Some conservative Roman Catholics are speaking out against a book on education by Pope Francis because its preface was written by Italian Education Minister Valeria Fedeli who's been described as a gender theory advocate.
The controversy surrounds Francis' new book, Learning to Learn: Reflections on Education Issues, which has been out in bookstores since last week. Fedeli was apparently invited to write the preface to the book, despite pushing for gender theory to be taught at schools.
She has also criticized conservative events, such as September's "Family Day," which spoke out against gender theory in schools.
Italian pro-family group Generazione Famiglia said that Fedeli's appointment to the Education Minister's office last December was a "deceleration of war" against the traditional family unit.
The group argued that Fedeli has been "undoubtedly the most tenacious and ideological supporter of the manipulation of school programs at every level according to the dictates of gender theories."
Francis has warned against gender theory on a number of occasions, however.
The Vatican leader said before a group of Polish bishops during World Youth Day earlier this year that children being taught that they can select their own gender is "terrible" and is the "exact opposite" of God's creation.
Francis told the bishops: "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."
He went on to say that the problem is a global one.
"We are living at a time when humankind as the image of God is being annihilated," he said, connecting the abuse of the natural world with the abuse of human beings.
Francis also slammed gender theory that diminishes the differences between men and women in society during his general audience at the Vatican in April 2015.
"Getting rid of the difference is the problem, not the solution," Francis said at the time.
"For example, I wonder if so-called gender theory may not also be an expression of frustration and resignation that aims to erase sexual differentiation because it no longer knows how to come to terms with it," he added.
The pope even compared gender theory to Nazi indoctrination in January 2015. He said that the "ideological colonization that tries to destroy the family" that is going on today is not that different from dictatorships of the past.
"Why do I say ideological colonization? Because they use a people's need as an opportunity to come in and impose their will on children. But this is nothing new. The dictatorships of the last century did the same thing; they came in with their doctrine. Think of the Balilla. Think of the Hitler Youth," he said at the time.