The new policy contradicts church teaching that says engaging in homosexual behavior is a sin and that individuals are assigned a specific gender at birth.
The Vatican’s 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. The department posted on its website three pages in response, signed by the dicastery’s head, Argentine Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, 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 said.
The document specified that although baptism is a “sanctifying grace,” it may be done only by individuals who have confessed to being repentant of “serious sins.”
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,” he said in the letter. “Therefore, we cannot be judges who only deny, reject and exclude.”
–Alan Goforth |Metro Voice