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BRATISLAVA (ChurchMilitant.com) - The bishops of Slovakia are coming out against the Istanbul Convention on violence against women because of transgender-friendly language in the convention. The bishops released a statement on November 25 arguing that Slovakia's entering into the Convention could be harmful to Catholics and Catholic organizations.
In addition, they are also arguing that Catholic agencies and organizations designed to help women would face unjust discrimination.
They commented that the work of the Church's agencies in Slovakia "that have long been established in protection of women are going to face direct discrimination."
In an official statement for the Slovakian Bishops' Conference, Abp. Stanislav Zvolensky remarked,
Any form of violence committed on women is condemnable and absolutely inadmissible. Violence against women can never be tolerated and it is our duty to make every effort to stop it. The protection of women, however, is an important matter, that all concealed attempts of simultaneously advocating for other issues, such as the gender ideology or teaching of so-called non-stereotypical roles in schools, are unacceptable.
In particular, the bishops are warning about language which has been shaped by transgender ideology.
For example, there are parts of the Convention that seem to divide one's biological sex from one's gender, implying that human beings are born gender neutral, and can therefore choose their gender.
"For transgender people, the sex they were assigned at birth and their own internal gender identity do not match," says GLAAD, an advocacy organization for gay, lesbian and transgender individuals.
Countering such notions, Abp. Zvolensky remarked, "Such assumptions, however, contradict human experience and common sense."
These assumptions also contradict official Church teaching on gender and human sexuality. The Catechism teaches, "Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity."
In addition, Pope Francis has come out strongly against transgenderism. In his 2015 encyclical, "Laudato Si," he wrote,
The acceptance of our bodies as God's gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.
Also, during a meeting with Polish bishops at World Youth Day this year, Pope Francis excoriated the transgender movement.
"Today, schools are teaching children — children! — that everyone can choose their own sex," the Holy Father said. "And why is this being taught? Because their textbooks are chosen by the people and institutions that give money. This is ideological colonization, promoted by very influential nations. This is terrible."
Pope Francis also commented on a conversation he had with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. "Speaking with Pope Benedict, who is well, and has a clear mind, he was telling me: Holiness, this is the epoch of sin against God the Creator. He's intelligent! God created man and woman, God created the world this way, and we are doing the opposite."
Archbishop Zvolensky went on to say, "The convention fights against gender stereotypes, but the instruments of this fight can be easily misapplied. They can lead to the suppression of those non-governmental organizations and churches that disagree with the gender ideology."