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WCR EDITORIAL

January 25, 2016

More and more, relations between the sexes in Western society are being thought of as arbitrary. One's biological makeup does not matter; a person can even choose, based on their inner yearnings combined with advances in medical technology, whether to be a man or a woman. That one's biological makeup should determine whether one is a man or a woman is now thought to be archaic thinking. The forcing of people into biologically-determined social roles is considered an unwarranted form of social control.

If our forefathers and mothers ever considered such a view, they would have thought, "Where do people get these crazy ideas?" Today, however, our forefathers and mothers would be considered to be suffering from "heterosexism," a form of prejudice and discrimination that needs to be cured so that they do not wreak violence on people who are different.

To be sure, every person is a creature of utmost dignity who should be treated with respect and protected from violence and bullying. For Catholics, that principle is non-negotiable.

However, the ways Catholic teaching and secular humanism view the human body are oceans apart. For the secularist, the body is mere matter; what has value is the mind. The body is raw nature, subject to control by the mind and its technological offspring. The most fully human activity is the control and manipulation of matter by a person's will.

There is even an implied morality - the mind ought to control nature, and it ought to exploit the available material resources. To leave oil in the ground is sinful; to fail to change one's gender when one feels like one is a woman in a man's body or vice versa is to destroy one's human potential. The body exists to be manipulated; so too does the planet.

The Catholic viewpoint, in contrast, sees gender as a gift as well as being a gift to be shared with another. "God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1.27). Human gender differentiation reflects the nature of God; it lies at the core of what it means for people to be created in God's image.

God is a Trinity. The Trinity is not three gods each doing their own thing, but one God whose unity runs as deep as does God's diversity. The three divine persons constantly, eternally make a gift of their selves to the other persons.

Being born man or woman is a gift. It is a gift that calls forth another gift - the total gift of a woman to a man and of a man to a woman. Being in the image of God describes not only how we are created, it tells how we should act. The highest realization of one's humanity is to make a total gift of self - body, mind and soul - to another person.

The provincial government will not stop us from teaching this great mystery in Catholic schools. It does, however, want us to stop acting as if it were true. It is calling for clubs with a secular understanding of the person to be set up in Catholic schools. Following that "guideline" would compromise our understanding of the dignity of the human person. It would mean Catholic schools can no longer be Catholic.