Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and Gnosticism

Fr. Robert Barron argues that transgenderism is a form of the early Christian heresy of Gnosticism, in that its pits the soul against the body, and in fact treats the body as if it were something standing in the way of the full functioning and happiness of the soul. The distinctive mark of Gnosticism is “precisely the denigration of matter and the tendency to set the spirit and the body in an antagonistic relationship.”

Against the Gnostic heresy, St. Irenaeus argued that “Creation, Incarnation, Resurrection, the theology of the Church, sacraments, redemption, the Eucharist, etc. all involve, … bodiliness, materiality. For Irenaeus, redemption is decidedly not tantamount to the escape of the soul from the body; rather, it is the salvation and perfection of the body.”

The body is every bit a part of who we are as the soul: “For Biblical people,” Fr. Barron writes, “the body can never be construed as a prison for the soul, nor as an object for the soul’s manipulation.”

“[T]he mind or will is not the ‘true self’ standing over and against the body; rather, the body, with its distinctive form, intelligibility, and finality, is an essential constituent of the true self. Until we realize that the lionization of Caitlyn Jenner amounts to an embracing of Gnosticism, we haven’t grasped the nettle of the issue.”

Fr. Robert Barron, “Jenner’s Gnosticism, the ‘Shadow Council,’ and St. Irenaeus“,, June 9, 2015.

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