Taking advantage of the Dutch bishops’ ad limina visit to the Vatican at the beginning of November 2022, Cardinal Wim Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht, took the opportunity to ask the Sovereign Pontiff for a solemn document condemning gender theory.
“I asked the question of the advisability of an encyclical on gender ideology,” stated Cardinal Eijk at a November 9 press conference.
The high prelate, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, did not hesitate to confide to journalists his disappointment at not seeing the Church warn the faithful: “Gender theory is put forward by all kinds of organizations, but we, who carry the voice of the Church, we have not spoken much on this subject.”
This is why the cardinal is pleading for the promulgation of an encyclical, a document bearing the seal of papal authority, in which the teaching of the Church can be recalled and developed, if necessary.
This is not the first time that the high Dutch prelate has expressed himself in this sense. Already in November 2016, the Archbishop of Utrecht, passing through Oxford, United Kingdom, during an interview granted to Catholic News Service, made similar remarks, regretting that “many Catholics now accept gender theory in a very easy way, even fathers and mothers, because they don't hear any opposing voices.”
“Young Catholics are a source of hope, because the small minority of those who are still active in the Church are more inclined to accept the faith in its entirety,” considers the cardinal, who sees in them “the strength of the future.”
“I think we will be a small Church, a small fraction of the population, at least in the Netherlands, but the Christians who remain will have a life of prayer, a personal relationship with Christ, and they will be clear about the faith and ready to witness. … This will be a small Church, but a convinced Church, and she will be ready to suffer,” Bishop Eijk then added.
The high Dutch prelate specifies that this time he has officially submitted his repeated request to Cardinal Kevin Farell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.
Will his approach be more successful than the previous one on the same matter, or than his request of 2018 in order to clarify the doctrine on intercommunion, which was undermined by the German bishops?