Pope Francis Condemns Transgender Ideology: a 'Global War Against the Family'

Pope Francis deftly threaded the needle between denouncing sin and embracing those victimized by transgender ideology in comments on a plane this past Sunday. In no uncertain terms, the pontiff attacked the idea of transgenderism but emphasized the Christian duty to reach out in love to those struggling with such issues.

On Saturday in the Asian country Georgia, Francis denounced transgender theory as a "global war against the family." He warned about the ideas being taught in schools, but also called on Christians to "welcome" and "accompany" those struggling with such issues, reported Crux's Vatican correspondent Inés San Martín.

On the plane back to Italy from Georgia, Francis shared the experience of speaking with a French man who was Catholic. The man had asked his 10-year-old son what he wanted to be when he grows up, and the boy answered, "a woman."

"The dad remembered that in the schoolbooks they taught gender theory. And this is against natural things," the pontiff explained. "This is what I call ideological colonization."

Nevertheless, Francis distinguished the ideology — "teaching in school about this, to change mentalities" — from the people struggling with these issues, who have "this tendency, option and even change sex."

"Life is life, things have to be accepted as they come. Sin is sin," the pope declared. The Catholic Church cannot accept transgender ideas, but individual Catholics can and should empathize with those who are struggling. "Tendencies, hormonal imbalance, have and cause so many problems... we must be attentive."

"In each case, welcome, accompany, study, discern and integrate," Francis explained. "That is what Jesus would do today."

The pope made it absolutely clear, however, that he was not sanctifying transgenderism. "Please don't say that the pope will sanctify trans [transgenderism], because I read the headlines in the newspapers," he said. "I want to be clear, this is a problem of morals. It's a problem. It's a human problem that has to be resolved as it can, always with God's mercy."

Francis contrasted two approaches to transgender people. He mentioned an elderly priest who welcomed a trans person and a younger one who did not, shouting, "You'll go to hell." The aged priest offered to hear the person's confession, so he could receive Communion.

The pope also used a personal example: "I've accompanied in my life as a priest, a bishop, and even as pope, people with homosexual tendencies or even homosexual practices, I've led them closer to the Lord," Francis said. He emphasized that people must be accompanied "as Jesus accompanies."

"When a person who has this condition [or situation] gets in front of Jesus, Jesus won't say, 'leave because you're homosexual,'" the pontiff explained. God's mercy can extend to all sinners.

Furthermore, the confused feeling that you are a man in a woman's body or a woman in a man's body is not in itself a sin. Neither is homosexual attraction a sin per se. It is acting on these tendencies — mutilating your body or engaging in a homosexual relationship — that constitutes sin, in both Roman Catholic and traditional Christian teaching.

Next Page: Why Francis called transgender ideology "the great enemy of marriage."