Should Catholics focus on winning political battles as the primary means of reclaiming the culture? Should we put our Faith on the back burner so as not to alienate non-Christians? In a recent article, Michael Warren Davis argues no, we should not. He says the culture war is a myth, that political victories don’t bring cultural ones, and that in reality people tend to follow political parties, not parties people, at least not once they attain power.
Anticipating the usual response, “but we need secular allies,” he counters with quotes from C.S. Lewis and John Adams, highlighting how earthly victories rest upon heavenly foundations, not the other way around. Western Civilization was built on Christianity, and progressed by it, he notes. It is the lifeblood of the West. Our political system was created by, and will only work for, moral and religious people.
Davis reminds us that our mission is not politics or culture. It is the Great Commission. In fact, he boldly asserts: “If we’re not fighting to ‘conserve’ Christianity, we may as well stay home.” Indeed. Jesus didn’t tell His apostles to go defeat the Romans. He told them to go preach the Good News. And if some won’t listen? Move on to others. “My sheep hear My voice.” And yet today, in the “politics is everything” world in which we live, even the Pope argues for not “imposing our beliefs on others.”
It’s the question of the day for all Christians. Do we focus on politics? Hide our Faith to gain a larger audience? Or do we boldly seek to conserve Christianity no matter the cost?
Let’s consider a current example: Matt Walsh’s film, “What is a Woman.” He starts his film saying the confusion is so great over what a woman is that it warrants a “serious investigation.” He asks not only what a woman is but what he himself is. He asks why is this so hard today when it’s never been before? What’s changed? He then heads out in search of “the truth.”
He travels across the country, even across the world, asking one person after another what a woman is, including: a gender affirming therapist, medical doctors, transgender activists, a pediatrician/abortionist, a university professor, a politician, teachers, a psychiatrist, female athletes, a clinical supervisor, a gender researcher, a family psychologist, random people on the street, some naked guy, even leaders of an African tribe.
But not one Catholic priest. Not one Catholic theologian. Not one Catholic philosopher.
Why not? We could speculate about wanting to gain those “secular allies” Davis mentions, or about wanting to appeal to a wider audience, but let’s ask a different question instead. What if he had included a specifically Catholic voice? It behooves us to consider the difference it could have made.
First, let’s look at what we take away from the film as it is. Above all, it shows that the most immediate cause of the confusion about what a woman is, is the sudden and exponential growth in power and influence of what some have called the transgender cult.
We see in the film that this cult consists of three different groups. The first includes all those suffering from the psychological illness called gender dysphoria. Dr. Grossman defines this as an “intense loathing and discomfort with one’s biological sex” and describes it as a “nightmare” for those suffering from it. Many describe the condition as feeling like they’re “trapped in the wrong body.”
While those with gender dysphoria have traditionally been treated with therapy, they are now immediately rushed into “medical transition,” often without receiving any therapy at all. Though this group consists of a very small number of people, their “civil rights” and “human rights” have been pushed to the center of politics today.
The second group is made up of those who believe in and promote acceptance of the transgender ideology. They argue that there is a difference between sex and gender. Sex is a person’s biology, and they acknowledge that there are male and female sexes, but they reject the idea that there are genders natural to, or inherent in, each sex.
They argue instead that genders are social constructs. They define a gender as that set of characteristics, personality traits and feelings, that a society assigns to each sex. Every society constructs a specific female gender to which it expects biological females to conform and a specific male gender to which it expects biological males to conform.
The problem, they argue, is that since gender is not inherent in a person’s biology, not all biological males and females “fit” their society’s social constructs of male and female genders. Some men better match the female “gender” while some females better match the “male” gender. Rather than throw out the social constructs as Second Wave Feminists did with the traditional female stereotype they blew up in the 20th century, declaring that women can be however masculine or feminine as they please, the transgender ideologues have instead fully embraced those genders and insist on giving them priority over everything else, even over biology.
In fact, they have declared that the very definition of man and woman is no longer to be determined by biology, but rather by one’s chosen gender. Biology must be forced to conform to gender, not the other way around as has always been. To this end, drugs and surgeries are implemented to make Nature conform to Man, to turn men into women and women into men.
The third group is composed of those best described as transgender profiteers. This includes all those who are profiting off the transitions promoted by the ideologues, starting with Big Pharma, which we hear in the film earns $1.3 million for every adolescent they convince is transgender and move into transition, and the hospitals that pull in $70K a pop for every top and bottom surgery they perform.
By the end of the film, none of the ideologues has given an actual definition of what a woman is, despite Walsh’s persistence in asking the question. They simply respond that gender is what matters and a person is free to choose whatever gender they want. In frustration, he decides he’s had enough of seeking answers, it’s time to act. He attends a school board meeting and declares his intention to lead the political battle against the cult.
He then ends the film with the definition of a woman he wants us to take away: a woman is an “adult human female.” This definition reasserts the primacy of biology, attaching the title of woman to biology not gender.
But is that the correct answer? Are women simply their biology? Simply female humans? Is that a definition that will lead people to reject transgenderism and embrace the truth? What if Walsh had included an interview with a solid, orthodox Catholic priest, philosopher, or theologian? He might have heard something like this…
“Matt, there’s a reason Modern Man cannot answer the question of what a woman is. You cannot know what a woman is unless you know what a man is. And you cannot know what a man is unless you know what Man is. And you cannot know what Man is unless you know who and what God is.
Modern Man doesn’t know who or what he is because he has cut himself off from the very source of his identity: his Creator, in whose image he was made. Modern Man sees himself as nothing more than matter, as just another biological animal, a product of evolutionary forces. But we Catholics know that we are so much more than that, so much more than just our bodies, so much more than just our biology.
We humans are both body and soul. We have human souls that unlike all other animal souls, are rational. Made in the image of God, we have been endowed with intellects and free wills, intellects so that we could come to know our God, our Maker, who made us to love and be loved by Him, and free wills, so that having come to know Him, we can freely choose whether to love Him in return. But God didn’t make us in His image only by giving us intellects and free wills. He made us in His image in another way as well. Ours is a God who creates.
What is a woman?
A woman is that amazing, incredible, miraculous creature God made, His final act of Creation, to complete the process of making Man in His own image. It is through making woman to complement man that He empowered them to come together as one flesh, creating, in participation with our God, new human life. New human persons.
Woman gives to Man the divine power of procreation, something Modern Man in his enslavement to earthly things, cannot see, does not value, and takes for granted. Here’s how the theologian Frank Sheed put it in his book, Theology and Sanity: ‘And indeed our part in God’s creative act – what we call procreation – is our greatest glory in the natural order; it is the act in which we come closest to the creative power of God. And it is a glory peculiar to man. For the angels do not procreate at all, and the animals reproduce their kind without rational choice or any awareness of the majesty of that in which they take part.’
Progressives like to portray the Church as opposed to human sexuality, as thinking it something bad or sinful, when in fact, it’s the Church that sees human sexuality as the beautiful gift it truly is. It’s modern progressives who cheapen sex. Our sexuality is part of our participating in divine creation. It’s a treasure to be valued, not something to be treated as just another optional dating activity.
Woman is so much more than mere gender and so much more than simple biology, so much more than ‘an adult human female.’ Once one understands this, he can see how the assault on women and womanhood cannot be separated from Modern Man’s assault on Christianity, on the very foundations of Western Civilization.”
Had Walsh then traveled to Ohio and interviewed Anne Hendershott, a sociology professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville and author of several articles on the topic, he would have heard how the transgender movement is actually part of a larger transhumanist movement. He’d have heard how this movement is a complete “rejection of human nature and natural law,” and is made up of those who believe “the idea that anything is created by God and thus ‘written in nature’ is repellent and ridiculous.”
Transhumanists seek not only to free man from God, as the first Modernists did, they seek to free him from anything natural and material, including his own body. They believe we are minds alone, minds that at this stage of our evolution, are trapped inside bodies. They seek to take us to what they envision as our next evolutionary stage, one they define as posthuman.
They believe advanced nanotechnology and microbiology make it possible to transfer our minds, thus our beings, to micro discs, allowing us to then take on whatever “form” we choose, from partially fleshed bodies to what they view as superior, completely manmade synthetic ones. They call our uploaded minds “mindfiles” and “mindclones” and our newly created forms, “bemans” – bioelectric humans.
Hendershott would have told Walsh about Martine (formerly Martin) Rothblatt, inventor of SiriusXM Satellite Radio and CEO of United Therapeutics, a leading figure in the transhumanist movement. Rothblatt believes that this new technology offers not just the ability to take on whatever “form” we choose, it also gives us the option of immortality. Our bodies may die, but our “mindfiles” and “mindclones” can live on forever. As he puts it, “Life is powerful, death is optional.”
Not only does he claim that “we are on the threshold of creating humanity and personhood outside of DNA-driven flesh bodies,” he also claims that DNA-based biological reproduction will no longer be necessary, as new persons can be created by blending together selected parts of existing mindfiles.
Hendershott would have pointed out to Walsh that while this all sounds insane, this movement is real and being “led by some of the wealthiest and most brilliant tech trailblazers.” She would have guided him to Jennifer Bilek, an environmental activist who, after being de-platformed by transactivists, has since devoted herself to tracking down who they are and how they’ve acquired the power to just cancel anyone.
Bilek runs a website called The 11th Hour, where she posts detailed information on what she calls the “Rich, White Men Institutionalizing Transgender Ideology.” She would have helped Walsh identify who’s in this billionaire’s club and how they’ve been financing and extensively marketing transgenderism. In the last 10 years alone, they’ve built over 30 clinics for children with supposed gender dysphoria.
They’ve also built hospital wings dedicated to transgender surgeries, sponsored research on womb transplants for men, sponsored movies, conferences, seminars, social media sites, built university research programs, invested money in governments and legislation, all for the purpose of normalizing transgenderism, all as a means of paving the way to the transhumanist future they envision.
She emphasizes that transgenderism is not a grassroots movement focused on “civil rights for a tiny part of the population with gender dysphoria,” but rather a top-down movement led by “exceedingly rich” men with “enormous cultural influence.”
Her research answers the question Dr. Grossman asked: “How is all this possible?” And it confirms Dr. Trueman’s speculation about the powerful lobbies behind all those movies and programs, all those social media sites and school programs promoting transgenderism to kids.
Finally, she would have pointed out to Walsh: “While many Americans are still trying to understand why women are being erased in language and law, and why children are being taught they can choose their sex, these men may well be on their way to engineering a new way to be human.”
Transgenderism is just stage one in getting people to see our biology, our bodies, as expendable, as seeing Man, not Nature – thus not God, as having total control over who and what we are. It is stage one in getting more and more people to reject our Creator, our God.
Walsh’s film, absent a Catholic perspective, ends up giving an inadequate definition of woman, doesn’t answer the question of how this is all happening, doesn’t recognize that the transgender movement is just a precursor to transhumanism, doesn’t expose the wealthy men driving this, and does not reveal what the real battle is in which we are all engaged.
The real battle isn’t over gender, or biology, or the definition of a woman, the real battle is over the future of Western Civilization, over its foundation in Christianity. The real battle is over Man and God. It’s over whether Man is going to acknowledge our God and our dependence on Him or continue down this path of declaring our independence, moving from independence of God to independence even from our own bodies, our own material reality.
The film as it is doesn’t give the audience any sense of what to do with what it has shown us. Had it included our Faith, it could have. It could have included a final clip from an interview with Hendershott, one in which she points out: “Pope Francis has joined Pope Benedict in denouncing the claim that gender is socially constructed rather than God-given.”
She could have read aloud from Amoris Laetitia: “Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. …we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.”
The film could have then ended with a plea for all Catholics, all Christians, to unite around that call to protect our humanity, not just politically, but spiritually as well. It could have pointed out that Modern Man has returned to the Garden, falling once again for the Serpent’s eternal lies: “you can be like gods, you can rule the world, you will not die, you can live forever.”
What is a Woman? She is not only that final act of God’s creating Man in His own image, she is not only the means by which Man can participate in the act of divine creation, she’s also the one to whom God has given the power to crush the head of the Serpent. She is the New Eve. And we can call upon her Immaculate Heart to protect us in this battle.
Pointing to the model used to defeat Roe v. Wade, the film could have called for us to start praying rosaries outside of all those clinics mutilating our nation’s children.
As Davis pointed out, quoting C.S. Lewis, “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in.’ Aim at earth and you will get neither.”
Let’s aim at Heaven.