Transgender People Can Be Baptized Catholic, Serve As Godparents – Vatican

Transgender People Can Be Baptized Catholic, Serve As Godparents – Vatican

The Vatican has said that transgender people can be baptized Catholic and serve as Godparents.

Reuters reports that Transgender people can be godparents at Roman Catholic baptisms, witnesses at religious weddings and receive baptism themselves, the Vatican’s doctrinal office said on Wednesday, responding to questions from a bishop.

The department, known as the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith, was vague however, in response to a question of whether a same-sex couple could have a Church baptism for an adopted child or one obtained through a surrogate mother.

Bishop Jose Negri of Santo Amaro in Brazil sent the doctrinal office six questions in July regarding LGBT people and their participation in the sacraments of baptism and matrimony.

The three pages of questions and answers were signed by the department’s head, Argentine Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, and approved by Pope Francis on Oct. 31. They were posted on the department’s website on Wednesday using the Italian word for “transsexuals”.

Francis, 86, has tried to make the Church more welcoming to the LGBT community without changing Church teachings, including one saying that same-sex attraction is not sinful but same-sex acts are.

In response to a question of whether transgender people can be baptized, the doctrinal office said they could with some conditions and as long as there is “no risk of causing a public scandal or disorientation among the faithful”.

It said transgender people could be godparents at a baptism at the discretion of the local priest as well as a witness at a Church wedding, but the local priest should exercise “pastoral prudence” in his decision.

“This is an important step forward in the Church seeing transgender people not only as people (in a Church where some say they don’t really exist) but as Catholics,” Father James Martin, a prominent Jesuit priest and supporter of LGBT rights in the Church, said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Francis has met with transgender people and in July, he told a transgender person: “Even if we are sinners, he (God) draws near to help us. The Lord loves us as we are, this is God’s crazy love.”

The document said a person in a same-sex relationship could also be a witness at a Catholic wedding, the office said, citing current Church canonical legislation which contained no prohibition against it.

The response was less clear regarding persons in same-sex relationships and their role in baptism, which is the initiation into the Church for infants, children or adults.

The Brazilian bishop sought guidance on whether a same-sex couple who had adopted a child or obtained it from a surrogate mother could have that child baptized in a Catholic ceremony.

The response said that for the child of a same-sex couple to be baptized, there had to be “a well-founded hope that it would be educated in the Catholic religion”.

There was a similarly nuanced response to a question whether a person in a same-sex relationship could be a godparent at a Church baptism. It said the person had to “lead a life that conforms to the faith”.

Transgender People Can Be Baptized Catholic, Serve As Godparents - Vatican

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