By PAUL LIKOUDIS
On the Feast of the Holy Family, Catholics in Poland were read a pastoral letter by the country’s bishops condemning “gender ideology,” and warning that its imposition in schools, health services, cultural institutions, and non-governmental organizations threatens family life, the nation, and all humanity.
“Gender ideology,” the bishops wrote in the letter titled The Dangers Stemming From Gender Ideology, “is strongly rooted in Marxism and neo-Marxism, promoted by some feminist movements and the sexual revolution. Gender ideology promotes rules which are completely contradictory with reality and an integral understanding of human nature. . . .
“According to this ideology,” the bishops stated, “the human being can define himself or herself freely: whether he or she is a woman or a man, he or she can also freely choose his/her own sexual orientation. It is a free self-definition which does not have to be something temporary, and leads to a situation in which the society would accept the right to set up a new type of families, for example, the ones built on relationships of a homosexual character.”
On the contrary, as Pope John Paul II taught, “the truth about the institution of marriage is ‘beyond the will of individuals, the whims of particular married couples, decisions of social and governmental organisms’. . . .
“This Christian vision,” the bishops said, “is not a kind of arbitrarily imposed norm, but it results from understanding the nature of the human being, the nature of marriage and the family. Rejecting this vision leads inevitably to the collapse of families and to the defeat of man. As the history of humankind shows, neglecting the Creator is always dangerous and is a danger for the future happiness of man and the world. So, any attempts of redefining the terms of marriage and the family which are imposed by some media at present, surely raise a lot of anxiety.”
“The danger of the gender ideology,” the bishops continued, “results basically from its deeply destructive character, both toward the person and inter-human relationships, that is, the whole social life. The man of an uncertain sexual identity is not able to discover fully — and fulfill — the tasks he is facing both in marital and family life and his social-professional life. The attempt of equalization of this kind of relations is, in fact, a serious weakness of marriage as a community of a man and a woman and the family, built on marriage.”
Most Poles, the bishops admitted, are not aware of how gender ideology is being imposed on them and the nation by the media and various educational, cultural, and government leaders, as it is presented “in a positive way: as counteracting violence and aiming at equal rights.”
“The community of the Church,” they continued, “is looking at the human being and his/her sex in an integral way, perceiving the corporal and biological dimension in it, as well as psychical and cultural and spiritual dimension.
“It is not unsuitable to do studies on the influence of culture on the sex,” they added. “But it is dangerous to make an ideological statement that the biological sex is not essential for the social life….
“On the Day of the Holy Family, we address a fervent appeal to Christian families, representatives of religious movements and church associations and all people of goodwill, to undertake actions courageously which will serve to spreading the truth about marriage and the family.”
In their letter, the bishops also warned the people that the “gender ideology” being imposed on them was backed by “financial interests” “which in the name of modern upbringing do experiments on children and the youth.”
The bishops’ war on gender ideology, wrote Hanna Kozlowska for Foreign Policy, January 10, “serves as something of a diversionary tactic in dealing with an explosive problem that the Church has yet to confront: the sexual abuse of children.”
Kozlowska added: “The debate has gotten so much traction that a group of prominent linguists declared the word ‘gender’ the word of the year in Poland. The country is one of the few remaining stalwarts of Catholicism in Europe. But disillusionment with the Church is spreading even to diehard Catholic Poland.
“The number of churchgoing Catholics has been waning — from 48 percent in 2000 to 41 percent in 2010 (with 87 percent of the population self-identifying as Catholic, according to measurements carried out in the 2011 census).
“Reminiscent of Russia’s controversial anti-gay propaganda laws, the committee wants to crack down on public funding for programs that it believes promote ‘gender ideology’ — especially in educational institutions….In its attack on this ideology, the Polish Church now argues that just about every hot-button social issue is a result of this troubling ideology, including gay marriage, sex change, abortion, non-traditional family models, artificial insemination, and contraception.”
But, Kozlowska added, the Polish bishops “are not alone in their fight. On Wednesday [January 8], 16 Polish MPs from the ultraconservative United Poland party — 15 men and one woman — formed a ‘Stop gender ideology’ parliamentary committee. The body aims to fight the ‘negative impact of gender ideology on the Polish family and the education of the youth,’ according to the committee’s head, initiator, and only female member, MP Beata Kempa.”
Agence France-Presse reported January 1 that the committee members “have assigned themselves the task of ‘protecting nursery school children against a sexualization [introduced] under the guise of classes on gender equality’ that were co-funded by the European Union and other international organizations.”
The AFP report stated in its lede that the bishops’ pastoral “is a tactic to shift attention away from a pedophile priest scandal,” but also noted that the Polish bishops were “inspired” by “Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks in late 2012 about ‘falseness’ of gender theory.”
The New Herods
On December 29, Bishop Kazimierz Ryczan of Kielce, in a separate pastoral letter to members of his flock, declared that “gender ideology” is the “contemporary Herod” that aims to destroy the family.
In the face of the assaults on the family, Bishop Ryczan wrote, “the Church has a duty to unveil the lies, hypocrisy, and bad intentions of a theory contradictory to common sense and which destroys the values lying at the base of the culture of Europe, an intention to build a new order on the fundamentals of sexes and sex.”
The imposition of “gender ideology” on predominantly Catholic Slovakia was also mentioned by Bishop Ryczan in his letter.
“The bishops of Slovakia,” he told his flock, “in a letter for Advent write: ‘They want to persuade us to think that no one of us is a woman or a man by nature; they want to deprive a man of a right to his identity as a man, and a woman of a right to her identity as a woman and family of its right to identity as family. They want to impose a relationship of two men or two women on the equal level with marriage’. . . .
“In Silesia,” Bishop Ryczan continued, “three children were removed from a kindergarten, whose parents did not agree on a sex education program in kindergarten, on dressing boys as girls and girls as boys.
“It is not only a theory,” the bishop continued. “A journalist of Gazeta Wyborcza, Mrs. Ewa Siedlecka, writes that parents do not have a ‘legal and moral monopoly to form the worldview of a child’.”
Gender ideology, the bishop continued, “is not only a theory. It is the beginning of a fight. On December 5 at the Economics University in Poznan, during a lecture entitled ‘Gender: devastation of the man and family,’ feminists and gender ideologists entered an auditorium in order to disrupt the lecture. A young man wearing a golden dress jumped onto a desk, shouting: ‘We invite everyone to celebrate the collapse of family’.”
In a commentary on the Polish bishops’ pastoral published in Niedziela (Sunday Catholic Weekly), Fr. Dariusz Oko observed that the coordinated global campaign against the Church — equating the priesthood with pedophilia — is designed to humiliate the Church because it is the last obstacle standing in the way of the complete sexualization of youth by sexually depraved persons.
Fr. Oko wrote that he saw the “real face of gender ideology” while he was studying in Germany for seven years, and, again, last year.
He wrote: “During the last electoral campaign to Bundestag, I was in Germany again and I observed the losses of the Green Party due to its leftist and gender programs. The Germans realized that the Green’s program included the legalization of pedophilia, which was a special aim of homosexual lobby. Moreover, the cases of pedophilia in educational institutions which were committed by activists of this party, came out in the press. Their management board had to explain it and apologize. In addition, the Green Party started speaking about a necessity of legalizing incest ‘for a sake of balance.’
“The hard core of gender programs,” Fr. Oko continued, “includes sexualization among children from the time they are an infant. Masturbation is to be taught at the age of four, and intercourse with another person is to be taught not later than at the age of 12 (that is, in the fifth year of the primary school). It is black on white in their program, and also in the directives of the World Health Organization and the European Union….
“Parents decided that both the programs had been written by pedophiles and forced the authorities to withdraw them — to the indignation of gender ideologists, who did not give in, and accused the whole society of ignorance.”
Against the slur that the Polish bishops are waging their “gender ideology” war to deflect from the pedophilia scandal, Fr. Oko pointed out that in the past ten years there were 6,000 people convicted of pedophilia in Poland, of whom 27 were priests. In his own Archdiocese of Krakow, only one priest among 2,200 was convicted. World surveys, he added, from countries including Germany and the United States, show the percentage of priests convicted of abusing minor males is less than one-tenth of one percent of all males convicted of such crimes.
The “tsunami of hatred” washing over the Church, Fr. Oko continued, is a sign of how much the Church is hated, and also a sign of how much good it is doing.