Vatican denounces gender-affirming surgery, gender theory and surrogacy


The Vatican has declared gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy to be grave violations of human dignity in a new document endorsed by Pope Francis.

The 20-page Dignitas Infinita, or Infinite Dignity, published on Monday by the Vatican’s powerful Department of Doctrine, is the culmination of five years of work.

It was released as the Catholic Church is split over a range of social issues and covers the key themes of Francis’s 11-year papacy, from war to ecology and social justice.

While the document reaffirms the church’s long-held opposition to abortion and euthanasia, the Vatican has now also repeated its rejection of gender theory or the idea that one’s gender can be changed. It said God created man and woman as biologically different, separate beings and said people must not tinker with that plan or try to “make oneself God”.

It acknowledged the possibility of surgery to resolve “genital abnormalities” but stressed that “such a medical procedure would not constitute a sex change in the sense intended here”.

The declaration also said surrogate parenting violates the dignity of both the surrogate mother and the child and recalled that Francis in January called it “despicable” and urged a global ban.

The Vatican also reasserted its opposition to the criminalisation of homosexuality, which still exists in many countries, particularly in Africa.

“It should be denounced as contrary to human dignity the fact that, in some places, not a few people are imprisoned, tortured, and even deprived of the good of life solely because of their sexual orientation,” it said.

“We do not talk much about this violation of human rights, … and it is painful that some Catholics defend these unfair laws,” Victor Manuel Fernandez, head of the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith, said at a news conference.

The document does not apply to ‘gender diverse people’

The pope has made reaching out to LGBTQ people a hallmark of his papacy, ministering to trans-Catholics and insisting that the Catholic Church must welcome all children of God.

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