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Vatican Says Transgender People Cannot Be Catholic Godparents

Björn Söderqvist CC

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 09/04/15 - updated on 06/07/17

Church says they can not fulfill the duties required of the role

The Vatican has decided that transgender people may not be godparents in the Catholic Church, which has raised an outcry in secular media outlets and among activists, particularly in Spain where the case was raised.

Alex Salinas from Cádiz, Spain, was born a female but now holds an ID card as a male and is waiting sex reassignment surgery. After applying to become the godfather of a nephew, Salinas’s request was forwarded to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Bishop Rafael Zornoza Boy of Cádiz and Ceuta.

CNA reports that the bishop was told it is not possible for transsexual persons to fulfill their duties as a godparent.

An article about the case in Breitbart reports that after the bishop heard back from the Vatican, he issued a public statement noting the Church’s stance that transsexualism “is contrary to human nature” and referencing Laudato Si, the Pope’s encyclical, whichstates that man “has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will.”

Media outlets have responded by accusing the Vatican of “transphobia.”  Carla Antonelli, a transsexual, LGBT activist, and a Socialist party politician in the Madrid Assembly, is quoted in Breitbart as saying this about the Church’s decision:

“Faced with such cruelty one has to conclude that the real inconsistency is of those who claim to be representatives of a doctrine that preaches respect and love of neighbor, but that who use it to unleash hatred and phobias, and crush their neighbor.”

Salinas is also reportedly unhappy about the news, saying that he feels “used and deceived by my own church,” and claims that his sister no longer plans to baptize her child.

“They are pushing me away from the Church; I no longer expect anything from them,” he said.

The issue of transgenderism in the Church raises many challenges, both morally and pastorally. Even very practical matters have become difficult to navigate such as which bathrooms or locker rooms transgender people should use. This recent story about a transgender girl (born male) wanting to use the girls’ locker room for gym class has divided a school in Missouri.

Zoe Romanowsky is Lifestyle Editor and Video Content Producer at Aleteia

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