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How Will Cardinal Fernández Influence the Vatican’s Gender Ideology Response?

When the Vatican releases a document on human dignity April 8 that addresses gender ideology, it won’t be the first time that Rome has tackled the vexing topic. Pope Francis has spoken out frequently on the phenomenon, which holds that one’s identity is independent of their bodily sex, calling it “the ugliest danger of our time” just last month.

But given that the new document will be the first comprehensive assessment of gender ideology published by the Vatican’s top doctrinal office, it will likely be the most far-reaching intervention yet, providing guidance to Catholic dioceses, ministries and individuals around the world.

However, Dignitas Infinitas, as the text is called, will also differ from other notable Vatican interventions on the subject in another pivotal way: It’s likely to bear the full theological imprint of Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, its presumptive chief architect.

Since he became prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith in September 2023, the Argentinian prelate and longtime Pope Francis confidant has made his mark on the Church’s doctrine through a torrent of teaching documents and clarifications, which some contend have subverted doctrinal truth in favor of pastoral exceptions.

None was more seismic than Fiducia Supplicans, the controversial December 2023 declaration that gave clerics permission to give non-liturgical blessings to sexual couples of the same sex, prompting confusion and backlash from around the world.

Given Dignitas Infinitas’ expected focus on a subject as contentious as gender ideology, as well as other concerns like surrogacy and sex-change surgery, it may be the most important DDF document produced during Cardinal Fernández’s tenure to date.

And given Cardinal Fernández’s particular brand of theology, it’s worth considering ahead of time how the DDF prefect might influence not only the forthcoming text, but the Church’s engagement with gender ideology more broadly.

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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