“This is an important step forward in the Church seeing transgender people not only as people but as Catholics.”
The Vatican City has said the Church will allow transgender people become godparents at Roman Catholic baptisms, witnesses at religious weddings, and receive baptism themselves.
The Vatican’s doctrinal office known as the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith, said this on Wednesday while responding to questions from a bishop.
The department, however, was vague 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, Reuters reports.
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 which were signed by the department’s head, Argentine Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, and approved by Pope Francis on October 31, were posted on the department’s website on Wednesday using the Italian word for “transsexuals”.
The Pope who said he believes same-sex attraction is not sinful but same-sex acts are, has tried to make the Catholic Church more welcoming to the LGBT community without changing Church teachings.
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.”
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.
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.
But it goes on to state that priests have the discretion to refuse such a request if “there is a danger of scandal, undue legitimisation or disorientation in the educational sphere of the church community”.
Father James Martin, a prominent Jesuit priest and supporter of LGBT rights in the Church, posted on X (formerly Twitter): “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.”