Vatican declares trans people can be baptized and serve as godparents

The Vatican and Pope Francis are declaring that trans people can be baptized in the Catholic Church and serve as godparents as long as “there are no situations in which there is a risk of generating a public scandal or confusion among the faithful,” the Guardian reports.

A document approved last month by Pope Francis was published Wednesday and states that “even if they have undergone hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery, [a trans person] can receive baptism under the conditions as other faithful”.

It was published as a response to questions that were sent to Pope Francis by conservative cardinals around the world asking him to affirm that same-sex couples cannot be blessed.

The discretion will be placed in the hands of local priests, who are encouraged to exercise “pastoral prudence” when deciding if trans people can be godparents and be included in baptisms and weddings, which the document says they are allowed to serve as witnesses at.

This pronouncement reverses a ruling from 2015 in which a Spanish bishop was firmly told by the Vatican trans people could not be godparents after seeking a formal answer on the issue. Its response said trans people “publicly show an attitude contrary to the moral requirement to resolve one’s sexual identity problem according to the truth of one’s sex.”

Pope Francis has been under scrutiny for his increasingly liberal ideologies and rulings within the Catholic community. He recently urged the resignation of Bishop Strickland who famously attended a prayer rally outside of a Los Angeles Dodgers game during Pride month to take a stand against the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence being honored inside the stadium.

He has also allowed larger leadership roles for women in the Catholic Church whom he had vote alongside bishops at the Synod of Bishops hosted at the Vatican for the first time since its establishment.

When questioned by a young Italian adult who was torn between Catholicism or transgenderism, Francis replied “The Lord always walks with us … Even if we are sinners, he draws near to help us. The Lord loves us as we are, this is God’s crazy love” in comments released by the Vatican in July.

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry which advocates for greater LGBTQ acceptance in the church celebrated the decision in a statement: “It is a major step for trans inclusion … it is big and good news.”

“We hope that church leaders will apply these guidelines by following Pope Francis’s example of extravagant welcome, rather than using them to continue old restrictions,” he added.


Image: Title: Pope Francis
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