(CNSNews.com) – Pope Francis criticized "so-called gender theory" today and reaffirmed that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and was created so by God.
"For instance," said the pope, "I wonder, for example, if the so-called gender theory is not also an expression of a frustration and of a resignation, which aims to cancel the sexual difference because it no longer knows how to address it. Yes, we risk taking a step backward.
"The removal of the difference, in fact, is the problem, not the solution," the pope said. "To resolve their problems of relation, man and woman must instead talk more to one another, listen more to one another, know one another more, love one another more. They must relate to one another with respect and cooperate with friendship. With these human bases, sustained by the grace of God, it is possible to plan the matrimonial and family union for the whole of life.
"The matrimonial and family bond is something serious, and it is for everyone, not only for believers," he said. "I would like to exhort the intellectuals not to abandon this topic, as if it had become secondary for the commitment in favor of a freer and more just society."
In explaining the "Sacrament of Marriage," the pope said that "man and woman, as a couple, are the image of God.
"Today’s catechesis is dedicated to a central aspect of the subject of the family: that of the great gift that God made to humanity with the creation of man and woman and with the Sacrament of Marriage," he said. "This catechesis and the next are concerned with the difference and complementarity between man and woman, who are at the summit of the divine creation; the two following ones will be on Marriage.
"We begin with a brief comment on the first account of Creation in the Book of Genesis," said the pope. "Here we read that God, after having created the universe and all living beings, created his masterpiece, namely, the human being, which he made in his own image: 'in the image of God He created them; male and female he created them.'
"As we all know, sexual difference is present in so many forms of life, in the long scale of the living," said the pope. "However, only in man and in woman does it bear in itself the image and likeness of God: the biblical text repeats it a good three times in two verses: Man and woman are image and likeness of God! This tells us that not only man in himself is the image of God, not only woman in herself is the image of God, but also man and woman, as a couple, are the image of God. The difference between man and woman is not for opposition, or for subordination, but for communion and creation, always in the image and likeness of God."
The Pope also explained that divisions between men and women in today’s world and the fracturing of the bond and complementarity between man and woman, male and female, is contributing to a loss of religious faith.
Just as Adam and Eve were created in the image of God and for each other, to be in Paradise together with God, the drive to separate man from woman, create divisions in today’s world echoes the division caused by Satan in the Garden, with the first sin, the Original Sin, suggested the Pope.
“[T]he communion with God is reflected in the communion of the human couple and the loss of trust in the celestial Father generates division and conflict between man and woman,” said Pope Francis.
The answer is to strive to restore that complementarity, the man and woman (and image of God), he said. “The earth is filled with harmony and trust when the alliance between man and woman is lived well,” said the Pope. “And if man and woman seek it together between themselves and with God, without a doubt they will find it. Jesus encourages us explicitly to give witness to this beauty, which is the image of God.”
Pope Francis has spoken out against gender theory in the past, notably comparing gender theory to nuclear arms and genetic manipulation in the danger it poses to humanity.
"Let's think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings," the Pope said in a book interview released in January. "Let's think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation."
He also said in a March interview that “gender theory is an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion."