« If we wish to take an approach to the question of gender theory that is based on the path of dialogue, it is vital to bear in mind the distinction between the ideology of gender on the one hand, and the whole field of research on gender that the human sciences have undertaken, on the other. While the ideologies of gender claim to respond, as Pope Francis has indicated, “to what are at times understandable aspirations”, they also seek “to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised”, and thus preclude dialogue. However, other work on gender has been carried out which tries instead to achieve a deeper understanding of the ways in which sexual difference between men and women is lived out in a variety of cultures. It is in relation to this type of research than we should be open to listen, to reason and to propose.”

Source: “‘Male and Female he created them’: Towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender theory in Education” – Congregation for Catholic Education – 2 February 2019

Some pupils, sometimes very young, express their dismay over what they feel is a disjunction between their body and their “gender identity”. These issues have a particular resonance in schools, which are obviously not “above ground”. Schools are also affected by certain ideological struggles on these issues, which have a far-reaching impact.

Alongside the family, the school, as a place where knowledge is passed on, has an essential role to play in terms of human and spiritual awakening and self-appropriation, in its uniqueness. The conception of the human person based on the Gospel and the conviction of the importance of educating the whole person, body, soul and spirit, commit Catholic Education to addressing questions related to gender identity with the greatest respect for individuals, while ensuring that they are raised within the educational community and form part of an integral educational project.

Bearing in mind its educational responsibility, the Catholic school is fundamentally concerned about the dignity of each person it welcomes and vigilant in the way it considers the full development of the person (body, mind and soul) and the search for the common good as the unified aims of education.

The members of the European Committee for Catholic Education cannot avoid reflecting and sharing on this question. The CEEC assembly in Vilnius at the end of April 2023 was an opportunity to launch work that will have to continue in the years to come.

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