relations with minors is also a threat to human dignity, but I guess that's none of my business.

mariannekraus avatar
Marianne
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Interesting, how a sex change operation is an insult to the dignity of a human that was created just like God wants them to be; and then surgeries on "genital abnormities" are totally ok. How can the church claim that God knows only 2 genders and then dismiss intersex people as a "mistake"? I'm a Christian person and I wouldn't dare to decide what God claims to be normal or not. I do believe that God loves every person, no matter if straight or queer and wants us to be happy.

tabbygirl04152020 avatar
Tabitha
Community Member
1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I’m not religious, but even I know his son was certainly very accepting of those whom society rejected, so I would hope he got some of that quality from his dad.

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