It Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has confirmed, at the request of a Brazilian bishop, that transgender people or people born through surrogacy can be baptized, provided it does not cause scandal or confusion. The document issued on October 31, 2023 by Pope Francis is signed also confirms that homosexuals or transgender people can witness the wedding or a baptism (godfather or godmother). It is specified that transsexual believers “can receive baptism, under the same conditions as other believers, if there is no situation where there is a risk of creating a public scandal or insecurity among the faithful.” The same advice applies to someone who has undergone hormone treatment and/or gender reassignment surgery.
The dicastery, which has been led by the Argentine cardinal since September Victor Manuel Fernandez, answered the questions of the Brazilian Bishop José Negri of Santo Amaro, dated July 14. He asked for clarification about the possible participation in the sacraments of baptism and marriage by transsexual people and people with a homosexual preference. On November 8, the Vatican discreetly published a response on its website, which also pointed out that the dicastery had previously expressed its view on this matter and that this position has now been confirmed. Still, it is the first time that the Vatican has so explicitly clarified that a transsexual, “even if he has undergone hormonal treatment and gender reassignment surgery,” can receive baptism.
The text is also accompanied by a long argument of a theological and philosophical nature. This includes, among other things, the saint Thomas Aquinas cited to recall that baptism, even if it lacks the “right disposition,” is, by its sacramental nature, “an immediate cause that impels one to receive grace.”