The Vatican has announced that transgender people may be baptized in the Catholic Church as long as the event does not cause “scandal or confusion.”
The Vatican's new decision comes after Brazilian Bishop José Negri wrote to the Church's Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith with six questions regarding LGBT people and their participation in baptism and marriage.
According to BBC, this week, the department posted on its website three pages in response, which was signed by the dicastery's head - Argentine Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández - and with the approval of Pope Francis.
“A transsexual — undergoing hormonal treatment and sex reassignment surgery — can be baptized, under the same conditions as other faithful, if there are no situations in which there is a risk of generating public scandal or disorientation in the faithful,” the document read.
Children and adolescents “with issues of a transsexual nature” can be baptized, the document read.
The document also specified that while baptism is a “sanctifying grace,” it may only be done by individuals who have confessed to being repent of “serious sins.”
The Catholic Church has not changed its official stance on homosexuality, saying that engaging in homosexual behavior is a sin and that individuals are assigned a specific gender at birth.
American Jesuit priest Fr James Martin, who is a supporter of LGBT rights, 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."
The Church also responded to requests about whether same-sex parents who adopt or use a surrogate mother may have their child baptized in the Church. The Vatican said a priest would make that decision based on the “well-founded hope that he or she would be educated in the Catholic religion.”
Another question was whether people in same-sex relationships could be named godparents at a Catholic baptism. The Vatican said the chosen person would have to “lead a life that conforms to the faith.”
Previously, Pope Francis had suggested that the Catholic Church needed to have “pastoral charity” when it came to same-sex marriages.
"The defense of objective truth is not the only expression of this charity; it also includes kindness, patience, understanding, tenderness, and encouragement,” Francis said in the letter. “Therefore, we cannot be judges who only deny, reject, and exclude.”
Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Patrick Smith / Staff
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.
LISTEN: How United Should the Global Church Be?
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
WATCH: 5 Signs Your Church Might Be Heading Toward Progressive Christianity
Stock Footage & Music Courtesy of Soundstripe.com Thumbnail by Getty Images