Alex Salinas, a practicing Spanish Catholic, was “thrilled and honored” when his sister asked him to be his nephew’s godfather. As required under Catholic law, he sought permission from his local church to assume the role. The process was halted, however, due to what the priest considered to be Salinas’s inability to “live in accordance with the faith.” The reason? Salinas is transgender.
Salinas, saying that the priest’s decision felt like a “kick in the stomach,” appealed to the bishop of the Dioceses of Cádiz and Ceuta. The bishop overturned the priest’s decision. However, citing “confusion among some of the faithful” and the heavy media attention, the bishop wrote to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for guidance.
Although the Vatican does not have an official position on transgender people, it responded to the bishop’s inquiry by stating that it is “impossible” for transgender persons to fulfill their duties as godparents because they are not seen by the Catholic church as consistently living the Church’s teachings.
Specifically, the Vatican stated that transsexual behavior “reveals in a public way an attitude opposite to the moral imperative of solving the problem of sexual identity according to the truth of one’s own sexuality.” It continued that “it is evident that [a transgender person] does not possess the requirement of leading a life according to the faith and in the position of godfather and is therefore unable to be admitted to the position of godfather or godmother.”
Despite its rationale, the Vatican denied any discriminatory motive, stating that there was
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