A pastoral letter of the Polish Episcopal Conference for pastoral usage on Sunday of the Holy Family 2013

Dear Sisters, Dear Brothers!

Every year in the Octave of Lord’s Birth, we celebrate Sunday of the Holy Family. We direct our thought towards our families and we undertake reflection on the situation of the contemporary family. Today’s Gospel says that the Family from Nazareth was trying to understand and fulfil God’s will in difficult and unclear situations, thanks to which it came out renewed of these situations. This behaviour is an important tip for us and also today obedience to God and His sometimes incomprehensible will, is a guarantee for happiness in the family.

Blessed John Paul II, for whose canonization we are getting prepared, reminds that the truth about the institution of marriage is ‘beyond the will of individuals, whim of particular married couples, decisions of social and governmental organisms’ (23 II 1980). We should look for this truth in God, because ‘it is God who is a creator of marriage’ (GS 48). It is God who created the human being a man and a woman, whereas he made the existence – in the body and the soul – a man ‘for’ a woman and a woman ‘for’ a man a great and irreplaceable gift and a task in the marriage life. He based the family on the fundament of marriage joined with inseparable and exclusive love for the whole life. He decided that just this kind of the family will be a suitable environment for children’s development whom it will give life and provide them with material and spiritual development.

This Christian vision is not a kind of arbitrarily imposed norm, but it results from understanding the nature of the human being, the nature of marriage and the family. Rejecting this vision leads inevitably to the collapse of families and to the defeat of the man. As the history of humankind shows, neglecting the Creator is always dangerous and is a danger for the happy future of the man and the world. So, any attempts of redefining the terms of marriage and the family which are imposed by some media at present, surely raise a lot of anxiety. Facing the growing attacks of this ideology directed at various areas of the family and social life, on the one hand, we feel obliged to express our definite and explicit opinion in the defence of the Christian family, fundamental values which defend it, but, on the other hand, we feel obliged to warn the family against dangers coming from promoting the new type of the family life.

The gender ideology is an effect of ideological-cultural changes lasting for decades, strongly rooted in Marxism and neo-Marxism, promoted by some feministic movements and sexual revolution. Gender ideology promotes rules which are completely contradictory with the reality and an integral understanding of the human nature. It states that the biological sex does not have a social meaning and, first of all, the cultural sex counts, which the human being can freely model and define regardless of biological conditions. According to this ideology the human being can define himself or herself freely: whether he or she is a woman or a man, he or she can also freely choose his/her own sexual orientation. It is a free self-definition which does not have to be something temporary, and leads to a situation in which the society would accept the right to set up a new type of families, for example, the ones built on relationships of homosexual character.

The danger of the gender ideology results basically from its deeply destructive character both towards the person and inter-human relationships, that is, the whole social life. The man of an uncertain sexual identity is not able to discover fully and fulfil the tasks he is facing both in the marital and family life and the social-professional life. The attempt of equalization of this kind of relations is in fact, a serious weakness of marriage as a community of a man and a woman and the family, built on the marriage.

We see various attitudes towards the actions undertaken by supporters of the gender ideology. The definite majority of people do not know what this ideology is, so they do not feel any danger. A small group of people – especially teachers and educators, including catechists and pastors – are trying to look for constructive ways of counteracting it on their own. Finally, there are those who, seeing the absurdity of this ideology, think that Poles will reject the utopian visions themselves, which are suggested to them. Whereas, the gender ideology, without the knowledge of the society or the consent of Poles, has been being implemented for many months into various structures of the social life: education, health service, activity of cultural and educational institutions and non-governmental organizations. The ideology is shown in some media in a positive way: as counteracting violence and aiming at equal rights.

The community of the Church is looking at the human being and his/her sex in an integral way, perceiving the corporal and biological dimension in it, as well as psychical and cultural and spiritual dimension. It is not unsuitable to do studies on the influence of culture on the sex. But it is dangerous to make an ideological statement that the biological sex is not essential for the social life. The Church expresses its explicit opinion against discrimination because of the sexes, but it also notices a danger of diminishing the value of sexes. It is not a fact of existence of two sexes which is the source of discrimination but the lack of spiritual reference, human egoism and pride, which we must still fight against. The Church does not agree in any way to humiliating people of homosexual tendencies, but it also strongly emphasizes that homosexual activity is deeply in chaos and that we mustn’t equate the marriage, being the community of a man and a woman, with a homosexual relationship.

On the Day of the Holy Family, we address a fervent appeal to Christian families, representatives of religious movements and church associations and all people of good will, to undertake actions courageously which will serve to spreading the truth about the marriage and the family. Today we need more than ever education of educational communities.

We also address an appeal to the institutions which are responsible for the Polish education, not to succumb to pressures of few but very loud environments having a lot of financial means, and which in the name of modern upbringing do experiments on children and the youth. We call educational institutions to get engaged into promoting the integral vision of the human being.

We ask all believers for a fervent prayer in the intentions of married couples, families and children brought up by them. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to give us the light of understanding and seeing the truth in what is the danger not only for the family but also for our Homeland and the whole humankind. Let’s also pray for courage of being people of faith and courage defenders of the Truth. Let the Holy Family from Nazareth, in which God’s Son – Jesus Christ was brought up, be the spiritual help and an example to follow in undertaking this effort.

In this spirit we give everybody pastoral blessing.

Signed by: Pastors of the Catholic Church in Poland.


Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: