‘Dignitatis Infinita’: Vatican Document Slams ‘Gender Theory’ and ‘Digital Violence’

Apr 9, 2024 | 0 comments

The latest Vatican document – on the inherent and inalterable nature of human dignity – takes aim at surrogacy, ‘gender theory’ and ‘violent’ aspects of the Internet – while reaffirming church teaching against abortion, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

Insisting that the dignity of every person is inalienable and unchangeable from birth, the document summarises the church’s position on contemporary issues seen as endangering that dignity.

Surrogacy

“The path to peace calls for respect for life, for every human life, starting with the life of the unborn child in the mother’s womb, which cannot be suppressed or turned into an object of trafficking. In this regard, I deem deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs. A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract. Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.” (Pope Francis)

‘Gender Theory’

“Desiring a personal (gender) self-determination, as gender theory prescribes, apart from the fundamental truth that human life is a gift, amounts to a concession to the age-old temptation to make oneself God, entering into competition with the true God of love revealed to us in the Gospel.”

‘Digital Violence’

“Although the advancement of digital technologies may offer many possibilities for promoting human dignity, it also increasingly tends toward the creation of a world in which exploitation, exclusion, and violence grow, extending even to the point of harming the dignity of the human person. Consider, for example, how easy it is through these means to endanger a person’s good name with fake news and slander. On this point, Pope Francis stresses that “it is not healthy to confuse communication with mere virtual contact. Indeed, ‘the digital environment is also one of loneliness, manipulation, exploitation, and violence, even to the extreme case of the ‘dark web.’ Digital media can expose people to the risk of addiction, isolation, and gradual loss of contact with concrete reality, blocking the development of authentic interpersonal relationships. New forms of violence are spreading through social media, for example, cyberbullying. The internet is also a channel for spreading pornography and the exploitation of persons for sexual purposes or through gambling.’” In this way, paradoxically, the more that opportunities for making connections grow in this realm, the more people find themselves isolated and impoverished in interpersonal relationships: “Digital communication wants to bring everything out into the open; people’s lives are combed over, laid bare and bandied about, often anonymously. Respect for others disintegrates, and even as we dismiss, ignore, or keep others distant, we can shamelessly peer into every detail of their lives.” Such tendencies represent a dark side of digital progress.”

Taking aim also at poverty, sexual abuse, abortion, human trafficking, assisted suicide and the marginalisation of those with disabilities this document from the DDF will inevitably become part of the discussion of a range of current controversial issues.

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ACI’s Campaign for Lumen Gentium 37

The Promise of Synodality

What we have experienced of synodality so far gives ACI real hope that a longstanding structural injustice in the church may at last be acknowledged and overcome.

As all Irish bishops well know, the 'co-responsibility' they urge lay people to share - as numbers and energies of clergy decline - has been sabotaged time and again by canonical rules that deny representational authority and continuity to parish pastoral councils.  ACI's 2019 call for the immediate honouring of Lumen Gentium Article 37 becomes more urgent by the day and is supported by the following documents - also presented to the ICBC in October 2019.

The Common Priesthood of the People of God and the Renewal of the Church
It was Catholic parents and victims of clerical abuse who taught Catholic Bishops to prioritise the safeguarding of children in the church

Jesus as Model for the Common Priesthood of the People of God
It was for challenging religious hypocrisy and injustice that Jesus was accused and crucified. He is therefore a model for the common priesthood of the laity and for the challenging of injustice - in society and within the church.

A Suggested Strategy for the Recovery of the Irish and Western Catholic Church
Recovery of the church depends upon acknowledgment of the indispensable role of the common priesthood of the lay people of God and the explicit abandonment by bishops and clergy of paternalism and clericalism - the expectation of deference from lay people rather than honesty and integrity.

For the full story of ACI's campaign for the honouring of Article 37 of Lumen Gentium, click here.

Prayer

"Come Holy Spirit, Renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost. Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and following the lead of blessed Peter, it may advance the reign of our Divine Saviour, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen."

Saint Pope John XXIII, 1962 - In preparation for Vatican Council II, 1962-65.

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