Unfortunately today, there is growing confusion in society about gender, to the extent that gender ideology has destroyed personal meaning throughout North America. In response to the Obama administration’s recent guidelines on the use of bathrooms by those who call themselves transgendered, Cardinal Donald Wuerl emphasized that the human body "is not extraneous, but goes to our very essence." The Cardinal added:
One of the enervating forces of our culture is the assertion that everything is up for grabs. What was once grasped as objective truth is now dismissed as mere construct, and there is a growing relativism that seeks to reconstruct the most fundamental realities.
Last year we saw a societal redefinition of marriage and family. Today, the concept of humanity itself is called into question with an aggressive "gender" ideology which holds that whether a person is male or female is not an objective reality, but is subjectively determined. Increasingly, those who do not go along with this new order are denounced and ostracized as bigoted. It is as if we all must now affirm that the world is flat lest we be condemned of discrimination.Pope Francis recently stated that, "biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated" The Holy Father's words echo last years encyclical, Laudato Si, that calls for men and women to acknowledge their bodies as a gift from God which should not be manipulated:
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.The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops responded to the administration’s guidelines saying "the Catholic Church consistently affirms the inherent dignity of each and every human person and advocates for the wellbeing of all people, particularly the most vulnerable." The bishops continued in part:
The guidance issued May 13 by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education that treats "a student's gender identity as the student's sex" is deeply disturbing. The guidance fails to address a number of important concerns and contradicts a basic understanding of human formation so well expressed by Pope Francis: that "the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created" (Amoris Laetitia [AL], no. 285).Jeffrey Mirus, Ph.D., has written extensively on the issue of gender ideology from the Catholic perspective. Dr. Mirus observes, "It is difficult to imagine any presentation which could better illustrate the total confusion of our culture’s concepts of personal identity and personal fulfillment, a confusion which flows from a complete misunderstanding of what it means to be human." Here are the published installments of his discussion of gender theory.
"Gender ideology and our fatal empire of desire"
"Gender Ideology 2: Personal disorder and personal sin"
"Gender Ideology 3: The value of personal relationships"
"Gender Ideology 4: The scourge of our inner life"
[Update June 17, 2016, 12:00 PM]
"Gender Ideology 5: Subversion of the social order"
"Gender Ideology 6: The common denominator of chastity"
Additional Thoughts from the Catechism
355: God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.
364: The human body shares in the dignity of "the image of God": it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit.
369: Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. "Being man" or "being woman" is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator. Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity "in the image of God". In their "being-man" and "being-woman", they reflect the Creator's wisdom and goodness.
370: In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective "perfections" of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband.
See Catechism of the Catholic Church (¶ 355-370).