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Gerard O’ConnellMarch 10, 2023
Screenshot of interview with Pope Francis from La Nacion's YouTube channel.Screenshot of interview with Pope Francis from La Nacion's YouTube channel.

Pope Francis said in an interview today that the “ideology of gender” is “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.”

The pope’s views on gender and gender theory were given in an almost one-hour long interview with Elisabetta Piqué, Italian correspondent for La Nacion, the Argentine daily newspaper. The interview was recorded at Santa Marta, the Vatican guest house where the pope resides, and will be aired on Argentine TV on March 11.

Asked if he was asked to write a document on gender theory as had been widely rumored in Rome, Pope Francis said, “No one asked me to write a document,” but he has been asked for “clarifications, yes.” The pope did not say when such clarifications might be published.

“I have always distinguished between what is pastoral [ministry] to persons who have different sexual orientations and that which is the ideology of gender. These are two different things,” Francis stated. “The ideology of gender is, at this time, one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations. It goes far beyond the sexual.” Because “it dilutes the differences,” he said. “The richness that is of men and women, and of all humanity, is the tension of the differences. It is to grow by means of the tension of the differences. The matter of gender is diluting the differences and making the world the same, all dull, all equal. And that goes against the human vocation.”

Pope Francis: I have always distinguished between what is pastoral [ministry] to persons who have different sexual orientations and that which is the ideology of gender.

Ms. Pique (who is my wife) recalled that the last time she was in Argentina she saw that people had to fill out a form that requested them to identify their gender as male, female or nonbinary. Francis compared this to a novel he read many years ago, Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson. “It seems somewhat modern,” the pope remarked. “It envisages a future in which differences are disappearing and everything is equal, uniform, with a single leader for the whole world. A futuristic prophet.” But, Francis said, “the richness of humanity lies in its differences, cultures.”

Pope Francis said he has spoken about this because “there are people who are rather naïve, that believe this is the path of progress, and do not distinguish between respect for sexual diversity or different sexual choices from an already existing anthropology of gender, which is extremely dangerous because it annuls the differences, and this erases the humanity, the richness of humanity, in a personal, cultural and social sense, the differences and the tensions between the differences.”

Pope Francis, in the interview, answered questions on many other subjects. He spoke about the war in Ukraine and whether Putin is committing genocide there. He said the pastoral ministry should be one of inclusion. He spoke too about the reforms that have taken place in the Vatican in these years, and added that at the Synod on Synodality, “all participants,” whether male or female, “will have the right to vote,” he said. “Everyone, everyone. That word ‘everyone’ is key for me.”

Pope Francis said that at the Synod on Synodality, “all participants,” whether male or female, “will have the right to vote.” 

The pope also talked about the resistance to his papacy, discussed the increasing poverty in his homeland, revealed he has no plans to write a new encyclical, and confirmed he would like to visit Argentina, his homeland.

The full transcript of the interview will be published in La Nacion and will be broadcast tomorrow evening in Argentina.

Correction (Mar. 11): We incorrectly translated part of one of Ms. Piqué’s questions to read “binary sex.” It should in fact be “nonbinary.”

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