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Vatican formally rejects gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy

Vatican formally rejects gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy

The Vatican made waves on Monday by issuing a declaration titled “Infinite Dignity,” which categorizes gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy as grave violations of human dignity, equating them with abortion and euthanasia. This proclamation, in the works for five years and finally approved by Pope Francis, underscores the Vatican’s stance on practices it deems contrary to God’s plan for human life.

Despite Pope Francis’s efforts to reach out to the LGBTQ+ community during his papacy, the document was received as a setback by transgender Catholics, although its message aligns with the pope’s belief that transgender individuals should be embraced within the church, while rejecting what it terms as “gender ideologies.”

The Vatican reiterated its rejection of “gender theory,” asserting that biological sex is immutable and ordained by God. The document warns against any attempts to alter one’s biological sex through interventions, asserting that such actions jeopardize the inherent dignity bestowed upon individuals from conception.

While distinguishing between gender-affirming surgeries and congenital genital abnormalities, which it suggests can be addressed with medical intervention, the Vatican’s stance has drawn criticism from advocates for LGBTQ+ Catholics. They argue that the document, while espousing respect for human dignity, fails to extend this principle to gender-diverse individuals, potentially exacerbating discrimination and violence against them.

The issuance of this document, confirmed by Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, reflects the Vatican’s attempt to address concerns from conservative quarters. Simultaneously, it condemns the criminalization of homosexuality, aligning with Pope Francis’s assertion that being homosexual is not a crime.

The document also denounces surrogacy as a violation of human dignity, emphasizing the rights of both the surrogate mother and the child. It rejects the notion of a “right to a child” that disregards the child’s dignity as a recipient of the gift of life.

While restating longstanding Catholic doctrine opposing abortion and euthanasia, the document also addresses contemporary issues such as poverty, war, human trafficking, and forced migration, all viewed through the lens of human dignity.

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