Is the Church's rules against gender too rigid?


#1

This is a question I have been thinking about every once in a while when seeing transgender and gay people on the internet. Now don’t get me wrong I think there are many flaws and double standards within this movement. I fail to see the logic of mutilating the body to fit a gender as in transgenderism or the double standard in the believe that homosexuals are more fit to get married than incestuals.

But I am troubled by the idea of the “gender spectrum”. I understand that there are definitely going to be patterns that can’t be ignored within men and women. But at the same time, isn’t it an oversimplification of human nature to say men are always like this and women are always like that. There are definitely going to be people that are going to exhibit traits that are not usually male or female (then there is that whole thing about how estrogens from plastics are changing men). I heard about the fact that men’s brains and women’s brain are the biggest difference between them, not just what kind of sex organs they are born with. But is it possible that a biological male might have a brain that has some properties of a biological female brain (such as the two hemispheres of the brain having more connections between them like a female’s brain) or the other way around with a female and male brain.

Secondly, how far are we supposed to go with traditional values like this? If there happens to be a short haired tomboy who hates dresses and is interested in Mixed Martial Arts, should we make her get rid of her personality quirks just so she can commit to a generic standard? I know we should try our best to surrender our wills to God but didn’t God create us with different quirks like this so that he can use us in different and wonderful ways?

Those are my basic questions. Look forward to answers.


#2

The Catholic Church does not teach that women must all act alike or men must all act alike.
It does not say that women must like pink, hate math and science, or all women should sit quietly, demurely crocheting lace doilies. These are stereotypes promoted by the culture and heavily dependent on culture. Stereotypes vary from one culture to another.

Individual Catholics may promote the above view but it is not backed by Church teaching.

It is actually quite rare to find an individual that conforms fully to the stereotype.


#3

Where is the line though? In some cases I hear it’s all right for a girl to play football but then I also hear it’s a sin for a female to go into the armed forces because “they weren’t made for that” despite the potential help they bring. Also what about the the physicality of the brain thing I mentioned?


#4

Than I must have sinned since I am a veteran. I have met a lot of Catholic chaplains and not one mentioned to me that I have sinned because I joined the Air Force.

I don’t think the ideas you mentioned above are Church teaching. They are the opinions of individual Catholics and I include the physicality of the brain thing. The physical brain differences are real but interpretation of how these differences translate to observable behavior may differ.

These gender differences while real are based on averages. It should not be used a club with which to browbeat individuals on how to behave or how to live.

As for the line you mentioned, the line is Church teaching. All other additions should be passed through the filter of discernment. If you are really in doubt you can ask for a spiritual director or direct your question to the apologists on this forum.


#5

The Church teaches that we are male and female, as Christ did. There’s a presumption that it’s obvious who is who, and usually it is. Regarding intersex individuals, I’m not aware of much in the way of Catholic teaching that states who is a male and who is a female. Presumably, there is discernment required in such a case. Note that it wouldn’t be choosing a gender, but rather discerning one’s gender. I’d be less sure about transsexuals - it could be that someone who is apparently male is in fact female. I don’t think the science or theology is there yet, and it may differ quite a bit on the specifics, where some people that see themselves as transsexuals might truly be the other gender, while others aren’t.


#6

You are confusing gender roles (such as men play football and women are nurses) with being transgender. The Church does not have rigid “rules” about gender roles beyond those dictated by biology such as “only women can bear children and be mothers”.

Also what about the the physicality of the brain thing I mentioned?

What about it? The most that can be said is that, for some people, their brains develop in a way that is independent of their gender while for the majority, their brain development and gender (genetically and biologically) are interdependent. That’s an interesting fact but has nothing to do with Church teaching.


#7

If females joining the military is a sin than St. Joan of Arc would have never been declared a Saint by Holy Mother Church.

Women playing physical sports like football could considered crossing the line because then girls will lose their proper understanding of gender because the female body is not made for the intense harm it causes but for the creation of life and can cause temptations to impurity.

Males also need to avoid activities such as ballet and cheerleadering because these activities are exposing them to temptations of lust and can cause an adoption of female social expressions.

The use of co education of both genders has caused a massive problem with sex outside of marriage among youth and should be done away with.


#8

Do we maintain strict gender separation when and where does it start and end? Does it start at elementary school or does it continue through college?

What about the workplace? Sex outside marriage is still possible even when school is over.

Do we segregate that too?

How about the mass?


#9

Okay… well, how about the guy who wishes he was a parrot? So he cuts off his ears, colors his eyeballs, tattoos his face, and undergoes operations to make him feel more like a parrot. Is he a parrot? No. We call that delusional, right? Do you encourage delusional? --Sure! Cut off your ears if it makes you happy!

How about the lady who wanted to be blind? So she had her psychologist pour drain cleaner in her eyes? Is it loving to encourage her— don’t just settle for pretending to be blind; go for the real thing!

So-- those are just two articles in the last month, of people who aren’t happy the way they are, and want to be different. One of them, no matter how hard he tries, is never going to be a parrot. The other one is able to truly become blind.

I have some transgender acquaintances who share a hobby with me. I think of their situation more like the parrot guy than the drain cleaner woman. You can have as much surgery as you can afford; you can dress up and act however you want; but it’s biologically impossible for a man to become female, just like it’s biologically impossible for a man to become a parrot. What’s the statistic— is it that the suicide (attempt?) rate for transgender people post-surgery is, like, 20x higher than in the population at large?

So, I think that’s the sort of thing that the Church teaches about-- not about condemning boys who like to play tea party and wear pink shirts, or about girls who want to play rugby and don’t care if they get their teeth knocked out in the process. One of my (heterosexual male) friends is great at sewing and fabric and all sorts of things. Some of my (heterosexual female) friends are great at slugging 300-lb guys with rattan swords and calling that a great day. God is a God who created hundreds of kinds of butterflies and thousands of kinds of moths— why would he create just one acceptable way to be male or female?


#10

You are going to have women who want to fight in the trenches with men and men who want to be a ballet performer on stage. That’s fine, but you have to understand how God sees a man and a woman and how we see them. The problem in our times is the ongoing destruction of the family structure. A big reason is that we are always telling ourselves that the traditional family structure of a man, woman and children is out of style with the times. People are insulted at the thought of a woman being a stay at home mom who holds a family together and a man working and earning to provide for his family. People are more willing to get a devorce than ever before. I think the people of today have jumped off track. We need to stop the train and put the wheels back on the track. Bruce Jenner may look like a woman and have changed his name to Caitlyn Marie but he is and will always be a man.


#11

True.

As I mentioned before, a lot of cultures differ in what they expect of male or female behavior. In Asia for instance, and this includes the more moderate Islamic countries, it is no big deal if a woman decides to major in the hard sciences or engineering but in the West it still is a big deal.


#12

As creepy as that thing with the parrot is, I don’t think it’s the same thing. Never in a million years will a man get the brain chemistry of a parrot. It is possible for a man to have a similar thought process to a woman. My main question is if it would be right for a person to conform to thier biological sex if they have a brain that has the physical features of the opposit sex therefore making them think differently. There is also the case where plastics and other materials may be causing too much estrogen exposure (so I heard) that causes changes in a babies chemistry like this.

Also I’m not arguing for body mutilation, that is crazy no matter how you slice it.


#13

A lot of people blame it on the media but I think it goes even further back than that. Our values have been corrupted by Satan so much that the media is catering to our desires.We are feeding the media and now the media is feeding us. I don’t know how things can get better unless God decides to make a big 'correction. I think the best thing all people can do as a start is bring the Ten Commandments back into their lives and understand that God is Love and he is merciful but he will also judge us justly. Don’t let yourself become distracted to earthly desires. Read the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.


#14

A lot of people blame it on the media but I think it goes even further back than that. Our values have been corrupted by Satan so much that the media is catering to our desires.We are feeding the media and now the media is feeding us. I don’t know how things can get better unless God decides to make a big 'correction. I think the best thing all people can do as a start is bring the Ten Commandments back into their lives and understand that God is Love and he is merciful but he will also judge us justly. Don’t let yourself become distracted to earthly desires. Read the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.


#15

Young children need to be encouraged to value traditional gender roles in society and without that encouragement children are much higher risk of developing transgender or homosexual behavior.

By isolating the genders when they are young with positive Catholic infulences they will be protected from the secular culture along with it’s depraved sexual desires and morals.

As Catholics we must defend children from this wicked culture by using homeschooling or by creating single gender Catholic schools


#16

Sexual sin has always been around even when strict gender roles are enforced.

Just look at Saudi Arabia. The women are not allowed the drive, have to get the permission from a male relative to go anywhere, yet there is sexual sin there too.

Simply keeping all women at home preferably as housewives will not eliminate sexual sin.


#17

The Church has always taught that because of Our fallen nature it is humanity’s responsibility to avoid occasions of sin and reject anything that causes us to sin.

When the social reign of Christ The King was overthrown by the French Revolution society began to become flooded with sexual sin and unbelief.

The Church and The State must reestablish the Social Reign of Christ The King if we do not then Our Lady of Akita’s warning will come true.

I feel that as Catholic’s we have lost the culture war and it’s because of Our failure to evangelize those outside the Church.


#18

Sexual sin will not be eliminated until our lust for worldly pleasures is eliminated from our souls. Sexual sin is a pleasure that many of us try hard to justify because it has been in many of our own homes in one form or the the other as much as people don’t want to admit to it. It is embarrassing and brings us physical pleasure. Most people know there is a difference between sexual sin and sex. Sex is a gift from God. Sexual sin is the result of us falling to the temptations of the devil.


#19

I agree with that, to a point. I think that for the vast majority of kids, gender roles are helpful in understanding themselves and the world. But every so often, it re-enforces their different-ness. So a boy that is naturally rather effeminate sees himself as a “mistake”, and “really a girl”.

I have two daughters. One is a girly girl. The other is a bit more tomboyish. She likes dress-up - but also dinosaurs, rocks, and tree-climbing. She knows that some of the things she likes are “boyish”, but that it’s ok for a girl to like boyish stuff. I encourage the girl stuff more, but I tolerate (and even encourage) the boy stuff too.


#20

True.

I agree with you there. However the topic is on gender roles. There seems to be the assumption that if everyone adhered to strict gender roles than there would be no sexual sin.


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