CV NEWS FEED // The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) released a document yesterday stating that “transgender” and same-sex attracted individuals can receive the sacrament of baptism and serve as godparents and witnesses of sacramental marriages under specific circumstances.
The document, signed by Pope Francis and Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernandez, Prefect of the DDF, is a response to the dubia (doubts) presented to the dicastery by Bishop José Negri of the diocese of Santo Amaro in Brazil last July.
The dubia contained some questions “regarding the possible participation in the sacraments of baptism and marriage by transsexual and homo-affective people.”
In his response, Cardinal Fernandez said that the document only reiterates “fundamental contents” from the DDF’s previous teachings on the subject.
Regarding the question of baptizing “transgender” people, Fernandez said: “A transsexual – who has also undergone hormonal treatment and sex reassignment surgery – can receive 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.”
The document also added that, according to the Catechism, the person being baptized must show repentance for grave sins in order to receive sanctifying grace.
After quoting the Catechism, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine of Hippo, Cardinal Fernandez wrote that “we can understand why Pope Francis wanted to underline that baptism ‘is the door that allows Christ the Lord to establish himself in our person and for us to immerse ourselves in his Mystery’.”
Even when doubts remain about the objective moral situation of a person or about his subjective dispositions towards grace, we must never forget this aspect of the faithfulness of God’s unconditional love, capable of generating even with the sinner a irrevocable alliance, always open to development, which is also unpredictable. This is true even when a desire for amendment does not appear fully manifest in the penitent, because often the predictability of a new fall ‘does not affect the authenticity of the purpose.’
To the question: “Can a transsexual be a godfather or godmother in a baptism?” Fernandez responded that “transgender” people can serve as godparents under certain conditions.
“However, since this task does not constitute a right, pastoral prudence demands that it not be permitted if there is a risk of scandal, undue legitimation or disorientation in the educational sphere of the ecclesial community,” he added.
The document responded to the third question: “Can a transsexual be a witness to a wedding?” by stating that “there is nothing in current universal canon law that prohibits a transsexual person from being a witness to a wedding.”
Fernandez also responded to questions concerning same-sex attracted people.
Negri previously asked: “Can two homo-affective people appear as parents of a child, who must be baptized, and who was adopted or obtained through other methods such as a rented womb?” The DDF responded that for a child to be baptized, “there must be a well-founded hope that it will be educated in the Catholic religion.” No further explanation was given.
The fifth dubia asked if a “homo-affective person who lives in a relationship can be the godfather of a baptized person.” In response, Fernandez said that in accordance with existing norms of the Canon Law, “anyone who possesses the aptitude for it” and “leads a life in conformity with the faith and the role it assumes” can be a godfather or a godmother.
Fernandez added that “the case is different in which the relationship of two homo-affective people consists not in simple cohabitation, but in a stable and declared relationship more uxorio (Note: “as husband and wife”,) well known by the community.”
Fernandez said, “Due pastoral prudence requires that each situation be wisely considered, to safeguard the sacrament of baptism and above all its reception, which is a precious asset to be protected, as it is necessary for salvation.”
To the final question, regarding if a homo-affective and cohabiting person can be a witness to a wedding, Fernandez said, “there is nothing in current universal canon law that prohibits a cohabiting, homo-affective person from being a witness to a marriage.”