Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that schoolchildren must accept the gender into which they were born if they are to be truly happy.

The Archbishop of Westminster entered the gender ideology debate in a meeting with Catholic head teachers.

During his talk he appealed to a “common sense of humanity” as an antidote to rampant individualism, saying it was the “foundation for much of Catholic moral teaching in areas of friendship, relationships, family life, human sexuality”.

The cardinal said: “At a time of great confusion about the rules of sexual behaviour, about exploitation and abuse in every part of society, some firm points of reference, that are already built into our humanity at its best, are of vital importance.

“In an age of fluidity, even in gender identity, and at a time when the response to ‘difference’ is to become closed in a self-selecting world of the like-minded and reject that which is different, such foundations are so important. They affirm that there are ‘givens’ which come with birth and with solid identities and which project across generations.”

He continued: “They help us keep hold of the reality that we are not single, self-determining individuals but members of a great family, with all its trials, diversities and struggles, and within that family, not alone, will we find our greatest joy.”

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection