Vatican City, Jul 31, 2004 (CNA) - The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released today the “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World,” in which the Vatican proposes the Catholic alternative to radical Feminism and the “gender” ideology.
Theories of Feminism can make women regard men as “enemies to be overcome,” the CIF said in the letter.
This can “call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent in a new model of polymorphous sexuality,” the letter also says.
The 37-page letter consists of an Introduction, four Chapters and a Conclusion.
Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Secretary of the CDF, explained in an interview with Vatican Radio that the letter is “the response given to two tendencies which have become quite strong in contemporary culture.”
The first tendency focuses on women's subordination and advances the idea that women, to be truly themselves, must make themselves the opponents of men. It posits a radical competition between the sexes in which the identity and role of one are emphasized to the disadvantage of the other,” Amato said.
According to the Vatican official, the second tendency, “seeking to avoid this kind of confrontation, tends instead to deny the differences between the sexes. Physical difference, termed ‘sex’, is minimized and held to be the mere effect of social and cultural conditioning.”
“The purely cultural difference, on the other hand, termed ‘gender’, is given maximum importance. From this, the institution of the family is called into question, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and the equivalence of homosexuality and heterosexuality is asserted, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality,” the Archbishop also explained.
Responding to such tendencies, according to the CDF Secretary, the letter proposes three Biblical insights:
· Human beings are persons, men and women, equally so. They exist in a reciprocal relationship.
· The human body, marked as male or female, is called to exist in communion and mutual self-giving. For this reason, marriage is the first and fundamental dimension of this vocation.
· These original determinations, made by God he Creator - even if they have been upset and obscured by sin - can never be abolished.
Amato also explained that woman, “distinct from man, has her own charism, which has been called ‘the capacity for the other.’ (n.13) It is an intuition linked to her physical ability to give life and orients her to the growth and protection of others”.
“This is the ‘genius of women’, which allows her to acquire maturity early on, and gives her a sense of responsibility, a respect for what is concrete, as well as a significant capacity to persevere in adversity”, he added.
The Archbishop finally told Vatican Radio the need to remember two concluding words: “Rediscovery and Conversion.”
“Rediscovery of the common dignity of men and women in mutual recognition and collaboration. Conversion of both men and women to their original identity as ‘image of God,’ each according to his or her own grace”.
Read the full letter at:
In the US, the Archdiocese of Denver has made available the commentary from four female experts to the Vatican letter: www.archden.org