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‘Transgender’ Baptisms? Sorting Out the Vatican’s Recent Statement

If you’ve been watching the news, you were likely surprised to see clickbait headlines from mainstream outlets like The Washington Post proclaiming: “Vatican says transgender people can be baptized, serve as godparents.” After all, such a headline conflicts directly with Pope Francis’ many declarations about gender ideology.

For example, in his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis explained that “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different.” And as recently as 2019, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education reaffirmed that “human nature must be understood on the basis of the unity of body and soul” and condemned “the separation of sex from gender.”

The Vatican’s most recent guidance comes in response to several questions posed to the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, or DDF, by Brazilian Bishop Giuseppe (José) Negri regarding individuals who identify as transgender and whether they can be baptized or participate in a Baptism as godparents. The Dicastery dated its responses Oct. 31 and it was published on the Vatican website on Nov. 8; the document is available only in Italian and Portuguese for now, but multiple news agencies have translated it. The dicastery summarized the bishop’s three questions related to gender ideology as follows:

1. Can a transgender person be baptized?

2. Can a transgender person be a godfather or godmother at baptism? 

3. Can a transgender person be a witness at a wedding?

In response to the first question, the DDF says that someone who identifies as transgender and has undergone surgery can receive the sacrament of baptism “under the same conditions as other believers, if there are no situations in which there is a risk of generating public scandal, or disorientation among the faithful.” Those “conditions” are obviously critical. So what are they?

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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