Transgender Catholics are allowed in some situations to be baptised and serve as godparents; the Vatican has said in a statement.
The document was signed on October 21 by Pope Francis and Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, who heads up the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.
“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.”
If it does not cause scandal or “disorientation” among other Catholics, a transgender person “may receive baptism under the same conditions as other faithful”, the document says.
Similarly, the document said trans adults – even if they have undergone gender-transition surgery – can serve as godfathers or godmothers under certain conditions.
It comes after a national conference of Catholic bishops in the United States rejected the concept of gender transition.
The Vatican’s openness to include transgender people in the church is the latest step it has taken to show acceptance for the LGBTQ community.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has historically rejected the concept of gender transition, leaving trangenders people out of the church entirely.
“It is a major step for trans inclusion … it is big and good news,” Francis DeBernardo, executive director of Maryland-based New Ways Ministry, told the media.
The Vatican’s statement is a clear recognition not only of their personhood, but of their place in their own church,” he said. “I hope that it helps the Catholic Church treat them less as problems and more as people.