Vatican’s Official Stance on Transgender Inclusion in Church Draws Mixed Reactions
By Dolores Quintana
Pope Francis has sanctioned a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirming that transgender individuals are eligible to act as godparents during baptism, stand as witnesses at weddings, and receive baptism themselves.
The right to receive baptism also extends to children in same-sex couples, including those adopted or conceived through surrogacy.
This response to inquiries by Monsignor José Negri, Bishop of Santo Amaro in Brazil, was signed by Prefect Victor Manuel Fernandéz. “A transgender person, even if they have undergone hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery, can receive baptism under the same condition as other faithful,” the document states, emphasizing that the situation must not lead to “public scandal or confusion among the faithful.”
While there are conservative Catholics who were not in favor of this decision, Jesuit priest the Reverend James Martin, SJ, stated, via his social media page on Twitter, “The Vatican’s new ruling that transgender people can be baptized, serve as godparents and be witnesses to Catholic marriages. In some dioceses, they were prevented from doing so by local pastors. As such, 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.
The move aligns with Pope Francis’ broader message of inclusivity within the Church. Last August, he reiterated that the church is open to all during a conversation with the Jesuits of Lisbon on his visit to Portugal for World Youth Day.
While Pope Francis has welcomed transgender individuals seeking refuge in Roman churches, he maintains a stance against what he terms “gender theory” and upholds the Church’s teachings on homosexuality.