A Dutch cardinal has warned that many parents today, even those of Roman Catholic faith, are accepting the argument that their children can choose their own gender because of society's teachings, and urged Pope Francis to write an encyclical about gender theory.
Cardinal Willem Eijk of Utrecht, Netherlands, said parents are being guided into the belief that gender is a matter of personal choice, rather than biology, because "they don't hear anything else," the Catholic News Service reports.
"Perhaps a document only on this problem might be an urgent question," Eijk suggested of a potential papal encyclical on the subject.
"It (gender theory) is spreading and spreading everywhere in the Western world, and we have to warn people," he added. "From the point of moral theology, it's clear — you are not allowed to change your sex in this way."
The cardinal warned that much like euthanasia and assisted suicide, when people first began talking about gender issues they were unsure what to believe, but society's acceptance of new forms of thinking have deemed previously controversial practices ordinary.
Eijk further accused society of being intolerant to those who do not accept new ideas about gender.
"People are talking about tolerance and they say the individual is free to think what he likes but in practice ... people have to accept this certain view of man, this dualistic view of man and this view of the body as something that is moldable," he said, noting that those who do not agree are "excluded."
Francis has in the past urged children to accept their natural bodies as they were created, and to appreciate their bodies as "male and female."
The Vatican leader wrote in his 255-plus-page Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) document that young people accepting their bodies the way they are leads to accepting the work of God, and finding "mutual enrichment."
"Only by losing the fear of being different, can we be freed of self-centredness and self-absorption. Sex education should help young people to accept their own bodies and to avoid the pretension 'to cancel out sexual difference because one no longer knows how to deal with it," he wrote.
In a separate statement to Polish bishops at the end of July, Francis slammed the idea of people choosing their own sex as the "exact opposite" of God's creation.
"Today, children are taught this at school: That everyone can choose their own sex. And why do they teach this? Because the books come from those people and institutions who give money," Francis said at the time.
"God created man and woman; God created the world like this and we are doing the exact opposite," he added, noting that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, his predecessor, also agrees with such warnings.