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Pope Francis Criticizes Gender Ideology; Catholic Institutions Urged to Resist Biden Administration's Title IX Changes


Pope Francis has been vocal in his criticism of gender ideology, recently calling it the "ugliest danger of our times." Cardinal Victor Fernandez, head of doctrinal orthodoxy under Pope Francis, has solidified this stance in the newly released Vatican document *Dignitas Infinita* (On Human Dignity).

The document cautions that seeking personal self-determination, as advocated by gender theory is comparable to the temptation to assume the role of God. Cardinal Fernandez argues that any sex-change intervention threatens the unique dignity bestowed upon a person from the moment of conception.

This strong stance from the Vatican underscores the Catholic Church's belief that the concept of changing one's gender is fundamentally confused and morally wrong. The Church teaches that the idea of fluid gender identities contradicts the intrinsic dignity and purpose given to each person by God.

Pope Francis Criticizes Gender Ideology; Catholic Institutions Urged to Resist Biden Administration's Title IX Changes

(Photo : WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / Alfredo Borba)

The Biden Administration's New Title IX Regulations

In contrast, the Biden administration has recently codified support for gender identity through revised Title IX rules released by the Department of Education. These new regulations interpret "sex discrimination" to include "gender identity." While the new rules postpone the issue of men participating in women's sports, they aim to eliminate single-sex private spaces such as locker rooms and bathrooms. Additionally, by defining "misgendering" as a form of sexual discrimination, the Biden administration mandates that students, faculty, and staff refer to individuals by their chosen gender pronouns under the threat of investigation and potential dismissal. These changes affect all schools receiving federal funding, including most colleges and universities.

This move by the administration represents a significant shift in how gender identity is legally recognized and protected in educational institutions. It places Catholic institutions in a difficult position, as complying with these regulations would conflict with their religious teachings and moral principles.

READ MORE: Biden Administration Updates Title IX Harassment Standards In Humanist Issue To Protect LGBTQ+ Students 

How Catholic Institutions Should Respond

Catholic colleges and universities face a dilemma. Compliance with the new Title IX regulations would directly violate Catholic moral teachings and put these institutions at odds with Pope Francis and the Vatican. St. Thomas Aquinas famously wrote, "An unjust law is no law at all," and many within the Church view Title IX's new provisions as a prime example of an unjust law.

Some Catholic institutions have preemptively sought religious exemptions from parts of Title IX. For example, the Franciscan University of Steubenville has stated that it does not need to comply with the new regulations due to existing protections. Other schools, such as Christendom College in Virginia, have opted out of federal funding entirely to avoid state interference. However, these approaches have limitations. Securing an exemption can be a lengthy and uncertain process, and opting out of federal funding is not feasible for most schools that rely on students who pay tuition with federal loans.

Catholic institutions need to take a more proactive stance. They should support states like Florida and Oklahoma, which refuse to abide by the new Title IX regulations. Additionally, they can declare their campuses as sanctuaries for those who respect biological reality, presenting themselves as unapologetically pro-woman, pro-man, and pro-freedom of conscience, even at the cost of losing federal funding.

Moreover, Catholic institutions should recognize that this issue is not just about religious freedom but also about defending rational principles. By appealing solely to religious exemptions, they risk reinforcing the notion that rejecting gender ideology is a matter of faith rather than a stance grounded in shared rationality. This perspective allows the state to redefine religious freedom and undermine the rights of all individuals, not just those within religious communities.

The Call to Action for Catholic Institutions

Pope Francis's condemnation of gender ideology calls Catholic institutions to action. They must do more than seek shelter from state overreach; they have a duty to actively oppose gender ideology wherever it is found. This opposition includes fighting against Title IX's compelled-speech provisions to ensure that no one is forced to say something they believe to be false. Catholic institutions should advocate for the protection of all individuals' legal status, not just their right to opt out of gender ideology.

Ultimately, the fight against gender ideology is about preserving human dignity and freedom of conscience. Catholic institutions must stand firm in their principles, pushing back against policies that threaten these core values. By doing so, they can uphold their mission and respond to Pope Francis's call to defend the inherent dignity of every person against modern dangers.

RELATED ARTICLE: US Department Of Education Implements Final Title IX Rules, Prompting Policy Review At CU Boulder 

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