Catholic Church Makes Ruling on Transgender Baptisms and Godparents

Catholic Church Makes Ruling on Transgender Baptisms and Godparents

The Roman Catholic Church has stirred controversy in a move described by one LGBT advocate as “a major step for trans inclusion.”

A new document signed by Pope Francis says that transgender individuals can be godparents at baptisms, witnesses at weddings and be baptized themselves, according to Reuters.

The document from what’s known as the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith was signed by the pope on Oct. 21 and posted on the Vatican’s website on Wednesday. It came in response to questions from a Brazilian bishop.

The document also addresses the propriety of baptism for a child who has been adopted by a same-sex couple or obtained by a same-sex couple from a surrogate mother.

In order for such a child to be baptized, there must be “a well-founded hope that it would be educated in the Catholic religion,” the document in Italian says.

For a person in a same-sex relationship to be a godparent, the individual has to “lead a life that conforms to the faith.”

The document calls for “pastoral prudence” by a local priest in allowing a transgender individual to be a godparent or a witness at a wedding.

In addition, a transgender person “can receive baptism under the same conditions as other faithful” if there is no “risk of generating a public scandal or disorientation among the faithful,” the document says, according to NBC News.

The Vatican clarified that this applies even if the individual has “undergone hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery.”

LGBT advocates celebrated the pronouncement.

“It is a major step for trans inclusion. … It is big and good news,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of the LGBT group New Ways Ministry, according to The Associated Press.

DeBernardo said the document “proves that the Catholic Church can — and does — change its mind about certain practices and policies.”

Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, called it “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 document also sparked a fierce backlash.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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