What’s a Catholic to Think About Gender?

By pintswaquinas December 8, 2022

Once upon a time, there were two well-defined genders in the world. Miraculously, it seemed that those genders were always associated with a particular sex — women were women and men were men.

Now we’re told there are other genders and people can switch between them.

What’s a Catholic to think? First, let’s identify two extreme positions. Then we’ll reaffirm our understanding of gender in light of faith and reason.

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Extreme position 1: Our bodies are not relevant to our gender.
Many of you probably think this position is wrong. You are correct. But you’d be surprised how many Catholics are falling for the transgender ideology.

Proponents of this extreme position overly emphasize the distinction between sex and gender. They think it’s irrelevant if, say, a man claiming to be a woman still has uniquely male biological features.

Extreme position 2: Your manhood or womanhood is reduced to your body.
This is the opposite extreme of what we previously said. Some people rightly point out that a person’s body matters. But then they make the mistake of reducing men and women to their biology.

Be careful not to fall into this arena. Some faithful Catholics — in an otherwise laudable attempt to counter the first extreme position — act like there is no distinction at all between sex and gender.

Yet there are feminine men and masculine women. That doesn’t make them the opposite sex. But it does show that we understand the words “men” and “women” to encompass more than just biology.

There is one thing that both extremes have in common: They divorce the human body and soul. One side puts gender identity solely in the soul (although most of them probably wouldn’t use that term). The other side puts it solely in the body.

But what’s a Catholic to think?

It’s true that sex and gender are not the exact same thing. But they are not fully independent of each other. God made us with a body and soul. Your body and soul are a union and heavily influence each other. Your manhood or womanhood encompasses both.

Your manhood and womanhood overflow into your body and soul.

But even here there’s another distortion we need to address. Yes, men and women have different physical makeups and different callings. But some people place too much emphasis on these differences.

For example, the nature of men generally makes them more inclined to be the breadwinners of the family. But that’s not to say that women can’t or shouldn’t work.

God created you as a man or a woman for a reason. Instead of running away from that fact, learn to fully embrace who you are and the mission God has called you to. You’ll find true fulfillment only in His plan for you.


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