Transgender people can be baptised


The Vatican has affirmed that transgender individuals are eligible to participate as godparents and witnesses in Roman Catholic sacraments of baptism and marriage, and they can be baptised.

The Vatican’s document, signed by Pope Francis and Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, was published on the Holy See’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith website on November 8.

Currently, the translation is available only in Italian and Portuguese.

The document is a clarification that came in response to inquiries from Brazilian Bishop Jose Negri of Santo Amaro.

In July, before the recent Synod on Synodality, Negri posed six questions to the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the role of LGBT individuals in church sacraments.

Life of faith open to all

The document states that “A transgender person, even if they have undergone hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery, can receive baptism under the same conditions as other faithful, if there are no situations in which there is a risk of generating a public scandal or disorientation among the faithful.”

The dicastery also reiterated the church’s position that children of gay or transgender couples can be baptised, provided there is a well-founded hope they will be raised in the Catholic faith.

The same applies to transgender children and adolescents.

“In the case of transgender children or adolescents, they can receive baptism if they are well prepared and willing.”

Echoing the words of Pope Francis, the document stresses that “the Church is not a customs house, but the fatherly home where there is room for every person with his or her difficult life.”

Not satisfied with merely opening the door the document keeps the door wide open, stating that “another person in the family circle” other than the godparents, can also “vouch for the proper transmission of the Catholic faith to the person to be baptised.”

The document shows that there are many rooms in the Father’s house and states that baptism cannot be prevented “even if doubts remain about a person’s objective moral situation.” It recommends applying “pastoral prudence” in each circumstance.

LGBT+ Ministry

The document also emphasises that there is no current universal canonical legislation that prevents transgender individuals from serving as witnesses at a Catholic marriage.

While the responses encourage pastoral prudence and the need to prevent scandal and confusion among the faithful, the document underlines God’s unconditional love and the church’s openness to all people.

The document notes that while gay individuals in a relationship akin to marriage, particularly if known in the community, should probably not serve as godparents, they may be invited as witnesses to a baptism.

Again “pastoral prudence” applies.


In July, speaking with a transgender person, Francis reached out saying “Even if we are sinners, he (God) draws near to help us. The Lord loves us as we are, this is God’s crazy love.”

Then during World Youth Day in Portugal Francis told the crowd there is room in the Church for everyone.

“In the Church there is room for everyone, everyone” he told hundreds of thousands of young people gathered in a large park in Lisbon. “Everyone, everyone, everyone!” he said several times.

“That is the Church, the Mother of all. There is room for everyone.”

“This (document) is an important step forward in the Church seeing transgender people not only as people (in a Church where some say they don’t really exist) but as Catholics” said Fr James Martin on X (Twitter). He is a prominent Jesuit priest and supporter of LGBT rights in the Church.


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