POPE: Schools shouldn't teach that gender is a choice
POPE Francis has told a group of priests that teaching school children gender is a choice amounts to ideological colonisation.
CNN reports the Pope made the comments during a closed door meeting with Polish priests and bishops in Krakow last Wednesday.
"Today, in schools they are teaching this to children - to children! - that everyone can choose their gender," he said before blaming textbooks supplied by "persons and institutions who donate money," for spreading gender theory.
The Pope characterised this as: "ideological colonisation, supported by very influential countries. This is terrible," he said.
The comments are almost certain to be cited by conservative Australian politicians who have been fighting against a program called "Safe Schools" which proponents say aims to educate children about sexuality and gender.
In February Queensland MP George Christensen used parliamentary privilege to attack the program - linking it to pornographic web content, sex shops, adult online communities and sex clubs.
In March Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull came under fire from Greens MP Adam Bandt over a decision to have the program reviewed.
"Is your commitment to socially progressive values so skin deep that you will put young people's welfare at risk and throw a successful anti-bullying campaign under a bus, just because the bigots in the conservative brotherhood tell you to?" Bandt asked in Parliament.
Mr Turnbull said both Liberal and Labor MPs had raised concerns with the program.
"That is taking children's rights seriously, it's taking bullying seriously," Mr Turnbull said in March.
"It's standing up for children."