Vatican allows transgender people to be baptised


Southern Europe


Pope Francis conducting a series of baptisms during the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord at the Sistine chapel in the Vatican. Photo AFP, Vatican Media

The Vatican has no objections to baptising children from rainbow families or people who changed their sex.

Pope Francis approved the practice at the end of October, but the note from the dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith did not get published until last Wednesday, La Croix writes.

The sacrament of Baptism is available for transgender people but also for children who have been born to a homosexual couple through surrogacy, the document states. In addition, Pope Francis explicitly allows transgender or gay people to be godfathers at the sacrament or witnesses at weddings.

For them to receive the sacrament of Baptism, the same conditions apply as to other people, the document reads. For example, there must be no doubts about “the moral situation in which a person finds himself, or about his subjective dispositions towards grace.” In addition, homosexual people can only baptise their child if they can ensure that the child receives a Roman Catholic upbringing.

Paternal home

In the Roman Catholic Church, Baptism is a very important sacrament. Pope Francis emphasises that “it is the door that allows Christ the Lord to settle in our person and us to immerse ourselves in His Mystery”. Therefore, the Vatican does not believe it to be right to exclude people from the sacrament. “The Church is not a customs house, but it is the paternal home where there is room for each person with his or her laborious life.”

When a transgender person wants to be godfather to a child who is baptised, he or she needs to fulfil certain conditions. But because this “task does not constitute a right”, the document states, “pastoral prudence” is permitted. If there is a danger of a scandal, for example, transgender people may be refused as a godparent.

For anyone living in a homosexual relationship, there are also certain conditions when it comes to godparents. They must live a life that conforms to the faith and the “task they assume”. Even better is it, according to the document, if they are married, not just living in a cohabitation.


The note was released in response to the Brazilian Bishop of Santo Amaro, NBC writes. He had sent the Vatican a series of questions about Baptism and queer people.

It is not the first time that the Vatican has shown openness to the LGBT community. Recently, Pope Francis left room for blessings of homosexual marriages.



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