Teachers told: gender ideology must not confuse students

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has warned Catholic teachers not to let gender ideology confuse their students.

Nichols says children will find their “greatest joy” by accepting their biological sex rather than selecting a gender of their choice.

They are not “single, self-determining individuals,” Nichols told the teachers.

“At a time of great confusion about the rules of sexual behaviour, about exploitation and abuse in every part of society, some firm points of reference that are already built into our humanity at its best are of vital importance.”

He said Catholic moral teaching in areas of friendship, relationships, family life and human sexuality rested on the foundations of the church’s vision of common humanity rather than on individualism.

These foundations are important in today’s world, he added.

Nichols told the teachers their students need help to develop a sense of justice grounded in an “innate understanding of human nature and its dignity,” not ideology.

“The Christian faith, more than any other, takes the reality of sin seriously, not pretending that we live in a utopia or on a pathway of endless progress, but rather in a world marked by limitations and distortions.”

His comments followed a briefing paper by the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in response to Scottish proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

The Centre is an academic institute serving the Catholic Church in the UK and Ireland.

The reforms, which are likely to be copied later this year in England and Wales, will permit any person to change their gender by law simply by self-declaration.

If passed into law, the reforms would remove legal provisions involving assessments for “gender dysphoria” undertaken by doctors over a period of at least two years.

The proposals envisage the right of children to self-declare into a new gender at age 16 when they cease to be minors.

Younger children will also be able to change their gender without parental consent if they appeal to the courts.

The transgender advocacy group, TG Pals, said Nichols’s remarks were “not helpful” and “a religious bias should not have any impact on a transgender child’s needs”.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales will consider its response to transgender issues next month.

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