Photo: Ansa-Zumapress

Sexuality: New women and men

The letter from the Nordic Bishops' Conference: the image of God "in the complementarity of male and female." And the experience of a mercy that "excludes no one, but sets a high ideal."

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The forty days of Lent recall the forty days Christ fasted in the wilderness. But that is not all. In salvation history, forty-day periods mark stages in God’s work of redemption, ongoing to this day. The first such intervention took place in the days of Noah. Having seen the destruction man wrought, the Lord subjected earth to a cleansing baptism. ‘Rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights’. The result was a new beginning.

When Noah and his kin stepped back into a world washed clean, God made his first covenant with all flesh. He promised that a flood would never again destroy earth. Of humankind he asked for justice: to revere God, to construct peace, to be fruitful. We are called to live blessedly on earth, to find joy in one another. Our potential is wonderful as long as we remember who we are: ‘for God made man in his own image’. We are called to realise this image by the life choices we make. To ratify his covenant, God set a sign in heaven: ‘I set my bow in the cloud, it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth’.

This covenantal sign, the rainbow, is claimed in our time as the symbol of a movement that is at once political and cultural. We recognise all that is noble in this movement’s aspirations. In so far as these speak of the dignity of all human beings and of their longing to be seen, we share them. The Church condemns unjust discrimination of any kind, also on the basis of gender or orientation. We declare dissent, however, when the movement puts forward a view of human nature that abstracts from the embodied integrity of personhood, as if physical gender were accidental. And we protest when such a view is imposed on children as if it were not a daring hypothesis but a proven truth, imposed on minors as a heavy burden of self-determination for which they are not ready [...]

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