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Study what Church teaches about meaning of the human person

The following story appeared in the March 25 Idaho Catholic Register.

By Jay Wanacott

Marriage for Life

The Diocese of Boise recently promulgated a Catechesis and Policy on Questions Concerning Gender Theory. From my perspective, the centerpiece of understanding a policy such as this one, especially in today’s polarized climate, is to study and understand the human person through the lens of Christian anthropology.

The greatest Christian anthropologist of the 20th century, in my opinion, was our late and great Pope Saint John Paul II. Pope John Paul II dedicated his pontificate to the study and understanding of the human person. Both in his philosophical and theological writings he addresses the key issues at the core of human identity. His pivotal philosophical work, Love and Responsibility, was published in 1960 just before the coming sexual revolution. His most famous treatise on the biblical and theological understanding of the person is the compilation of papal Wednesday audiences delivered to the world from 1979 to 1984, known as the Theology of the Body.

Without each of us stepping into the clear waters of Christian anthropology and bathing ourselves in the Scriptures and the moral and ethical teaching of the Theology of the Body, we never get baptized into the spirit and truth of what the Catholic faith has taught about the human person. Without knowing these teachings and internalizing their inherent truth, it is inevitable that we will get lost, confused and mired down by the muddy and dark waters of the secular gender ideology which contemporary culture espouses in Hollywood and on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

As Catholics, we cannot adopt an anthropology of the human person that opposes the content of our faith or right reason. We have a responsibility to purify the muddy waters with the freedom only the full teaching of the human person can offer. As Vatican II’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World teaches, “Christ the Lord, Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling.” Gaudium et Spes, 22).

The consequence of not understanding the authentic teaching on the human person has brought us to a crisis in sexual identity. The new diocesan policy notes that, “We have seen an increase in the experience of gender dysphoria and gender discordance, especially among young children and adolescents with the increasingly prevalent narrative that the solution to such dysphoria is to affirm one’s ‘experienced gender’ over and against one’s biological sex.”

The Church is placed in a position to uphold the truth of the teachings of the Church regarding sexual identity and morality while simultaneously responding pastorally to people who truly suffer from gender dysphoria and who should be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. The document states, “Charity needs to be understood, confirmed, and practiced in the light of truth.”

We know that contemporary secular culture does not share the Church’s perspective on what it means to be a human person. “It is extremely important to talk about what pastoral care for those suffering from gender dysphoria or discontent looks like.” The document notes that such persons should be treated with respect and with charity, and “no one should suffer bullying, violence, insults, or unjust discrimination” based on such experiences.

In order to grow in our understanding of the Christian anthropology as well as our understanding of how best to minister to persons who struggle with gender dysphoria and gender discordance, I would like to share a few Church resources that will help us continue this important pastoral work.

Person and Identity

The mission of the Person and Identity Project (PIP) is to assist the Catholic Church in promoting the Catholic vision of the human person and responding to the challenges of gender ideology. Gender ideology has permeated the culture with stunning speed, influencing medicine, business, media, entertainment, government and education. Because it is sowing confusion and undermining the Church’s mission of evangelization, the rise of gender ideology has created an urgent need for clarity, education, and compassionate guidance for Catholic families and young people. The Person and Identity Project is committed to assisting the Church in meeting these needs.

Ruah Woods

Ruah Woods’ work has confirmed that The Theology of the Body is the fresh perspective that announces and proclaims the Gospel for the New Evangelization in a new way that can speak boldly to today’s culture. Encountering this teaching through formation, restoration and adoration is changing lives in stunning ways.

Theology of the Body Evangelization

Team, Inc. (TOBET)

TOBET endeavors to teach and inspire others to encounter a personal relationship with Jesus so as to love as God loves by giving a unique and compelling vision of the human person based on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB). This message brings hope and healing. Each person sees from this perspective that he/she is unique and unrepeatable, made to love and be loved. TOBET invites people to renewal, effecting a deeper sense of wonder at our being created in God’s image and likeness, stamped in our very bodies.

Theology of the Body Institute

Theology of the Body is a teaching on what it means to be fully human – male and female. Theology of the Body was St. John Paul II’s first major teaching project as pope. It is a grand proposal to the world of the deepest meaning of life and love made visible in the body. The Theology of the Body Institute offers courses, a certification program, a clergy enrichment program and speakers for your events.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.

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Diocesan Pastoral Center

FAX: (208) 342-0224

1501 S. FEDERAL WAY, SUITE 400, BOISE, ID 83705

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