This morning’s Mass commemorated St. Joachim, Jesus’ grandfather. Joachim was the husband of St. Anne and therefore father of Our Lady, the mother of the Christ. God has a grandfather! We often overlook our grandfathers, who have a unique role to play in our human development. Often quietly in the background, grandfathers provide a super-paternal presence, a wise and understanding heart when we are confused about our own fathers. A wise grandfather helps us realize our own place in the world, our self-worth and our identity as a child of God. Grandfathers have seen social confusions come and go and have learned not to take them too seriously. They are often our only stable point of reference when cultures verge on the edge of collapse. We especially need grandfathers today, when our very sexual identities are in such trauma. A grandfather can say to a confused adolescent: “Son, someone is trying to sell you something you don’t want. Just say no.”

We Americans are quite good at selling things. We create new products and new markets, convincing large numbers of people that they can’t live without something that we are more than ready to sell them. Think of the smart phone and its deliverable, the world wide web. People cannot go a day without “the world’s largest ad agency” (Google) at their fingertips. We clever Americans, in fact, have become so good at selling things that we have learned how to shape entire populations’ thinking to fit our markets. Take “gender theory,” for example. The post-modernist concepts that make gender theory possible were dreamed up by European academics, but Americans lost no time capitalizing on them.

It costs a lot of money to “change” one’s biological sex. Scott Newgent reports that he and his insurance company spent $900,000 trying to make him the opposite sex, along with seven surgeries, 16 rounds of antibiotics, 17 months of recurring infection, and ten acute medical complications. Those who wish to change their sex must take lifetime doses of synthetic hormones and often pay for hundreds of visits to expensive therapists. There’s lots of money to be made in convincing boys that they should grow breasts and girls that they should cut them off. Gender theory was not invented by plastic surgeons and pharmacological companies, but these professionals quickly realized that there was money to be made from it. This booming “transgender industry” is aggressively marketed by social media companies and protected by big government.

The acute sexual insecurity that used to be suffered only by teens has been pushed on pre-teens and post-teens, largely through social media. And it has been monetized. People suffering from sexual insecurity do not need puberty blockers or mastectomies. They need something that costs very little: the love of their parents and friends, and the courage to accept their bodies as naturally good and beautiful. They need a grandfather and a grandmother that cares for them as whole persons, body and soul.

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