The Vatican has announced that individuals who identify as transsexual can now receive baptism in the Catholic Church and also serve as godparents.
According to the Vatican’s doctrinal office, individuals who identify as transgender may serve as godparents at Roman Catholic baptisms and witnesses at religious weddings. They are also eligible to receive baptism themselves, as confirmed in a response to a bishop’s inquiry on Wednesday.
The organization, referred to as the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith, did not provide a clear answer when asked if a church baptism would be allowed for an adopted child or one born through a surrogate mother in a same-sex couple.
In July, Bishop Jose Negri from Santo Amaro, Brazil, submitted six inquiries to the doctrinal office regarding the involvement of LGBTQ individuals 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 Fernandez, and approved by Pope Francis on October 31. They were posted in Italian on the department’s website Wednesday.
Francis, who is 86 years old, has attempted to create a more inclusive environment for the LGBTQ community within the church while maintaining traditional teachings. This includes acknowledging that same-sex attraction is not considered a sin, but engaging in same-sex acts is.
The doctrinal office has stated that transsexual individuals may undergo baptism under certain circumstances, as long as there is no potential for creating a public scandal or causing confusion among the faithful.
According to the text, a transgender individual may serve as a godparent during a baptism and as a witness at a church wedding, but the final decision lies with the local priest who should use “pastoral prudence”.
According to current church laws, a person in a same-sex relationship may also serve as a witness at a Catholic wedding, as there is no prohibition against it. The office stated this information.
The answer was not as straightforward when it came to individuals in homosexual partnerships and their participation in baptism, which is the induction into the church for infants, children, or adults.
The bishop from Brazil requested counsel on whether a gay couple who had adopted or obtained a child through a surrogate could have their child baptized in a Catholic ceremony.
According to the reply, in order for a child of a same-sex couple to receive baptism, there must be a reasonable belief that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith.
A similar and complex answer was given to a query regarding the eligibility of a person in a same-sex partnership to be a godparent at a church baptism. The response stated that the individual must live according to the beliefs of the faith.