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Sex change surgery, surrogacy, gender theory grave threats to human dignity: Vatican

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VATICAN CITY, April 8: The Vatican on Monday declared sex change operations and surrogacy as grave threats to human dignity, putting them on par with abortion and euthanasia as practices that violate God’s plan for human life.
The Vatican’s doctrine office issued “Infinite Dignity,” a 20-page declaration that has been in the works for five years. After substantial revision in recent months, it was approved March 25 by Pope Francis, who ordered its publication.
In its most eagerly anticipated section, the Vatican 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 they must not tinker with that plan or try to “make oneself God.” “It follows that any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception,” the document said.
It distinguished between transitioning surgeries, which it rejected, and “genital abnormalities” that are present at birth or that develop later. Those abnormalities can be “resolved” with the help of health care professionals, it said.
The document’s existence, rumoured since 2019, was confirmed in recent weeks by the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Argentine Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, a close Pope Francis confidante.
He had cast it as something of a nod to conservatives after he authored a more explosive document approving blessings for same-sex couples that sparked criticism from conservative bishops around the world, especially in Africa.
And while rejecting gender theory, the document takes pointed aim at countries – including many in Africa – that criminalise homosexuality. It echoed Francis’ assertion in a 2023 interview with The Associated Press that “being homosexual is not a crime” making the assertion now part of the Vatican’s doctrinal teaching.
The new document denounces “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.” The document is something of a repackaging of previously articulated Vatican positions. It restates well-known Catholic doctrine opposing abortion and euthanasia, and adds to the list some of Francis’ main concerns as pope: the threats to human dignity posed by poverty, war, human trafficking and forced migration.
In a newly articulated position, it says surrogacy violates both the dignity of the surrogate mother and the child. While much attention about surrogacy has focused on possible exploitation of poor women as surrogates, the Vatican document focuses almost more on the resulting child.
“The child has the right to have a fully human (and not artificially induced) origin and to receive the gift of a life that manifests both the dignity of the giver and that of the receiver. Considering this, the legitimate desire to have a child cannot be transformed into a right to a child’ that fails to respect the dignity of that child as the recipient of the gift of life,” the document said. (PTI)

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