French Catholic schools seek moderate tone on gender


Western Europe


French pupils going to school. Photo Facebook, Enseignement catholique France

In a letter to the schools, the French association for Catholic Education tries to advice a moderate middle course on gender . The publication that goes out on Friday acknowledges alternative gender feelings but keeps distance to the so-called “gender ideology”.

The letter, presented by Philippe Delorme, Secretary-General of Catholic Education, attempts to find a golden mean between confessing that there are only two genders and embracing the gender ideology. That is reported by La Croix

According to Delorme, Catholic schools are experiencing a growing number of gender-doubting students. He believes the schools have the duty, together with the parents, to guide the children "in the face of these existential questions."


To help teachers with this task, the document contains five sheets with information on research in the field of gender, the view of Christian anthropologists on the matter, tips on educational support, and some legal benchmarks, La Croix writes.

Delorme tells the newspaper that the letter is mainly based on Catholic texts, particularly the Amoris Laetitia from Pope Francis. That document states that it is impossible to be a Christian without being attentive to everyone. "From there, we must welcome children questioning their gender identity by helping them to know themselves, starting from what they feel and not from a fad on Instagram", he says.

Name change

Catholic schools in France –as a secularist state– fall under a different set of regulations than public schools. Therefore, it does not have to accommodate name changes requested by children, provide specific restrooms and abide by rules on clothing standards.

However, Delorme points out that Catholic schools respect the law the same way as public schools. "For example, refusing to enrol or expelling students because of their gender identity would be a criminal offence. Likewise, we strive to fight against all forms of discrimination." Also, the schools must offer sexual education courses.

Delorme finds it important that Catholic schools become "a real space of freedom for young people where they will not be hostage to an ideology." Instead, he thinks it is essential for pupils to "be given space to progress and take the time to reflect."


Overall, Catholic schools have not encountered many difficult situations with militant parents and students. "In the vast majority of the cases, this is not what happens. Mostly, this is about parents who say, "my kid tells me that... and I don't know what to do." Delorme emphasises that delicacy and attentiveness are crucial to provide the best possible support. "That goes well as a general rule."



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