God creates each person male or female, and the Church teaches that everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. The vocation of love and communion between a married man and woman is revealed through their bodies. The gift of children is a possible outcome of this communion, and is in fact the primary purpose of marriage. All human generations proceed from this union.
How Does This Lesson Help Inoculate Students Against Gender Ideology?
Gender ideology asserts that there is no design to our bodies; we just happen to have parts that may or may not be related to our so-called “gender identity.” The truth is that our bodies are designed by God for a reproductive role. The gifts God gives men are different than the gifts He gives women, but men and women are equal in dignity. God’s design of the male and female bodies, and His plan for them to come together in marriage, is so good and beautiful that it literally creates life.
Connection to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Begin by asking for a show of hands to find out who in your class is familiar with the Disney movie The Incredibles. Explain that you will show two brief clips from it. Note that in this film, superheroes are known as “Supers.” Unlike the fictional world of comic books where some individual superheroes do not have superpowers, such as Batman, in the world of The Incredibles, Supers are a category of people with inborn superpowers. Then show the brief clip from the movie available at SophiaOnline.org/Incrediboy followed by the short clip at SophiaOnline.org./MyNameIsNotBuddy.
Then arrange your students into groups of three or four, give each group a copy of Every SuperheroHas Powers, and have them skim over the questions. (You may also wish to show the clips a second time). Then have students discuss the questions on Every Superhero Has Powers in their groups.
When they have finished discussing, call on a few groups to share their responses with the class, using the answer key to guide the discussion.
Then, with students still in their groups, give each student a copy of God Designed Our Bodies with Superpowers and read aloud the information while students follow along.
Note: Approach this subject sensitively, as your students may come from families or know people who have struggled with infertility. Emphasize that men and women with disorders or injuries preventing them from having a child are no less men or women and their dignity is no way diminished. You can gently explain that those issues, as difficult as they can be, are recognized as challenges because they are outside of the healthy functioning of the male or female body. If this were not true, infertility would not be a disorder that we seek to treat. Although not every person may be able to become a mother or father naturally, a man’s body and a woman’s body are each designed with a special purpose to give and nurture life, be it physical or spiritual life.
Read aloud the quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and call on a few students to put the ideas in your own words. Clarify any misunderstandings.
Invite students to make the connection between the movie character they met today and the widespread modern belief that someone who is male can become female, or vice versa. Give students a few moments to discuss the questions at the bottom in their groups.
Assign students to individually write their response to the last question for homework, with the help of their parents.
Emphasize often that those who have a mistaken belief about their sex, or who identify as transgender, are not necessarily sinful, but misled. A person who holds a wrong belief about their sex should not be affirmed. We all have special gifts and talents that are given to us by God, including our sexual identity. When we attempt to reject that gift, we reject the Giver. When we develop our gifts and talents and use them for good, we give glory to God. We may even be able to feel God’s pleasure when we live as He made us to be.
Close by showing a brief clip from Chariots of Fire, available at SophiaOnline.org/GodMadeMeFast. Before playing the clip, explain that the film is based on the true story of an Olympic gold medalist runner. Briefly discuss how the actions of young Buddy from The Incredibles contrast with the ideas expressed by the speaker in this clip, Eric Lidell.
Before departing, lead the class in the Closing Meditation.
Every Superhero Has Powers
Mr. Incredible: Strength (enough to leap from building to building, crash through glass windows uninjured, stop a train, etc.) Frozone: creating ice.
A boy named Buddy who idolizes Mr. Incredible and wants to be a superhero.
He invented rocket boots.
He is not really flying under his own power, i.e. through a gift of his own nature like a Super in the world of The Incredibles would; he can only appear to be doing so.
Because he has rejected his true identity and attempted to take on a new one.
Allow discussion. Emphasize that nothing we have seen makes young Buddy a bad person, he seems immature, misled, and wanting to be something he is not. But nothing he can do will change his nature into that of a real Super – i.e. a person with superpowers. Further, his dignity in his new identity apparently depends on being acknowledged (or affirmed) by others.
He has continued to reject his true identity. His anger could be akin to the cultural response to “deadnaming”, i.e. what gender ideology calls using someone’s name from before they “transitioned.”
He did not achieve the satisfaction he was seeking as “Incrediboy,” but has continued to reject his true identity in order to fashion yet another self-created one.
From the gifts of their own nature.
He believes he is a real Super (and again, in the world of The Incredibles, all superheroes have natural powers). But his inventions will never turn him into a real Super. There was never anything wrong with being Buddy.
Encourage responses that focus on helping Buddy see all his gifts and talents, don’t depend on others to know you have dignity, and/or to actively affirm any given self-created identity, and that trying to be something you are not only leads to pain.
God Designed Our Bodies with Superpowers
Answers should complement the answers they gave earlier, with the particulars changed to be about sexual identity.
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