Gender grounded in biology, Vatican says

Holy See representative Archbishop Silvano Tomasi has applauded the new World Health Organisation director Dr Margaret Chan's health vision for women but is calling upon the international body to recognise that gender is biological.

Speaking after her election, Dr Chan outlined her goals for her tenure as, "the health of women and of the people of Africa", Catholic News reports.

Archbishop Tomasi expressed his satisfaction with these objectives, and then went on to explain the Church's experience in those areas.

"The Catholic Church has traditionally been in the first line in the promotion of the authentic health of women, by helping them to harmonise their physical, psychological and social well-being with moral and spiritual values."

One facet of this holistic vision of the human person that Archbishop Tomasi focused on is gender identity. "[T]he Holy See wishes to invite the WHO member states once again to understand the term 'gender' as grounded in biological sexual identity, male or female."

Another area of the gender debate that the prelate spoke on, was the safeguarding of marriage and the family.

"The Catholic Church is also convinced of the God-given, equal, and complementary dignity of women and men. The Catholic Church also prioritises the most fruitful expression of complementarity between woman and man - that is, the family which is founded upon lifelong and mutually faithful marriage and which continues to serve as the mainstay of human society."

In light of Dr Chan's attention to the health of the people of Africa, the Archbishop offered the experience of the Church.

"Many nations are still in the grip of famine, war, racial and tribal tensions, political instability and the violation of human rights."

Pope Benedict XVI's exhortation to the international community is also very appropriate, "we must not forget Africa."

Archbishop Tomasi's closing remarks left the assembly with a vision of health that seeks a deeper level of care for all aspects of the person.

"My delegation urges a perspective on health security that is grounded on an anthropology respectful of the human person in his or her integrity and looks far beyond the absence of disease to the full harmony and sound balance of the physical, emotional, spiritual and social forces within the human person."

Archbishop Tomasi proposes new direction for World Health Organization (Catholic News, 22/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi (Catholic-Hierarchy)

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22 May 2007