Albert Mohler has offered a brief, critical response to Pope Francis’s recent papal encyclical “Laudato Si.” Mohler reminds readers that evangelicals “reject the very idea of the papacy.” Having said that, he also points out that media coverage has focused almost entirely on how the letter reinforces a certain narrative about climate change without giving much attention to what it says about the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality.
To wit, section 155 of the Pope’s letter reads as if it were written as a direct contradiction to fashionable transgender propaganda, which has become so ubiquitous in recent days. Here’s what the Pope writes:
Human ecology also implies another profound reality: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of an “ecology of man”, based on the fact that “man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will“. It is enough to recognize that our body itself establishes us in a direct relationship with the environment and with other living beings. The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation. Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment. It is not a healthy attitude which would seek “to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it”. [underline mine]
Bottom line: The Pope says that we cannot choose our nature. We recognize what God made us to be, either male or female. This implies that attempts to “cancel out sexual difference” through surgical mutilations go against nature and are immoral. Male and female bodies reveal something sacred and immutable about God’s intention for us. Our gender identity, therefore, is not infinitely malleable as the queer theorists and transgender propagandists would have us believe.
Like I said, this is out of step with the spirit of the age, and we likely won’t hear much about it in the press coverage. The entire letter is a long read—nearly 38,000 words or 65 pages single-spaced. If you want to try and read the whole thing, it’s here.