There is no such thing as 'gender light'. The concept lowers the drawbridge and opens the gate to positions irreconcilable with the Christian faith.
The potential for motherhood orients a woman's physical existence, her hormones, her physicality, he noted, adding that this remains true even " if she lives single and remains childless because she has perhaps decided to follow Christ in a religious order, decided in favor of spiritual motherhood."
Gender theory's "underlying message," he said, "is the repudiation of the order of creation" and its goodness.
"It is not only an excessive demand but rather a completely senseless endeavor to want to select one's gender instead of accepting and cultivating the sex given to you at birth."
The bishop emphasized that the Church wishes to help people to live in accordance with their nature. "Nobody is condemned for having difficulties accepting his biological gender," he said, "but then someone has to help them to accept their masculinity and their femininity. This is not surgically possible, it is only possible with human and pastoral care."
The process of maturation "can only be successful with nature, not against it!" he reiterated. He quoted Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau, and added that "one can do without the concept 'gender' altogether, because, like a Trojan horse, the concept, finally, opens the door to anti-creation theories, that are related to it everywhere. Again: There is no such thing as a 'gender light' version."
Bishop Voderholzer concluded by noting the variety of popes and bishops who have spoken out against gender theory, saying the German bishops' conference's flyer "grandiosely claims to present the Catholic position in the question. But it fails to include the many statements on the subject issued by bishops and the Pope."
He began by noting five separate instances in which Pope Francis has spoken against gender theory, including his June 8 ad limina address to the Puerto Rican bishops, where he said: "Allow me to call your attention to the value and beauty of marriage. The complementarity of man and woman, the pinnacle of divine creation, is being questioned by the so-called gender ideology, in the name of a more free and just society. The differences between man and woman are not for opposition or subordination, but for communion and generation, always in the 'image and likeness' of God. Without mutual self-giving, neither one can understand the other in depth."
The bishop then quoted from Benedict XVI's 2012 Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia, in which he said that "people dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves … The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man's fundamental choice where he himself is concerned."
Bishop Voderholzer then referred to the final report of the Synod on the Family, published Oct. 24, which called gender ideology "a very important cultural challenge" to the family and said that "According to our faith, the difference between the sexes bears in itself the image and likeness of God."
"It is clear words such as these that are absent in the flyer that I have criticized," said Bishop Voderholzer. "And, indeed, they might have quoted German bishops as well, instead of omitting them."
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His first example was Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg, who in 2005 said that gender theory "only allows man and woman, fatherliness and motherliness, to be defined as products of education and socialization. Hence, it is fundamentally wrong."
He also pointed to Bishop Heinz Algermissen of Fulda, who in a July homily "described gender theory as an ideology that completely opposes reality and the integrity of human nature."
Bishop Voderholzer concluded his homily by saying that "as a bishop who has accepted the torch of belief and pastoral responsibility from his forerunners, including Saint Wolfgang, I cannot, and may not, keep quiet on this subject, and I call upon you to add your voice to mine in this dispute so that the biblical image of man in its entire radiance and depth can also provide orientation to young people of our time in particular."