The goal of education: Catholic teaching on the falsehood of transsexual ideology 

This is the fifth in a series of articles, rooted in the teaching of Divini Illius Magistri, which seeks to assist parents in preparing their children to live as mature Christians in dangerous times. This series began on 18 January 2023 with The goal of education: A timeless message for parents from the Lion of Münster.

Transsexual ideology is taught to little children in schools, including those in the Catholic sector. It is also championed by secular bodies such as Childline, a counselling service in the United Kingdom for children and young people up to their nineteenth birthday. Childline’s counselling services are promoted in innumerable Catholic schools throughout the UK.

James Esses, a former volunteer counsellor for Childline, wrote an article for The Spectator last month entitled “How Childline was captured by trans ideology”.1

Whilst working for Childline, Esses became increasingly aware of the influence of Stonewall, reportedly the largest group in Europe campaigning for so-called LGBTQ+ policies. Stonewall boasts

“Today, we have equal rights to love, marry and have children, and our lives, families and relationships are represented as part of the national curriculum in most of the UK.”  

According to Esses, Stonewall’s posters were plastered all over Childline’s counselling room, proclaiming, “Some people are trans. Get over it.” And Stonewall appears to have significant influence over the Childline webpage on “gender identity”, frequented by large numbers of young people, which tells children:

“Lots of things make up your gender identity, including:

  • your body and biological sex, for example your sexual organs;
  • how you feel about your gender and how you identify yourself;
  • your gender expression, for example how you dress or act.
  • Gender identity isn’t just male or female. Some people can identify as non-binary, and how people identify can change over time.” 
  • For many young people, feeling unsure about their gender is part of growing up. But for some these feelings continue for longer.”

James Esses says:

“The webpage reads as more of a road map towards ‘transitioning’ than neutral advice. For example, Childline suggest ‘changing how you look or dress’ and ‘changing your name’. They even recommend ‘using different pronouns’, such as ‘ze and zir’ or ‘zey and zem’.” 

James Esses voices his concerns about Childline’s publicly available messaging service “Ask Sam”, through which “a child can send in a message and ‘Sam’ will respond with advice and guidance that can be read by all Childline users”. He writes:

“In 2019, a 14-year-old girl wrote to ‘Ask Sam’, stating ‘I’m struggling with my gender identity’ and ‘I hate my breasts’. Just four paragraphs into the response, ‘Sam’ suggests the use of breast binders, something we know can cause irreversible physical damage to a young girl’s body. This is deeply concerning. 

“In another letter, from 2021, a young girl states that she is ‘trans’ and suffering from ‘dysphoria’. She expresses worry about getting ‘pregnant’ in later life, even though she eventually wants ‘biological kids’. Within a few sentences of the response, ‘Sam’ suggests the option of ‘surgery and hormones’ for this confused, young girl. The response goes on to say that ‘because you’re male living in a female body, you don’t have the sperm to make a baby’. Most concerning of all is when ‘Sam’ suggests to the young girl: ‘have a surrogate mother carry the baby for you.’ 

“For a children’s charity to be pushing ideology and dangerous medical advice upon young children is beyond abhorrent.” 

One of countless Catholic schools promoting the services of Childline to their pupils, states on its website:

“Childline offers help and advice to children who are worried, concerned or at risk in any way. Childline is a private and confidential service for people up to the age of 19. You can contact a Childline counsellor about anything, no problem is too big or too small.”

The danger to children is clear. Once again, Catholic educators, above all parents, must recall the warning of St Pius X’s reminder to the Catholic faithful:

“Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, had just cause to write: ‘We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity due to ignorance of those mysteries of Faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect.”2

To safeguard the eternal salvation of young people, therefore, parents must study and help their children to understand Catholic teachings which show the falsehood of the trans ideology currently saturating both the secular world and Catholic educational institutions, beginning with Christian teaching on marriage as memorably summarised by Pope Leo XIII. The following texts are also indispensable: 

  • “Man is not the proprietor, the absolute lord of his body, but only the one who has the use of it.” (Pius XII, Talk to the Medico-Biological Union “San Luca”, 12 November 1944. Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, VI, p. 186)
  • “The principle is inviolable. God alone is the Lord of life and of the integrity of man, of his members, of his organs, of his powers, of those in particular which associate him with the work of creation.” (Pius XII, Talk to Doctors, May 21, 1948. Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, X, p. 98)
  • “In fact Holy Scripture says of God that he created man in his image and created him male and female, and willed, as we find it repeatedly stated in the holy Books, that ‘a man shall leave father and mother and cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh’. All this, then, is good and willed by God; but it must not be disjoined from the primary function of marriage — that is, the service of a new life… At present, in fact, people (including some Catholics) are maintaining in words and writings the need for autonomy, the distinctive purpose and proper value of sexuality … independently of the goal of procreating a new life.” (Pius XII, Address to Midwives, 29 October 1951. AAS, 43, pp. 849, 852)
  • “…it is no less illicit…to dry up or to sterilise, by means of an operation which no other motive justifies, the springs of life.” (Pius XII, Talk to Doctors, May 21, 1948)
  • “Direct sterilisation — that is, one aimed either as means or as an end in itself at making procreation impossible — is a serious violation of the moral law and hence illicit. Even public authority has no right, under pretext of some ‘indication’, to allow it and much less to prescribe it or to carry it out to the harm of the innocent. This principle is already stated in the above-mentioned encyclical of Pius XI on marriage. Therefore, when, a decade later, sterilisation is coming to be more broadly applied, the Holy See is constrained to declare expressly and publicly that direct sterilisation, whether permanent or temporary, whether of the man or of the woman, is illicit in virtue of the natural law from which the Church herself, as you know, has no power to dispense.” (Pius XII, Address to Midwives. AAS, 43, pp. 843 ff.)
  • “Public magistrates have no direct power over the bodies of their subjects… Furthermore, Christian doctrine establishes, and the light of human reason makes it most clear, private individuals have no other power over the members of their bodies than that which pertains to their natural ends; and they are not free to destroy or mutilate their members, or in any way to render themselves unfit for their natural functions, except when no other provision can be made for the good of the whole body.” (Pius XI, Casti connubii, 21 December 1931. AAS, 22, p. 565)

Let educators take heart from the fatherly direction of Pope Pius XI in meeting their responsibilities to pass on the truth of Catholic teaching to young people:

“And so, in the spirit of the Divine Master, We have directed a helpful word, now of admonition, now of exhortation, now of direction, to youths and to their educators, to fathers and mothers, on various points of Christian education, with that solicitude which becomes the common Father of all the Faithful, with an insistence in season and out of season, demanded by our pastoral office and inculcated by the Apostle: “Be instant in season, out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine”(2 Tim 4:2). Such insistence is called for in these our times, when, alas, there is so great and deplorable an absence of clear and sound principles, even regarding problems the most fundamental.”3

Part six of this series will focus the harm done to individuals and society by the promotion of trans ideology.


  1. The Spectator, 8 January 2023.
  2. Pius X, Acerbo Nimis (1905), 2.
  3. Pius XI, Divini Illius Magistri (1929), 2.