The Pope: “Surrogate motherhood
is regrettable and the gender theory
is very dangerous”

VATICAN CITY – Had it been said by any pro-life or “anti-gender” activist, no one would have paid any attention. But when the author is Pope Francis, the perception takes on a weighty tone. Affirmations that “surrogacy is regrettable” and that “gender theory (ideology) is very dangerous” will inevitably take on an international political importance. All the more so because the Pope making these unequivocal and categorical declarations is not just any Pontiff. It is the same Pope who, just over a month ago, decided that LGBT+ and transgender people could be godfathers/godmothers and witnesses at the Sacraments of baptisms and weddings; moreover, stated that children of trans or homosexual parents could also be baptized.

Bergoglio’s declarations were made public yesterday, during his speech to the 184 ambassadors accredited to the Holy See. They had gathered in the Hall of Blessings for the traditional greetings at the beginning of the year. Francis included them in a broader excursus on the ongoing wars and troubling world situation. He referenced as examples: Ukraine, where the war is “gangrening”; the tragic violence in various regions of Africa; the concern for the crisis in Nicaragua, especially as it affects the Church Catholic; the reverberating shocks of the conflict casting a pall over the Middle East, after the brutality of Hamas in Israel and the devastating Israeli military response in the Gaza Strip.

This is 2024, [a year in which] “we would like to fill with peace and instead is introduced with banner of conflicts and divisions”, began the Pope, listing, one by one, the conflicts that are upsetting the planet and causing the mourning for millions of people who pay the price – ”men, women, fathers, mothers, children, whose faces are mostly unknown to us and who we often [too soon] forget”.

The world is being crisscrossed by a growing number of conflicts which are slowly transforming “what I have repeatedly defined as a ‘piecemeal Third World War’ into a truly global conflict”, the Pontiff recalled. He then moved on to talk about contemporay challenges posed by migration, the weapons industry and the “immorality” of manufacturing and possessing nuclear power, the climate crisis, artificial intelligence and, indeed, surrogacy and gender theory.

The context for his assessment and analysis was based on a minimum common denominator – peace – achievable through socio-political, inter-religious dialogue; through education and above all through respect for human rights law. He said, it is “the only way to protect human dignity in situations of conflict, war” and more.

He emphasized that “the path to peace requires respect for life[…] every human life, starting from that of the unborn child in the mother’s womb, which cannot be suppressed, nor become an object of commercialization”.

In this regard, the Pope defined surrogate motherhood as “deplorable” […] “based on the exploitation of a situation of material need of the mother”. Surrogate motherhood is a practice which sees a woman “lend herself” to carrying a fetus, until birth, on behalf of people who cannot have children for various reasons and who pay her to do so on their behalf.

This practice “should be prohibited at a global level”, according to the Pope who yesterday also expressed regret for the fact that, especially in the West, “a culture of death is persistently spreading, which, in the name of false pity, discards children, the elderly and the sick”. Human life must always be respected, he insists, because it is a path to peace.

Then, the Pope confronted the issue of gender [ideology], defining this theory as “very dangerous”. The path to peace is also “respect for human rights”, said the Pope, as clearly formulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which marks its 75th anniversary, but “unfortunately – observed Bergoglio – the attempts made in recent decades to introduce new rights, not fully consistent with those originally defined and not always acceptable, have given rise to ideological colonization”.

Among these is the gender theory, “very dangerous because it erases differences while professing to make everyone equal”. And according to the Pontiff “such ideological colonizations cause wounds and divisions between states, rather than promoting the building of peace”.

Unequivocal words, those of the Pope, which will surely spark a broad debate at an international level.

In the video below, the Pontiff ‘ speech:  statements on surrogate motherhood from 44:10, statements on gender theory from 45:50 (in the pic above, Pope Francis during the speech / Vatican News)

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